How to Choose the Right Cell Phone

Are you in the market for a new cell phone? With the number of options on the market, it might be hard to decide which one you want. It’s no longer a matter of choosing between the pink phone and the grey one. It’s about choosing between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone5S, or the Droid Maxx and the Droid  Ultra. If you’re wondering how to choose the right cell phone, the guide below should help you make that decision.

Cell Phone Checklist

With any phone you buy, consider the following:

  • Is the phone easy for you to use? If not, do you think you could learn to use it quickly?
  • How much does the phone cost to use each month?
  • How long will the phone stay charged? Some smartphones must be charged once or even twice a day, depending on the usage, but basic phones can last several days on a single battery.
  • What features do I want in a phone? The camera, storage space, keyboard, screen and other features on a phone will change from one make to another.
  • How secure is this phone? Are you able to lock it?
  • Is this phone reliable? It may be best to avoid buying something right when it comes out, just in case it gets bad reviews.

Smartphone vs. Basic Phone

The easiest way to narrow down you phone options is to determine whether you need a smartphone. Smartphones are designed to do much more than make phone calls. They have Internet access, email alerts, social media add-ons, high definition cameras, and much more. These features work particularly well for people who need to stay in touch with their email accounts throughout the day. If you own a business or find yourself on the go, a smartphone may be a good choice for you.

The catch with smartphones is the fact that they are more expensive to buy than basic phones, and they require you to pay for a monthly data package. This “data” gives you access to all of the smart features on the phone. Most companies charge about $10 per month for a basic data package (mainly for emails) and $30 for top-level packages. You must buy a data package if you get a smartphone.

If all you want to do is send text messages and make phone calls, save yourself some money and get a basic phone. You may not have all the nifty features that smartphone users have, but that won’t matter if you don’t plan to use them.

iPhone vs. Android

The battle of iPhone vs. Android used to be a matter of AT&T vs. Verizon, but most phone companies now offer both phones. iPhones and Androids come with their own advantages, and you can’t really choose between the two until you start playing around with them. As a whole, Apple product enthusiasts tend to enjoy iPhones because they can sync their iTune and iCloud accounts to their phones. Those who prefer Windows computers and off-brand mp3 players seem to prefer Androids.

Some company-related apps are only available on the iTunes market, and others are only available on the Android market. If you need to use a specific app for work, you need to see which phone is compatible with that particular app. Most of the games on the market come out for both phones, so you should not have to make sacrifices in this area. You just have to decide which phone you like.

New Phone vs. Used Phone

You might be able to save money on a cell phone by buying it used. All you have to do is have the phone activated on your account, which may require a SIM card swap. Used phones obviously come with risks. They could be damaged, broken or not work at all. It is best to buy locally and test a phone before you buy it if you are going to get it used.

Note that some cell phone companies actually sell used cell phones because they take them in as trades for new phones. Contact your company to see if that is a possibility.

Outright Payment vs. Upgrade

You may also be able to save money by upgrading your current phone, assuming your account is eligible for an upgrade. You may have to sign an extended contract at that point, so don’t upgrade if you plan on switching carriers. If you are happy with your current cell phone company, this may be a way to avoid paying several hundred dollars for a new phone. You will eventually pay for the phone in monthly payments, but they wont’ be higher than what you’re paying now. The company will just adjust where your money is going.

Think about all of this information, and you’ll be able to choose the right cell phone for your needs.


About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.