Mobile Phone Buying Guide

At the time of its advent, the mobile phone that could help people make or receive calls as well as deal with messages was held in high esteem. Apart from its utility, the cost of the handset and the service (SIM) as well, helped it occupy that level. Today, the scenario has changed considerably. An average mobile phone no more is a luxury device, instead has come down a long way to become an inevitable part of human lifestyle. However, still the consumer has the option of costlier models, the criteria for which lie scattered in a range, starting from the fastest internet access to high-resolution cameras to gold, platinum or diamond emblazoned casings. The latest addition here is the GPS-satellite navigation.

Mobile Phone - an Overview

A basic mobile phone is the composition of a few parts as a covering case to start with, followed by a key pad, a battery and the main trunk on which, the display screen as well as the speaker-microphone set are embedded.

Mobile Phones differ by their form factors.

  • Candy Bar: This type of phone is designed like a candy bar.

  • Clamshell or Flip Open: This refers to the phones that come folded and opens as a book does.

  • Sliding: This phone, looks like a candy bar model with two layers, of which, one layer slides from its default position to reveal the inner attractions.

  • PDA Type: This phone is usually designed with stress laid on its width, especially, to accommodate a QWERTY key board on the front.

How it Works?

Choosing a network is as important as choosing a handset, if not more. Today, the UK market is blessed with a few network providers like T-Mobile, 3, Orange, O2 and Vodafone. A network refers to a collection of radio towers distributed throughout the country, linked together to transmit conversation as well as phone-to-phone text. Therefore, it is more than necessary to check which network suits the person best as per his/her requirement.

User's Standard

This is perhaps the most important part. Since, it is the consumer who, reaps rich dividends or bears the brunt, depending on the quality of his/her buy, at the end of the day, the person has to go through a thorough introspection in order to bring forth his/her apt requirement. Recognition of the user-type is immediately warranted, from a choice list of basic, business, entertainment, travel or combined.

The Basic

Here, the user just has to make or receive calls or at most, send and receive short messages. Such persons are best advised to go for the basic models. Something to be watched here, is the checking of the phone's address storage strength calls log that stores a limited number of last dialled, last received & missed calls and the battery life (Standby & Talk time) for one single charge. Recently, some models have hit the UK mobile phone market calling themselves health-oriented mobile phones. These models target the vision or hearing partly impaired, by attaching large and extra bold keypads as well as high contrast display screens for the former group and extra volume & built-in option to connect with hearing aids for the latter section.

Entertainment Oriented

Mobile phone models those love to be typecast under this niche embellish themselves with various aspects of amusement like camera, music player, games and even video players lately. Today, mobile phones flaunt advanced camera types with even 5MP resolution sensor, zoom factors, advanced flashes and other aspects. A famous mobile phone manufacturing company is about to launch of a 7MP camera in the near future. Such luxuries, if not warranted by the user's premises should be avoided. A good music player can be a solace at instances of tedious journeys. Here, checking the output modes would be a good idea because the embedded speakers in the devices usually fail to provide a better rendition. Latest introduction here is a Bluetooth Stereo Headset that enables the user wireless stereo sound enjoyment. Other significant features pertinent to this sector (music) are;

  • Ability to play various music files like MP3, AAC, eAAC, AAC+ etc

  • Playing of MIDI and WMA formats

  • FM Radio

Here, the importance of the phone's memory projects forth for the first time as only with a good internal memory or a considerable expansion slot, the required music files can be loaded into the phone. Same is the case with games too. To furnish latest game versions, the mobile phone requires to be generous in its memory part. Nowadays, a good lot of mobile phones support Java written games that are advanced to the core.

Business and Travel Oriented (Enterprise Devices)

Two types stand important to be counted here - web savvy and GPS navigation mobile phones. Business mobile phones refers to the best communication data download features like GSM Standard that is also called 2G, its latest additions GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) that is one of the '3G mobile phone technologies' along with HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) that is only second to HSPA+ in terms of data transfer speeds, augment today's business phones to a great extent. Fishing for an ideal business phone also includes checking the states of various connectivity aspects like;

  • Bluetooth wireless protocol facilitates data transmissions over short distances between mobile and fixed devices and amidst themselves as well.

  • WiFi enables wireless connectivity to the internet within the range of a wireless network connected to the net.

  • Infrared Data Association helps in exchanging data at short ranges via infrared light.

  • USB allows data transfer by connecting many peripherals by means of an interface socket.

A good business mobile phone should also posses an ideal web browser. These days, mobile phones smartly engage WAP, HTML or eHTML for this purpose.

Messaging is considered as the backbone of the business oriented mobile phone. The prototype, SMS (Short Messaging Service) was pioneered by GSM only to be followed by enhanced versions like the EMS (Enhanced Messaging Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). The last one, the most improved of the lot, enables sending of multimedia objects (Video, Audio, Images) against the SMS' sending of text alone. The latest introduction here is the E-mail.


This aspect has emerged a blessing to the travellers and when combined with calling features as in a GPS mobile phone, the convenience factor lies unplugged. A good GPS receiver like the SirF Star III does the half networking. Something to be checked thoroughly here, are the inclusion of the best maps with required POIs, voice commands in text-to-speech, TMC (Traffic Messaging Channel) and above all, a perfect interface.

The Interface

The Primary interface of a mobile phone is the operating system. Windows mobile, Symbian OS, Palm OS etc are some of the best operating systems used to enliven today's PDA styled mobile phones. Fortified with a touch screen that responds to finger touches and a full keyboard, styled as the computer's keyboard (QWERTY), a mobile phone propels itself to the standards of a pocket PC assuming the name of a smartphone.


A mobile phone obviously consists of lot more finer aspects than what is given above like calendar, clock, to-do list, converters, hands free speakerphone, vibrating alert, multiple ringtones, voice recognition, etc. However, these are optional and lie very much subject to individual tastes.

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