How to Choose a Smart Phone

by eHow Electronics Editor

Smart phones were once only popular with those in the fast-paced world of business. Now everyone from soccer moms to executives are buying a smart phone to simplify and organize their life. All of those details and buttons can be overwhelming, so use this guide to help you sort through the technical stuff and choose a smart phone perfect for your lifestyle.

Start with the carrier. If you are locked into a contract and wanting to upgrade your phone, or maybe you like the service provider you have and want to stay with them, forget about looking at all of the phones. Providers don't carry all types of phones, so the models may be narrowed by the ones that your carrier of choice provides. If you're open to switching to a new provider, then more smart phones are available to choose from.

List the qualities that are important to you in a phone/PDA package. Forget about all of the smart phones out there for a minute and think about what you want to accomplish while on the road. List them in priority of most to least important. This will help you choose a smart phone to your true needs.

Decide what the main purpose of the smart phone will be when you choose one. After you have a list from emails, phone calls and doing the laundry (well, maybe not laundry, but it would be nice!), figure out what tasks you will be doing the most. Even smart phones are limited on the amount of technology they can hold so it has to be allocated somehow. Some companies give more to the smart phone features and others give more to other software applications.

Know if you need to have a Windows capable phone. Blackberry phones are good for viewing windows software, but they don't have the capability of modifying anything. Other smart phones can do a lot of stuff, but aren't compatible with Windows. This is often a minor detail overlooked and the result of buyers remorse.

Figure out how much you can afford, not only for the smart phone but for monthly service charges as well. Initial set up can be expensive, even with new contract discounts, starting about $200 for the phone alone. For service, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 more for additional service features to make your phone fully functional, so choose wisely.