What Is the Benefit to Having a Smartphone?

By David Nield

Smartphones such as the Apple iPhone continue to add more and more capabilities.
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The smartphone, which goes beyond the basics of calling and texting available on cell phones, is transforming the way we communicate with each other and record our lives. Thanks to the built-in features and software apps now available on the majority of smartphones, the benefits of owning one cover communication, productivity and even our leisure time.

Record the Moment

Most smartphones now come with embedded cameras and microphones, enabling us to capture images, video and audio without a separate device, wherever we are. With a GPS-enabled camera smartphone, for example, you can take pictures of a holiday and plot them on a map. Smartphones make it possible to capture those memorable and important moments in a pocket-sized device, whether you're witnessing a breaking news story or watching a gig by your favorite band.

Keep In Touch

The majority of smartphones come with social network functionality built in, which means you can keep in touch with friends on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare and many more services. A smartphone lets a friend know when you're at a restaurant, enables you to share a moment with hundreds of friends instantly, allows you to join in a hashtag conversation based around an event or conference, and much more besides. Of course, you can check up on the activities of your friends at the same time as well.

Stay Productive

A smartphone isn't all about fun and games – it improves productivity as well. Moments that would otherwise have been lost on the train or the bus can be used to check for and respond to emails, analyze charts, read reports and process data. The major smartphone platforms come with apps capable of opening documents, spreadsheets and databases. While creating content isn't easy on such a small device, you can use a smartphone to keep in touch with the office and cast your eye over the newest messages and files. With a GPS-enabled smartphone running a maps app, getting from point A to point B is much easier.

Read, Watch, Listen

Smartphones have grown to become music and video players as well. They enable you to listen to audiobooks or your favorite music, watch video clips, TV shows and movies, and read e-books. If you have your smartphone with you, you'll never be bored, and many apps — such as Spotify, Netflix and the Kindle app – allow you to sync your watching, reading and listening with your desktop computer, laptop or other devices automatically, which means you can quickly pick up where you left off last time.