The humble telephone has come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when the phone was simply a way to call people. These days, the phone is the hub of our digital lives, serving as a way to communicate with people, surf the Web, play games, pay bills, stay organised, and more.
Because a cell phone is one of our most important possessions, it can sometimes be tough to pick out the right one, according to Lifewire. That, however, is why we have put together this guide — to help you find the perfect cell phone for your needs. And there are a few different types to consider, so let us take a look.
Basic or smartphone?
When buying a new cell phone, you will want to decide if you want a smartphone or a feature (basic) phone. If you do opt to go for a smartphone, you will then have to figure out which operating system you want that smartphone to run. And you will also want to consider other factors, including the amount of storage, screen size, battery life, and camera quality, to name a few.
Feature phones, on the other hand, are a little bit easier to wrap your head around since they are pretty simplistic, but let’s delve into the two different kinds of cell phones below, so you can have a better understanding.
Feature: Sometimes simple is better
The feature phone may be jokingly called the “dumb phone,” but a great feature phone still has a lot to offer — and may be the way to go for many people. Unlike smartphones, feature phones are generally built with only a few purposes in mind: calling and texting. Sure, some can do other things, too, but if all you want your phone to do is make calls and text people, then the feature phone may be the way to go.
Feature phones are also generally smaller and more portable than smartphones and often have a physical keyboard, though it is usually a numeric keyboard.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that feature phones don’t have Web-browsing features at all. On the contrary, these days many of them do, but it is certainly not as advanced as browsing on a smartphone.
Feature phones are often more durable than smartphones. Smartphones have a heavy emphasis on design, and while they may look pretty, the fact is that they are built largely with glass that can shatter with one simple drop. Feature phones, on the other hand, are often built with plastic, and have a much smaller screen, making for less area to crack if the phone is dropped.
Really, the main advantage to feature phones is that they are inexpensive and basic. They are also pretty easy to use, although smartphone manufacturers have gone out of their way in recent years to make smartphones pretty easy to use, too.
Smartphones: E-mail, browse the web, use apps and more
There are dozens of advantages to using a smartphone over a feature phone, but they all boil down to one thing: Smartphones can simply do more. A lot more. Sure, they can text and make calls just like any other phone, but they can also run apps, browse the Web, manage e-mails, and come with a bigger screen, which makes them great for watching videos and looking pictures. Last but not least, they have a decent camera, and smartphone manufacturers are pouring cash into making the cameras even better, too.
There are a few downsides to smartphones. For starters, they’re bigger than feature phones, meaning that they take up extra room in your pocket or bag, and can feel a little bulky at times. On top of that, smartphones usually cost more, especially if you’re buying a high-end phone or an iPhone. There are inexpensive smartphones out there, though, and some even cost less than $100 these days, so don’t let cost be the only deciding factor between going for a smartphone or a feature phone.
Really, we recommend a smartphone to most users out there. They may be bigger and more expensive, but ultimately the fact that they can do so much more makes them well and truly worth those downsides. If you’re not adamantly against the larger size and don’t specifically want fewer features, then a smartphone is probably the way to go.
iPhone or Android?
So if you decided you want a smartphone, you’ll have to then consider which operating system you want to use. The operating system on a smartphone plays the same role as an operating system on a computer. It’s basically the software that you interact with on a daily basis. On an iPhone, the operating system is iOS, while on an Android phone, it’s Android. There are a few advantages and disadvantages to each operating system, which we’ll go over below.
Android: Ideal for google loyalists
Interested in an Android operating system? Android is the most popular smartphone operating system in the world, and for a number of reasons. For starters, unlike Apple, which only allows for iOS to be used on its iPhones, Google licenses out Android to other companies. That’s why the likes of Samsung, HTC, Huawei, and Google itself all use the Android operating system.
If you’re a tried-and-true Google user, then Android is usually better at working with those apps and services. We’re not just talking about the Google search engine here — other operating systems make good use of that, too. Instead, we’re talking about the Google Play Music streaming service, Google Drive cloud storage, other Google devices like the Google Home smart speaker, and more. Now more than ever, choosing a smartphone operating system is about choosing an ecosystem, and if you go for an Android phone, it might be helpful to either already use Google’s services, or be willing to switch.
Android is also generally considered to be the operating system “that can do more” and has more features. That’s because of the nature of Android — the code for Android is available for developers who want it, and Google is far less closed off than Apple about that. If you’re a tinkerer, or you want to install apps from third-party sources, Android may be the way to go — through we recommend only downloading apps from the Google Play Store to ensure that your phones stay malware-free. The trade-off of being able to do more is that it’s slightly less easy to use than phones with iOS.
Last but not least is the fact that Android phones make use of Google’s work in machine learning and artificial intelligence. The result of that is that Google Assistant is more capable than some other digital assistants, and Android is better at predicting what you might want to do and when you might want to do it.
In the end, there are a few main reasons to go for an Android phone. They can be a little cheaper, they work better with Google’s apps and services, and they’re a little smarter.
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