Mobile Phones come with an impressive array of new technologies, features and mobile phone networks, and because of this, consumers are often left confused about what type of mobile phone they should buy.
Help is at hand, because here at Review Centre we offer an easy to read glossary explaining what all that jargon and terminology actually means, whilst also offering advice on what to look for when purchasing a new mobile phone.
Like with any purchase, you have to decide what it is you need from your mobile phone. Like anything you pay for, it is best to buy what you need rather than what you are told you need.
It's always important to think about how much you are going to use your mobile phone, and for exactly what purpose. There are significant factors such as style, size, weight, battery power and screen size. Lots of features take up battery power and in general battery life can differ wildly.
Do you want a camera phone? If so, check the quality of the camera is satisfactory for your needs. Predictive text is an excellent feature if you do a lot of texting. Java enabled handsets offer the best options for gaming. You may also want to consider what accessories you want such as headsets, car kits, hands free kits or speakers. Do these come with your phone? Check the range of extras available on different phones, as there are many high quality and reliable products available.
Take a look at Review Centre's mobile phone reviews section. There you will see thousands of consumer reviews detailing the good points and bad points for all the most popular handsets available today.
Mobile phones or mobiles as they are known in the UK are known in the US as cell phones. Mobile phones or cell phones are wireless telephones, originally using analogue technology to send and receive texts and voice messages. The latest digital technology allows mobiles to become smartphones, offering a range of technology. Smartphones can access the Internet and send files, including digital photos, via email. Smartphones typically include other features too, such as camera technology, voice recognition and personal information management systems.
The end result when choosing from the wide range of mobile phone tariffs, is predicting the pattern of your calls. Do you use your phone mainly in the daytime, evening or weekend? Do you send a lot of texts or check your voicemail regularly? You basically need to consider if you use your phone a lot or a little.
There are two basic types of tariff to consider:
Pay As You Go - This is actually a pre-paid system based on topping up your phone credit with money. The advantage is you only pay for services you actually use and there's no surprise bill at the end of the month. Call rates are usually slighter higher than contracts, and you may have restrictions on the choice of phone.
Monthly Contract - Offers cheaper call rates and even free minutes, but you are usually tied in for a minimum 12 months and normally pay a fixed monthly rate on direct debit. You will have more choice of handsets, but you must check carefully what the actual deal is.
There's usually nothing stopping you taking out a new contract but you will remain liable for line rental on your original contract for whatever the remaining period is. Once you finish paying what you owe for the final period, the best two options are then to either:
Take out a new contract with any network and grab yourself a new mobile number. Good because you get a better selection of deals.
Or, take out a new contract with a different network and port your existing number. This is good because you get to keep your original number.
The term Roaming or Global Roaming means using your mobile phone abroad or on another network. This applies to making or receiving calls, text and other data. You should be able to receive and make calls and texts abroad with any mobile phone just the same as you would in the UK, but it's always worth checking what your charges will be. You will be charged for any calls you make or receive whilst abroad, and many people feel the current charges are excessive. Always check with your provider what the actual costs of calls and texts are before you travel.
You may ask yourself this question, "Why should I splash out on mobile phone insurance when I get a free mobile phone anyway? Surely I can just get another mobile for free?
Well, in actual fact, your "free" mobile, depending on what model it is, can cost up to £1000 to replace if it's lost, stolen or damaged. This is because the mobile phone provider subsidises the cost of the handset to get you onto their network and hopefully onto a 12 or 18 month contract.
Mobile phone insurance may possibly be for you, and is now obtainable by many networks and independent insurance providers. Take a look at your home contents insurance, your handset may well be covered already.
By getting insurance, you'll be giving yourself peace of mind knowing that in the event of a loss or accident, the cost of your handset will be covered.
You'll probably agree that your mobile phone is one of the best and most useful gadgets available today, and many people would not leave home without it. If you're prone to loosing or damaging your mobile phone, perhaps consider getting your handset insured.
Every year, millions of people get a new mobile phone. It's a fact that over 20 million handsets will be upgraded in the UK this year alone. That's a lot of handsets, and because of this, lots of people are turning to mobile phone recycling. Phones and batteries contain nasty toxic components and by recycling our phones, we could reduce the impact of the mobile phone manufacturing process on the environment.
It's worth noting that many second hand mobile phones are used in the developing markets such as Africa, China and India where many people would be unable to afford full price handsets. By selling and recycling your phone, you could improve communication in these countries and reduce the damage to the environment due to less handsets being produced.
There is another option, and an economically better one. There are many old and discarded handsets just left gathering dust in people's drawers. Financially, selling your mobile makes perfect sense. A mobile phone in somewhat good condition could make more than you think. In these times of economic uncertainty any extra cash is a real help. There are plenty of online services who accept handsets in varying degrees of condition, and will pay you handsomely depending on what mobile phone you are selling. Review Centre's members recommend checking out Envirofone and Mazuma for all your mobile phone recycling needs.
If you have just received a new phone, or changed your number, you'll probably have a new SIM card. Mobile phones use Subscriber Identity Module smart cards, and it's these cards that contain your user account information. After plugging in your SIM card, your handset will automatically become programmed with your account details. This means SIM cards can be programmed to display customised menus for individual services.
Your SIM Card is basically the brain of any mobile device. It stores all information for you and your supplier and without one your phone won't work. When your SIM Card is inputted and your phone is on, it helps your network provider identify what types of calls you can make from your mobile. If you have a mobile phone and you want to keep it but change tariffs, you can buy a SIM Card from another provider and replace the existing one.
Talk Time refers to the length of time you can talk on your phone without the battery running out. The battery capacity is usually listed in talk time hours and standby time. When you are talking, the phone uses up additional power compared to when on standby.
Short Message Service (SMS) is an official term for text messaging. SMS is a quick and simple way to send and receive short messages via mobile phones, handheld devices and even landline telephones. Commonly known as text messages or 'texting' SMS is amazingly popular. With billions of messages sent each year, text messaging forms a major part of the modern mobile phone revolution.
General Packet Radio Service, sometimes referred to as 2.5G, ensures customers remain connected to the network between calls for the fast receipt and transmission of data. This is particularly useful for those of you who regularly check emails and browse the web on the go. When using GPRS, charges are made on the volume of data which is transferred. GPRS is a modification to GSM. Mobile service providers offer GPRS service as an always on connection rather than traditional dialup. Messenger style applications work on GPRS too.
Originally a pan European system but now used worldwide, 3G enables data transfer on mobiles to work at a higher capacity and speed. Data transfer was initially very slow based on old fashioned dial up technology until GPRS speeded it up. Now 3G (Third Generation) phones offer even higher data transfer rates, wider bandwidth and increased capacity to send data.
Download speeds surpass that of GPRS by a big margin and this has revolutionised the mobile phone market making the multimedia Smartphone an accessible purchase. The 3G set of technologies, including the use of 3G data cards, in the most up to date phones, allows delivery of multimedia content to you in a device resting in the palm of your hand.
Bluetooth is a popular branded wireless technology which is used to provide data transfer for short distances between different types of devices. It does not support roaming but allows mobile phones, computers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and a wide range of other devices to be integrated over a distance of a metre.
The most popular Bluetooth headsets and accessories have been for mobile phones, providing a wireless connection to a headset and to a vehicle's audio system for hands-free usage. It's also useful for things like downloading photos taken with your mobile to your PC. You can also use it to synchronise your mobile's personal organiser with the one on your PC.
Wireless LAN stands for Wireless Local Area Network, a local area network that transmits over the air. A wireless local area network allows you to wirelessly connect to your email and Internet at super fast speeds. Wireless base stations are wired to an Ethernet network and transmit a radio frequency over several hundred feet through walls and other non metal barriers.
Roaming users can jump from one access point to another like a mobile phone system. The major wireless LAN standard today is known as Wi-Fi. Wireless Wi-Fi adapters (Wi-Fi transceivers) are built into most new laptops or added via a PC card slot or USB ensuring their wireless capabilities for Internet connection.
Newer mobile phone handsets such as Smartphones often have built-in Wi-Fi, creating 'dual mode' phones which operate like normal mobiles phones but have the option of switching to cheaper Wi-Fi connections when they are available.
WAP pages are essentially web pages adapted for the smaller screen. WAP pages are frequently accessed by mobile phone users to get the latest news items about sports, for instance. WAP is a standard system for providing smartphones and other handheld devices with this access to Web pages and e-mail.
WAP uses Wireless Markup Language (WML), a simplified version of HTML ideal for small screen displays. It supports both keypad and voice recognition and works for major wireless networks and most makes of phones and handheld units.
Mobile phones today do so much more than just allow you to make and receive calls, and send and receive text messages. So if you want your phone to double up as a magnifying glass, act as a Sat Nav or simply tell you where the nearest petrol station is, there are many applications to suit your needs.
Applications are now so popular they are being developed for all handsets, and not just for Smartphones. Spearheading the way is Apple Apps Store, letting users download applications straight onto their iPhones, adding extra functions to their devices.
In the past, downloading apps to the handset has not always been that straightforward. Often users would have to download the applications first to a computer, and then transfer the files to the handset to be installed. Now most Smartphones download apps straight to the handset.
Have a look around, and see what fun applications you can download and use on your mobile phone. You'll find that some apps are free of charge, and some you'll have to pay a small fee. Always check before you start downloading.