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Tips on buying your very first smart phone

Jan 30, 2012, 8:21 a.m.

The name alone can inspire a bit of trepidation: Smartphone. We all know the smartphones available today are smart -- but sometimes it can be rather intimidating just how smart they really are. When it is time to buy your first smartphone, don't let the phone have the upper hand. You are the one shelling out your cash and putting your name on a mobile phone contract, so it is important that you choose a smartphone that meets all your needs, but not one that is so full of over-the-top features that you would never use it. Buying a smartphone can be easier than you think -- just use your own smarts combined with these simple tips and you will soon be downloading apps and playing smartphone games right along with the grandkids!

Make a list of your "must have" features. Chances are, most of today's smartphones will have your must-haves, but that does depend on what you really want. Is a top-notch camera important to you? Do you want to be able to download the thousands of songs currently on your computer to your new smartphone? Is a pull-out keyboard essential for you? Do you want the smallest and most compact phone available? This list should be with you as you shop for smartphones. There is never any reason not to get exactly what you want, because today's technology has ensured that there is a smartphone that's right for just about anyone.

Do some browsing on the Internet before you actually purchase your smartphone. Comparison shopping may yield you a major discount on a smartphone, and in some cases you might even be able to get the phone for free when you sign a new contract with the mobile phone service provider.

Once you find the smartphone you want, stop and consider how long it's been on the market before you buy it. If you are buying the very first model of a phone, you are likely to pay the highest price -- and the first edition of the phone is more likely to have bugs and problems that they will resolve for the second model. If you can wait a few months you will usually find that the price of the smartphone has dropped, and you might even be able to wait long enough for the new and improved model of the phone.

Your first smartphone may be one of the more valuable small electronic devices you have owned, so it is important to consider protecting that investment. Ask about insurance when buying your smartphone. Many insurance plans can be purchased for a small monthly charge on your cell phone bill. This type of insurance helps protect against most damage, against theft, and in some cases even against accidental loss.

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