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Cell Phone Features

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The feature sets of cell phones are expanding all the time. As might be expected, phones with more features, particularly the latest ones, tend to be the most expensive. The size, weight, and design also have an impact. However, all phones eventually come down in price. When it was first introduced, the Motorola RAZR was priced at more than $500 with a contract; it is now available for free with most carriers.

Here's a list of some of the major features and options you'll come across as you review cell phone models. Note that the functionality of some choices (e.g., data speed) is dependent on the carrier's network.

Physical Characteristics

  • Design Open, flip/clamshell, slider, swivel/pivot
  • Size and weight Lightweight, slim profile
  • Battery Type, talk time, standby time
  • Antenna Internal, external, retractable
  • Display Color, black-and-white
    • Size How big is the screen display?
    • External For flip phones, an outside display for caller ID, etc.

Fun Features

  • Camera Resolution, zoom, flash
  • Music FM radio, MP3 player
  • Messaging Multimedia, text only, predictive entry
    • Keyboard QWERTY keyboard for easier messaging
  • Gaming Preinstalled games, Java-enabled
  • Ringtones Mono, polyphonic, real tone
  • Video Length of video capture

Productivity Features

  • Calling Caller ID, photo caller ID, voice dialing (may be speaker-independent), vibrating alert, speakerphone
  • Phone book Size, entries per name
  • PDA E-mail synchronization, calendar, organizer
  • Connectivity Bluetooth, infrared
  • Push-to-talk Walkie-talkie functionality
  • Data/Internet Mobile web browser, POP3 e-mail
  • Download speed/technology Wi-Fi, EDGE, GPRS, EVDO, 1XRTT, 1xEVDO, HSPDA, UMTS
  • Operating system Windows Mobile, Palm OS
  • Memory Expandable/Removable storage, capacity, type

Network Technology

  • Interface GSM, CDMA, TDMA, ESMR (iDEN), analog
  • Bands Single, dual, tri, quad
    • International Compatibility with overseas networks
  • Modes Single, dual, tri
    • Analog Digital backup, mostly for rural locations

Accessibility

  • Hearing aid compatibility M3 or M4
  • Keypad buttons Are they too small or too close together?
  • Display font size Can fonts be increased or decreased?