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Hate your cell phone? 5 Steps to Make sure your next purchase is not one you regret

Had it with your cell phone? Or are you just ready for something new? Over the last three or four weeks the topic of my weekly newsletter was managing phone storage. Much to my surprise and delight, the posts resulted in very high interaction with several thousand people reading, liking and commenting on issues with phone storage.

One element of the commentary was the fact that sales people suggested a particular device without explaining the downsides or outright misrepresented the actual usability and practical aspects of the phone such as storage for photos or apps, display and call quality.

Since my work centers on real-life use of technology I was saddened to hear folks lamenting the purchase of a device used as an important part of personal daily activities. A little research, thought, conversation and consideration before you make a purchase is a wise investment and pays dividends in the end.

So how do you pick a phone? Usually, two main factors control purchase decisions: price and needs. However, my considerations focus on you as an individual. What do you do in your daily life? What is work, what is home, what is fun? Are you tech-friendly or resistant? Many people ask for a recommendation and follow immediately with the statement “I just want a phone that works. I don’t need anything fancy.” However, when we talk about this type of technology, until you get a phone that works for you, that you like, learn and love, you have no idea how your use of that device will evolve and grow.

With every piece of technology my number one recommendation is to NOT buy outdated technology. A one, two or three-year-old phone may seem like a bargain money wise, but in terms of functionality you lose out from day one. Most big box stores like Best Buy, Fry’s, Target, Walmart and others have a range of products that are older and they do not reveal the age of the model when a shopper comes in looking to purchase. Their ultimate goal is to get you to make a purchase. They ask only about what you want to spend. And they may be intimidated or not want to bother once they hear those words . . ..”I just want a phone that works. Nothing fancy.”

Five steps to make sure your next phone purchase is not one you regret:

  1. Google search. Do a search that includes the current year. “Best smartphones 2016”. If you do not include the year chances of getting unreliable, outdated information is higher.
  2. Read several reviews before you make a decision. There are lists of best phones with a host of price ranges. Here is one I recently shared from Business Insider. This article claims to be a review of the top 20 smartphones in the world. While the title may be over-reaching, the resource is trusted and it is a good overview of a range of devices. Another trusted source TechRadar or other tech review entities.
  3. Ask your friends if they like their phone. Check with friends or colleagues and ask if they are happy with their phone. Ask people who use their phones, do things that you do or who have similar lifestyles to you. Ask if there are things they do not like. Check out the phone. Do not be afraid to ask about their purchase—where did they get it?
  4. Do you need to touch it, see how it feels in your hand, etc.? If you want to actually see the phones you are interested in, go visit a store knowing the device name and model. Put it in your hand to see if you like the size, display and other characteristics that are important to you.
  5. Buy online if possible. All the best deals and models are online. If you are a customer of one of the big providers: Verizon, AT & T, Sprint or T-Mobile buying your device online is the best bet. It will be shipped to you within 24-48 hours. Activation and setup is usually quick and easy, and instructions accompany the new device.

And guess what? Now is not the time to make this purchase! New phones will be released in the Fall. To get the best options and best devices wait. Let me know if you have any questions or problems. Email me at or head over to my Facebook page.

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