Sometimes in life we must all face up to new challenges. Today’s new challenge is the cell phone. Cell phones, we can love them and we can easily hate them. However, as an older person, I must have one. However, this does not mean that I must use it a lot.
The principal value of a cell phone is the ability to carry it with you so that in an emergency you can contact help. Other uses are communicating with you immediate family to coordinate your daily activities. So with these basic uses in mind how do you pick a cell phone?
Phones have a variety of features. Some are very fancy and others basic. If you have never had a cell phone before, then pick one with basic features. For an older person, you want a lightweight phone that is easy to read. Actually, if you are younger those features work well too. I started selling Real Estate lately and needed a new cell phone. I bought a fancy Internet ready model with slide out keyboard. It could surf the web and get email. Well it was so feature packed that it was useless to me. I did like the calendar function, but it was a fat phone that kept popping off my belt and falling on the ground. (One would think that being smart it would get some sense and not continually fall on the ground.) The slide out keyboard was useless and I could not read it without my glasses. I had to trade it in for a dumb but useful Motorola Razor phone. It has a large keypad and easy to read display. It is lightweight and easy to carry. The one draw back is that being razor thin, it is not so strong and can be broken.
One feature of some phones requires special mention. This push to talk feature was pioneered by Nextel (now Sprint-Nextel). Having a push to talk phone is like having an intercom between everyone with a push to talk phone. It is a portable walkie-talkie that works nationwide. Unfortunately, the Nextel push to talk phones were heavy, thick and not easy to read.
Some phones have a camera feature that I have never really used. Others have text messaging that my pre-arthritic fingers just cannot work fast enough to communicate effectively. Also I do not understand and there is no way I will understand text messaging lingo. A good added feature is a Blue Tooth wireless head set. Make sure that this is set up on your phone before leaving the phone store. It provides a touch to answer and a touch to hang up capability.
Phone plans and companies are all different. No matter what is advertised, there are dead spots with every carrier. I have the least dropped calls carrier drop calls, I have had the “Can you hear me now?” carrier that I could not hear, and the push to talk carrier where it did not do any good to push. Dead spots in coverage are everywhere.
The key to selecting a plan is billing. With the least dropped calls the minutes roll over for a year. Make sure that you build up minutes every month and be very careful of excessive use during an emergency. The push to talk company offers free incoming that is great unless you are being shot at. Just make sure that every one calls you. Other friends and family plans are good when you mostly talk to family and a few close friends. With straight minute plans be sure that your monthly calling activity is covered. Most plans offer anytime-anywhere minutes that can be used for long distance and local calls without added charges. This has led many young people to give up a wired phone and just rely on a cell phone alone. Each type of plan has an optimal usage strategy that keeps you away from excessive cellular bills.
Finally, there is the pay as you use disposable phones. Electronically they are as good as the more expensive phones, but they are cheaply packaged. They do not have a color display or a camera. They have a poor keyboard. However they are cheap. Usage is pay as you go, but the minutes purchased do expire from ever few months to a year.
Link to cellphones.org
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