Mobile Phone Buying Guide

Picking up the right mobile phone is not easy. You may need to answer some questions like, what kind of phone do you need? What is your budget? What is the purpose to buy a mobile? Keep these important aspects in mind before visiting the store.


A mobile phone has to be in sync with your lifestyle. Teenagers mostly prefer phones with camera , MP3 players, radio and video recorders. Some girls tend to choose phones with feminine looks and prefer soft colours. On the other hand boys prefer sturdy handsets. Internet lovers are inclined to buy mobile phones with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) connectivity. Those who enjoy games will opt for phones with igh quality games.


Budget is the core of every purchase. Is your budget tight or flexible? Answering this question may solve half of your problem. Try accommodating your purchase within your budget. Since mobile phone rates drop very fast.


You should not opt for fancy mobiles with camera and videos, if you are going to make lot of business calls. The high-end mobiles consume lot of battery and it may become cumbersome to charge battery often while handling important business deals. A student’s choice of mobile phone will be very different from that of a professional.


Buying your mobile phone from the right place is important. Check out for discounts, schemes and offers that are available in the market. Choose a reputed dealer who provides a bill with guarantee. Check out whether the dealer or retailer has received positive feedbacks from previous buyers.


User-friendly mobiles make life simpler. Often a mobile with an outstanding design may not be a user-friendly model. A few significant aspects can be considered if you want to buy a user-friendly mobile phone.


Wireless carriers in the India operate over two different networks: Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). Though each technology transmits voice and data. they do so in different ways. which makes them incompatible. As a result. you can’t take a CDMA phone and use it on GSM or vice versa



While most phones have a colour screen, look for a phone with a TFT (thin film transistor) or Active Matrix screen which provides a wider viewing angle compared to the traditional passive LCD technology. Also TFT screens are a must if you plan to play games on your phone or use it to take / view video clips. Some of the upcoming technologies to watch out for are Samsung’s UFB (Ultra fine & Bright) seen in the Samsung X430 & X100 models and the OLED (Organic light emitting Diode) also pioneered by Samsung in their E700 model. The other parameters to consider when evaluating the display of a mobile phone are size, resolution and no. of colours.

Sound / Ringtones

While polyphonic ringtones have become standard, look out for phones that can play MP3 songs as ringtones.


Use a camera phone to take spontaneous pictures or even video clips. Camera phones have gained in popularity significantly over the past few years. While earlier camera phones used to typically offer 640×480 resolutions today’s models routinely offer 1 Mega Pixel / 1.3 Mega Pixel cameras. The higher end phones have started offering 2 Mega Pixel cameras


A GPRS / EDGE enabled handset will allow you to browse the internet (on your phone itself or on a laptop by doubling up as a modem). A bluetooth / Infra-Red capability will come in handy if you want to connect your phone to your laptop or to exchange files with other handsets.

Network Band

GSM phones worldwide work in 3 bands – 900, 1800 & 1900 (these numbers refer to frequency ranges in MHz). If you plan to take & use your mobile abroad, make sure you get a tri-band phone (one which can operate in all the three bands). Some phones have also started offering the WCDMA (the future of the GSM network) 2100 band.

Multimedia Features

An FM radio & MP3 player can be a useful feature especially if you are doing a lot of local travelling. Some handsets require the handsfree kit to be attached (to function as an antenna) for the radio to work. Some of the higher end handsets can display streaming video.

Expandable Memory Slot

Memory is an important part of a handset if you plan to use it as a multimedia or business device. Memory cards (Multi-media cards, RS-MMC Cards, Memory Stick / MS Pro) come in denominations of 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB.

Java Enabled

Java enabled phones are able to run a number of games and applications.


Consider buying a handset with a speaker phone which can come in handy while driving or while making a call while in a group.

Other Features

Some old but evergreen favourites an efficient Organiser / Alarm application, Predictive Text Messaging (using the T9 system), and good battery life.


Entry Level Phones

Go for an entry level phone if all you’re interested in is reliable conversation and messaging. There are a range of no-frill phones available for less than Rs.5000 which are good value for money. Some of them even bundle some useful features. Some examples of such phones are:

  • Nokia 1100 / 1108 for its sheer simplicity
  • Sony Ericsson J200i for its polyphonic ringtones
  • Nokia 1600 / 2600 – The Entry level colour screen phones
  • Sony Ericsson T300
  • Samsung C210
  • Motorola C115 / 116

Mid Level Phones

A mid range phone has additional features added to entry level phones. This may include some or all of the following: a camera (typically less than 1 Mega Pixel), brighter & better display, MP3 & FM capability, Infra-Red & Bluetooth, GPRS and / or EDGE and occasionally great looks! Some of the models to consider in this range (Rs. 5,000/- to 15,000/-) are:

  • Nokia 3230, 6260, 6230, 6600, 6670, 7260
  • Motorola RAZR V3
  • Sony Ericsson K700i, K300i, K500i, K508i

High End Phones

These phones are typically newly launched models. In terms of features they offer greater memory, enhanced connectivity options, more powerful (1.3 – 2 MP) cameras, Touch Screens, MPEG4 video, huge displays and business applications. Prices are above Rs.15,000/-. Some of the models to in this range are:

  • Sony Ericsson W800i, K750i, K600i
  • Nokia N-70, 7710, 6680, 7280
  • Samsung D500, D600
  • Motorola A780
  • O2 Xphone II, XDA Mini
  • Panasonic X800

PDA Phones

These phones also act as PDAs and they have a lot of functionalities. They sport full fledged Operating Systems (Windows or Symbian) on which you can run (view & edit) a range of office applications, some are wi-fi enabled and almost all have a ‘full size’ keypad. The popular phones in this range include:

  • Nokia 9500 / 9300 Communicator, N-90
  • PalmOne Treo 650
  • Sony Ericsson P910i, Z800i

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