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You tell us: Which phone features are most important to you?

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You tell us: Which phone features are most important to you?
It can be a daunting task when it's time to buy a new phone, as there's now a ton of features that you'll have to think about - Do you want a smartphone with a touchscreen? Or perhaps a basic phone with a QWERTY keyboard? This week in our "You tell us" series, we want to know which phone features are most important to you. Here's a list of some common features that most people will look at when buying a new phone:

Type of phone. There are basically three phone 'types' out there: smartphone, feature phone, and basic phone. A smartphone is along the lines of the Apple iPhone 4 or the Motorola DROID X, as they are running an advanced operating system (almost like a hand-held PC) and can preform a wide variety of tasks, such as email, full web browsing, and can download and run a myriad of apps. A feature phone, such as the LG enV Touch or Samsung Restore, appeals to a wide variety of people, as it's not a full-blown as a smartphone, but still has some nice features, such as a (limited) web browser and email. A basic phone, like the LG Clout and Samsung Haven, is for those individuals who's primary concern is placing and receiving phone calls and who want a device that is simple to use.

Call quality & Signal reception. Some people who use their phone very little for calls, but more for messaging, web access, and playing their MP3s may not put a high concern on their call quality or signal reception. While others who make a lot phone calls, or rely on it for their business, will place a higher priority. It is important here to see which carrier has good coverage in your home area and any areas that you travel to frequently. Even though most providers say they have 'Nationwide Coverage' you'll often see a difference in their maps when looking at low populated areas, as often times you'll be roaming on another network. Also keep in mind that GSM and CDMA calls will sound a bit different, so you may want to try a few out first. If you happen to travel overseas, it's may also be a good idea to invest in a Global Roaming phone that can work on the overseas GSM networks.

Display. If you're looking at a smartphone, chances are it will have a display of 3.5" or larger, and will also be touchscreen. Currently, the highest resolution display is found on the iPhone 4 coming in at 640x960 pixels, while most other smartphone offer a WVGA display of 480x800 pixels. The rule of thumb is the more pixels the better, as text and images look sharper. But there's also the debate as to which display technology is better, as there's LCD TFT and AMOLED. For basic phones, you'll be looking at a display around 2" that will be TFT and have a QVGA resolution of 240x320.

Keyboard and Messaging. If you're a heavy TXTer, chances are you want a device a with physical QWERTY keyboard, like on the Motorola DROID 2 or LG Cosmos, as you'll have that tactile feel of using a real keyboard. Other full touchscreen phones instead use a virtual keyboard on-screen, but it can at times be more prone to typing mistakes, so it's best to try it out first. It's also important to see what messaging apps are available on the device, such as email support, instant messaging, and connecting to social network sites. Remember, Texting isn't just for kids anymore.

Camera and Multimedia: When going with a smartphone, you're also getting a multimedia devices, not just capable of taking high-megapixel pictures or recording 720p HD video, but also playing your ripped videos. Most smartphones will play WMV and H.264/263 MP4 videos, while others like the Samsung Galaxy S line will also play DivX and XviD videos. But why stop there, as you can use the devices to play your music collection as well. There's a wide variety of media players on smartphones, so it's always a good idea to try them out first, just bring your microSD memory card with you to the store. Even if you go with a feature phone or a basic phone model, most will also include a camera, usually 1.3-2 megapixels, and will have a basic music player.

Build Quality. Since most people take their phone with them wherever they go, it's important to find a device that is comfortable and fits right in your hand, but is also made well and doesn't feel like it will break easily. Phones that are made out of metal or high-quality plastics are your best bet. If you put some pressure on it, you shouldn't feel it bend of flex. While lower quality plastics are usually found on inexpensive phones, as they will flex quite easily when applying any pressure...and will probably break when dropped.

Now it's your turn to let us know which phone features are most important to you and why that is. There maybe other features that are a must for you, such as having Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a 3.5mm headset jack. Let us know in the Comment section below.

56 Comments
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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:49

1. chrisb (unregistered)


One quality I think is pretty important is battery life. So what my phone can do all of these things? If I have a poor battery life I don't even get to enjoy the features.

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 22:34

29. KParks23 (Posts: 422; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)


i would like to know what kind of phone u guys are using to want 2 days of battery power my htc touch pro 2 is dead after 5 hours and thats after a full charge and my samsung fascinate bites the dust in about 5.5 hours then i put her on life support and sit next to the wall waiting for it to get better lol!!! seriously tho are u guy just not using ur phone that much or what?????????

posted on 25 Oct 2010, 16:06

40. Kurt (unregistered)


I use my phone a lot. And I still usually get more than two days out of it. Here are some hints:
1. Use a background that is mainly dark or black and NOT animated.
2. Minimize the number of widgets.
3. Turn the gps and wifi off when not using them.
4. Short blackout timings.
5. Don't waste your battery (and life for that matter) at games and fakebook.

I would never, never ever accept a telephone that did not provide me with batterylife of at least two full days.

posted on 26 Nov 2010, 18:55

52. jenn05 (Posts: 14; Member since: 24 Jun 2010)


What fun is a phone where you have to minimize usage to keep it running??? I want to use my phone, not try not to use it just to save battery. These companies just need start coming out with a better battery to keep up with these power-hungry smartphones.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 19:58

2. . (unregistered)


screen, processor, and mostly os. great hardware is nothing without great software to go with it.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 20:03

3. MaxJake (unregistered)


1) Call quality / signal, battery 2) physical keyboard blackberry style not landscape, slide out is ok 3) durability 4) OS 5) camera quality

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 09:38

30. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I need a landscape qwerty and it must have a dedicated number row so I can type numbers without the added press of a function key.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 20:15

4. Phullofphil (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


battery life, battery life and batery life in that order. Also call quality then amount of functionality along with eas of use.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 21:09

5. trin (Posts: 88; Member since: 11 May 2010)


It seems like cellphone tech has outpaced battery tech. I don't understand with these phones being as large as they are, don't have a solar strip somewhere on the face to charge some or all of the phone when its sitting or being used face up.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 22:14

6. AAABall (unregistered)


A loud ringer! Most smart phones are not designed for people who work outside or in noisy places. I also use my phone as my alarm clock.

posted on 16 Oct 2010, 22:45

7. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1037; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


Great hardware. I cannot stand a cheap feeling phone no matter how great it is (like the droid incredible)

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 00:21

8. Bankai (unregistered)


Processor speed and memory. Can't stand a phone that is slow processor!

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 14:06

16. Ziemba (unregistered)


Totally agree on the speed comment. I need a fast processor -- I can't stand when I'm typing on a virtual keyboard and my phone can't keep up with me. And I don't type very fast. Good display and Adobe Flash are also important to me these days. I want a good web experience. If the organizer of this forum wants to sort by user, I'm definitely a smartphone user.

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 02:00

9. Honey54 (unregistered)


Well I'm the kind of girl that ONLY cares about reception and coverage period.! Me being an att customer I have found out that att doesn't meet my standards I live in La which is a big city is not like I'm in the middle of no where I have come to terms and realise att doesn't provide good call quality and coverage in the La area I have had about every feauture phone att has to offer Sony Ericsson xperia x10,iPhone 4 , samsung captivate, bbold9700 , bb torch and so far they all had crappy n I mean shitty call quality and reception so Its not the phones its att service I miss my t-mobile g1 It had awesome loud crisp call quality and I also had better reception and also t-mobiles 3G was waaay faster than atts 3G so should I go back to t-mobile or give Verizon a try?? Any answers would be appreciated thanks xoxoxo

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 20:54

22. ecml (Posts: 129; Member since: 23 Mar 2010)


T-mobile, although I don't have their coverage. Verizon isn't all that good, which is what I have but switching carriers soon, because their 3g isn't all that fast and these droid phones are kinda getting ridiculous with the monthly updates that screws up your phone lol

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 22:28

23. Honey54 (unregistered)


Thanks I guess lll go back to t-mobile :) and dump shitty att I can't stand there crappy service anymore

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 12:34

25. jherz6 (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 May 2008)


Honey, I have been a loyal Verizon customer since they were airtouch. In the past three years I have only dropped three calls that I remember. As far as coverage, I was in the navy and got into cell phones so when I was at sea I could still call home and talk to my wife and kids. I was told by several carriers the as long as I could see land I could get a signal, I went with Airtouch (Verizon) because my brother had a phone he wasnt using and gave it to me. I was at times fifty + miles from shore and NOT able to see land and I could boot up my phone and talk to my family like I was nextdoorand its only gotten better. One more thing I think mey be important to you that you havnt mentioned is customer service and support. Verizon has always, always taken care of me when theres been an issue. As far as tmobile is concerned, my daughter had them for a while and she had to exchange a phone by mail. She received the new phone she sent back the new phone, and tmobile claimed they never received it, and even though we provided them the tracking number which proved we'd sent it back after they followed up on it online they still were trying to charge her full price for a phone not returned. Needless to say we didnt pay it and they sure left a sour tase in my mouth. Verizon has the most stringent testing policies in the industry so when they relase a device you can be sure its ready to be released, not like the iphone 4g debockle. So in my opinion between Verizon or tmobile? Verizon no question.

posted on 12 Nov 2010, 09:42

48. FaizanA95 (unregistered)


Try Verizon...
Att is shit...
But if u love t mobile very much then u should go back to t-mobile!
:)...

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 02:32

10. Sunkari Naveen (unregistered)


SmartPhone requirements : 1) touch screen (without sliding keyboard) 2) Call quality/signal, low battery consumption 3) OS with loads of free third party apps 4) Excellent sound loud speaker as well as headphone 5) Free office software & GPS 6) Latest connectivity features like Bluetooth 3, WiFi etc. 7) No proprietary features

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 20:24

21. Yea buddy (unregistered)


I take it your a Samsung Galaxy S user. Captivate FTW

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 04:36

11. Ferame (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Jun 2010)


1)Processor speed 2) Screen bigger than 3.5 3)Android 2.2 or iOS 4+ 4)Price 5)Flash player

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 07:24

12. The_WB (unregistered)


Coverage/Reception and Call Quality are the main reasons what you buy a cell phone. The others are optional equipment add-on's that enhance the quality of the cell phone. If you cannot make a call, why bother!

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 09:41

31. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I could not care less about receiving calls on my phone. It is my mobile PC and must perform as a PC [both hardware & software].

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 10:15

13. JRN1704 (unregistered)


1) Signal and Call Quality 2) Display 3) Size; I may be the only person who dislike these phones coming out bigger and BIGGER. 4) Android OS; this OS needs to be released in sync with other companies and phones. Just dislike the fact that the upgrades are all over the place and some phones don't even qualify for upgrades.

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 11:52

14. FormerRuling (unregistered)


Must be "Smartphone". Which will include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and of this standard stuff. I also don't make mention of call quality or reception really - unless a phone has a noted problem with reception/quality I think they are mostly all the same. We just don't see phones where you say "wow, this phone specifically NEVER drops a call". Dealbreakers if don't have: - Battery Life. I want 2 days of good use out of the thing. Atleast. If I'm not multitasking it better last I long time. - Build Quality. I'm rough on things, I don't care how awesome it is if I break it in 2 months. - Physical QWERTY. Must give good feedback when pressed and have a sensible layout, common symbols having their own key is good. - Little to no lag. I don't care what processer or how much memory is in..as long as it equals a smooth experience for me when using. Features to sweeten deal: - Great web browsing experience and social media intergration/apps. Saves from having to broadcast signal and using Ipod touch for this. - Clear loud speaker. I do on occasion like to talk on speakerphone. - OS with popular features. IE: Threaded (conversation) texting, customizable buttons/icons/layout/etc. Couldn't care less: - Display resolution. As long as I can see the screen, and it's decently big if touchscreen, I don't much care beyond that. - Camera and multimedia. I have a great little camera and an Ipod Touch..Just things I don't use my phone for.

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 09:43

32. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I could not agree more with you on Dealbreakers and Features, but your Couldn't care less section are where we disagree. I want convergence on one device adn it must be capable in display and camera and media too. I will not carry mutiple devices for different tasks.

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 12:59

15. Gen (unregistered)


1. Must have physical QWERTY (virtual keyboard takes five times longer to type a sms/text). Must have sar-value under .60 (or it gives me a headache after just a few minutes of talking). Must have good battery power/low consumption (I absolutely refuse to recharge more often than every five days). Must look good (nice design). 2. Nice if it has a good camera. Nice if it has good processor. Nice if it has good text editing (office) software. Nice if it has good memory (both internal and expandable). 3. Should not have proprietary charger or connections. Should not lag while I'm typing. Should not have any "touch" buttons (or other surfaces that may get activated by my ear while I'm talking). 4.

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 16:18

17. Yalaststop (unregistered)


1. Type of phone 2. Call quality & signal reception 3. Camera and multimedia 4. Display 5. Build quality 6. Keyboard and messaging

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 16:20

18. ayephoner (Posts: 833; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)


1. carrier, verizon is the only service that is worth its salt in my area. all others are awful 2.OS!!!! a smooth, intuitive OS with a fast, easy to use browser is by far the most important thing 3. battery life, having your phone die is just freaking miserable. 4. app store, this is an overrated feature, but still very important 5. hardware, cameras are cool. physical keyboards are waaaaayyyyy overrated, but can be nice to have.

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 17:43

19. mike p (unregistered)


Front facing camera 4G 3.7 inch screen or more but no More than 4.0 inches android with HTC sense UI no QWERTY Physical Keyboard

posted on 17 Oct 2010, 19:11

20. djkd (unregistered)


blah blah blah me me me me me..whatever just giimmme android with a big screen and frontcam..flash dual led 5mp+back cam..nuff said

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 11:00

24. tyoneon (unregistered)


Priority Cellphone Features: Battery life, speaker phone, camera quality, wifi, bluetooth, multitask capable

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 12:44

26. jherz6 (Posts: 215; Member since: 23 May 2008)


1. Display 2. OS"> 3. Features & Specifcations (Speed) 4. BATTERY LIFE 5. Touch Screen no physical keyboard 6. To be able to remove bloatware as needed< 7. Personalization

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 20:35

27. Shammo (unregistered)


I've seen people criticized for needing a physical keyboard but I feel it's an absolute necessity for me! I've always wondered why Apple didn't come out with 2 iPhones, one with, one without. If the iPhone had a physical keyboard, I would have bought one years ago

posted on 18 Oct 2010, 22:13

28. nghtwng68 (Posts: 71; Member since: 26 Nov 2009)


SmartPhone essentials: 1) OS - Smart phone of course. 2) Build quality - Something sturdy that will hold together 3) Call quality/signal strength - Primary function of a phone a major necessity 4) Battery life - 1200 mAh or more is ideal 5) Keyboard/messaging - Swype for touch screen and/or sliding keyboard is the way to go 6) Camera - Coming from a Nokia N82, Xenon flash is a MUST HAVE! 7) Bluetooth - Nothing like hand-free mobility while muti-tasking 8) USB charging port - Adds versatility to the device 9) Speakerphone 10) 3.5mm - Makes things so much easier 11) Wi-Fi

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 09:45

33. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


Great specs! I would put them in a difference order though...

posted on 19 Oct 2010, 09:46

34. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


No one mentioned tethering yet?!?!?! WTF! I can't be the only one who values this ability, am I?

posted on 22 Oct 2010, 09:14

35. Estu (unregistered)


1. Build Quality
2. Multimedia Capabilities

posted on 22 Oct 2010, 13:28

36. dr3wv4n3 (unregistered)


1. Call Quality
2. Camera quality
3. Email

These are the most useful for me. Battery life isn't quite that important with the invention of car chargers and charging at home every evening. I could do without the video or multimedia stuff. Camera quality is a must as my alternative is a $300 DSLR I have to lug around at construction sites. If I could take better pics with a cell phone I wouldn't have to worry about destroying my camera. Work email is a must for me. Obviously, call quality is important or else why bother having a cell phone???

posted on 23 Oct 2010, 11:20

37. jean (unregistered)


All I want to do is buy a casio ravine phone and I can't seem to get it.

posted on 24 Oct 2010, 15:05

38. angel923 (Posts: 7; Member since: 24 Oct 2010)


i want a phone with android and on at&t

posted on 24 Oct 2010, 18:40

39. Sara (unregistered)


Most important: Battery life, call quality,& a decent camera. Not interested in web or text. I'm with Verizon for years, so I get good clear calls, & great service.

posted on 27 Oct 2010, 05:05

41. dongerdo (unregistered)


Most important for me are
1: a physical keyboard! It does not matter how often I've been told soft-keyboards are just as good, I hate them down to the guts.
2: Reliable, loud alarms. I never overslept with my trusty old Nokias or Blackberrys. WinMo and Android don't have such a great track record with me (at least OOB).
3: Decent profile management. Even cheapskate Nokias and Blackberrys ar far superior to the WinMo and Android implementations.
4: A phone which is more or less complete out of the box. I don't understand this apparent App-craze - customization is great, but for the price asked for most smartphones these days I expect the device to be fully(!!) usable right from the start without HAVING to tweak it for days (I look at you Android!!)

Just my 2 cents....

posted on 27 Oct 2010, 15:01

42. M. (unregistered)


1. Smart Dialing/Smart Search
I want to find a phone number within 3 secs and I want to make a call with leas possible clicks.
2. Outlook Synch with categories
Make it as simple as possible.
3. Screen Size
3.5 or 3.7 inch is large engough.

posted on 28 Oct 2010, 04:17

43. 3791baka (unregistered)


1. Build quality & durability. I hate plasticy toys like Samsung.

2. Battery life. Every single Android fails at this horribly. Hero made me buy a separate alarm clock just in case it dies at night, which it did three times so I went late to work three times. gg.

3. Phone must work on Mac, Linux & Windows without additional software. Hell, it should work without computer as a completely independent unit in my opinion. Uh oh, iPhone.

4. Real features. On high-end phone I want real long-lasting valuable features.
Missing software can be added and flaws in OS patched, but if phone has no camera flash it has no camera flash in next firmware either. Yeah, Galaxy S...

5. Usability. What's the deal with releasing phones like Hero or Wildfire that can't even run their virtual keyboard without hiccups?!

So far N8 has been stellar on all fronts. Couldn't be happier. Haters gonna hate.

posted on 29 Oct 2010, 19:52

44. chun li (unregistered)


iphone 4 with a super amoled screen, sd card slot, android browser and can play divx format.

posted on 29 Oct 2010, 20:51

45. multiplication (unregistered)


A simple memo (notepad) function, with search. Why is it so hard to find out if phones have this capability? I want PDA functionality way more than phone functionality.
I don't use outlook, so I don't value Outlook interoperability. I use gmail, so gmail capability is a nice-to-have.

posted on 01 Nov 2010, 17:16

46. Shiznit (unregistered)


Media functions like music... for example the LG Cookie Gig, old because released in april and yet still amazing music capabilities

posted on 10 Nov 2010, 08:01

47. kobayashimaru (unregistered)


Hard to say, what I value the most but I think the top five would be: build quality, feature rich operating system and apps, camera, gps and of course: signal strength (both calls and data).

posted on 12 Nov 2010, 11:29

49. zazozap (unregistered)


Great call quality, great build quality, fast and great messaging input (eg. great qwerty keyboard), great screen and pixel quality, great wifi connectivity and great web browser.

posted on 16 Nov 2010, 19:08

50. phoner289 (unregistered)


I think of course texting and calls, battery life, photos, camcorder, camera, not too bulky, doesn't drop calls. :)

posted on 16 Nov 2010, 19:55

51. George (unregistered)


1) Battery life; 2) good reception &call quality; 3) Nice sound trhough the earphones and with remote control; 4) Enough sreen res and size (3.2 or more) and 5) Good web browser (native or not).

posted on 26 Nov 2010, 19:08

53. XxxCalebxxX (Posts: 14; Member since: 30 Jun 2010)


battery life, 4g, front facing camera, hd screen, thickness, a good touchscreen, and good OS

posted on 29 Nov 2010, 12:57

54. belivingtheword (Posts: 9; Member since: 06 Nov 2009)


A phone that works! I had a buggy Samsung Moment, plagued with data disconnections, freezes, fried GPS and wifi receivers, and random reboots. Now, I have "downgraded" to the Optimus (lower on the specs), but it runs so smoothly, I can't be much happier. However, PA can't distinguish a buggy phone from a solid one by handling it a couple of days. You've really got to use it for around 2-3 weeks. So, for me, the most important thing is a phone that consistently works.

posted on 29 Nov 2010, 13:19

55. WD40 (Posts: 18; Member since: 21 Oct 2009)


1) Huge Screen
2) Applications & Widgets
3) Verizon Capable - because I want to make phone calls too!
4) Fully Customizable - I don't want my phone's home screen to look like everyone else's smart phone.
5) NO BING!!, who the crap wants to use BING, jeeze.
6) Multimedia - Front and rear camera, 720p video, coverflow media player, web w/flash, FM Transmitter.
7) Google Maps & Navigation.

posted on 30 Nov 2010, 03:38

56. vinsterdamus (Posts: 58; Member since: 20 Feb 2010)


1.OS
2.Hardware
3.Battery
4.Physical keyboard
5.Build quality

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