Phone Preference May Help You Choose!

Your phone preferences may be an important part that plays a role in choosing which prepaid wireless provider you end up choosing.  Consider the following tips and questions to think about as you do your research.


For many people, the type of phone (often referred to as a handset) is one of the most important factors in selecting a wireless carrier and a plan.  So as you consider the plan cost and payment flexibility, also check to see what phones are available with which plans.  This is important, because not all phones can be activated on all of a carrier's plans, and some require certain plans to be activated (ex. certain data plans or data add-ons may be required for specific smartphones).
  • The price of the phone is probably one of the largest startup costs.  If you want all of the bells and whistles, and the latest and Best Smartphone, be prepared to pay for it.  And if the phone is truly the most critical element for you, definitely look at each provider's phone selection first before digging into the plan details.  Choosing a handset is typically much easier to do than figuring out all of the plan type details, so you might as well get that out of the way first!  Also, as I'm noted elsewhere, don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that paying more for a phone is a bad thing.  You'll usually find that people buying postpaid plans may pay less for their phone, however, they usually end up paying more for their plan.  So in the long run (even just one or two years), you'll end up spending much less overall even though you paid more for your phone.  So don't let this factor affect your phone preference!
  • What features are the most important to you?  Phone size?  Screen size?  Color?  Physical (versus virtual) keyboard?  Internet connection speed (ex. 3G vs. 4G)?  Etc...
  • Is the phone new or refurbished?  Some prepaid wireless providers offer a large selection of handsets, however, many or all of their phones are not new.  Most larger carriers ONLY offer new phones, however, some smaller MVNO providers offer refurbished phones as a means of offering lower prices.  So long as it comes with a reasonable warranty (ex. 90 days), and it looks to be in good condition, this isn't necessarily a big deal.  In fact, it may allow you to get a nicer phone than you would otherwise be able to buy for the same price.  But just be sure to take note.  Also, keep in mind that some smaller wireless carriers don't buy enough phones to get a good price from manufacturers, so you may end up paying more for a refurbished phone with one company than you would for buying the same phone brand new from a larger company.  Lastly, note that refurbished phones are usually in impeccable condition, and often have less issues because they've gone through a rigorous human inspection and reconditioning process, so definitely don't let this scare you off when thinking about your phone preference.
  • What's the battery life?  People often get so caught up with how new or cool the phone is that we forget to check out how long it will last.  Depending on how often you use your phone, be sure to consider battery life when considering size because there's usually a trade off there.  In other words, the smaller and thinner a phone is, the less time the battery will last.  That said, there are some super thin phones that seem to have amazing battery life, so this isn't a hard and fast rule.  With advanced phones these days, the size and brightness of the screen, coupled with the amount of background processes running (ex. Facebook status updates, email syncing, incoming Groupon offers, etc.), can impact battery life more than anything else.  All else being equal, however, the size rating of a battery (ex. 1400mAh) is a quick way to compare similarly featured phones; the bigger the better!

So all that said, figuring out your phone preference is no doubt an important first step!


Phone Preference

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