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What to look for when shopping for a cell phone

From basic mobiles to high-end smartphones, cell phones keep the world connected. A lot has changed in the world of mobile devices in the last decade, so it's important to keep track of the latest technologies before making a purchase. With the extensive selection of cell phones available at Walmart, you can find the right handset for you no matter your needs and preferences.

When you're considering a new mobile device, there are lots of things to take into account in order to make an informed purchase. From choosing the right provider and payment plan to making sure you take advantage of the latest improvements in handset technology, you'll want to consider your needs and budget before making a decision.

Choose the right provider and plan for you

Selecting a wireless carrier is probably the first decision that you have to make when you want a new phone. In most cases, this also determines the selection of phones you can choose from. You can opt for a contract or no-contract carrier, or go for a cell phone with a pre-paid plan. A contract carrier offers various monthly plans that can include minutes, texts and data, as well as a handset. You generally have to enter into a 12- or 24-month contract. No-carrier contracts allow you to get service from a smaller carrier such as a mobile virtual network operator without the yoke of a two-year contract. Finally, pay-as-you-go or pre-paid plans are the most flexible option, as you can avoid surprises on your bill by topping up on an as-needed basis. Various bundles and data packs are available via pay-as-you-go options with most carriers.

Confirm the coverage: Large carriers such as Verizon or AT&T offer good coverage for high-speed Internet service across the country. You can confirm the coverage by using a zip code map provided by the carrier. Alternatively, ask your family or friends how well their phones work in a particular area.

Decide how much data you need: As not all providers offer the same deals for minutes, texts and data, think about your regular usage before deciding on a carrier. If you spend more time texting and calling, then you only need a light data use plan. On the other hand, if you like to watch videos and download content on your phone, you may need a plan with 4GB or more.

Essential features to have in a smartphone

There's no shortage of choices when you compare smartphones, so look at some of the basic features that can make or break a device. Some of the features that you need to pay particular attention to include:

  • Screen: Opt for the highest possible resolution for crisp text and vibrant pictures. A minimum of 800x480 pixels is recommended, but for an excellent experience, try to find a screen with a 1280x720-pixel resolution.
  • Processor: Look for a phone that comes with at least a dual-core processor so you can run all the apps and games you want without any trouble.
  • Camera: Many high-end smartphones offer DSLR-like quality photos, so look for a model with at least an 8-megapixel camera for best results.

Decide on an operating system

The main operating systems on the market are Apple iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry.

Apple iOS: Available only on iPhones, Apple s iOS is easy to master and offers a variety of proprietary features such as the Siri voice-controlled assistant and the Apple Music library.

Android: Powered by Google, Android is the operating system with the largest selection of handsets on the market. Unlike Apple's iOS, this OS is highly customizable.

Windows: Ideal if you want to unify your Windows laptop or desktop with your mobile device, Windows comes with a complex OS that offers flexible access to the same apps you have on your computer.

BlackBerry: A good option for those who don't want to let physical keyboards go, BlackBerry phones run on their own BlackBerry OS and come with multiple dedicated features for business users.

Consider battery life

Most cell phones can handle at least a day's worth of phone calls, texts and web browsing on a single charge. However, if you like to use your phone for music or gaming on a daily basis, you may need to consider getting a model with a longer battery life, which generally needs to be a 3,000 mAh battery or above. Heavy users may consider purchasing an external battery for their phone to avoid running out of juice at the end of the day.

With our wide range of cell phones, it's easy to find the exact features you want in your new handset. Once you have figured out what your new phone is going to be, have a look at some of our cell phone accessories such as cases, car mounts and Bluetooth to get the most from your device, all at Every Day Low Prices.

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