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How to Compare BlackBerries & Smartphones

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    • 1). Conduct research on BlackBerries. You can do this by going to Blackberry's website at blackberry.com. On the site, you will be able to refine your search by country, carrier, features, or device series. The comparison page allows you to drag and drop from a list of devices to read about the features you've selected. This site only allows you to compare various BlackBerry phones, not to other brands.

    • 2). Check out all smartphones on other websites. Cnet.com reviews are impartial and you can read both editors' and users' opinions of various devices. You can browse the reviews by carrier, manufacturer, price point, and other features such as RAM, OS, communication band, size, weight and input device.

    • 3). Go deeper for information. Cnet reviews are good for a broad overview, but once you have narrowed your focus, sites like gizmodo.com and engadget.com offer more in-depth coverage, including reviews, software updates, carrier fees, hidden fees, all complete with user comments. These sites can give you an idea of the common issues that carriers and phones may have. For example, one popular national carrier has acknowledged that it has coverage issues in some areas of the country, especially with one popular brand of cell phone.

    • 4). Decide what you want to spend. How much are you willing to spend on a phone? How much do you want to spend monthly? Many carriers provide new phones with deep discounts, but most plans include separate charges for minutes and data, which can add up. You should also check to see if the carrier has a cap on data usage or if there are additional fees for overages after a certain amount of bandwidth.

    • 5). Determine needs. Do you need emails? Do you frequently text? What about data usage? Do you surf the web on your cell phone often? You should consider these needs, along with the physical layout of the phone. If you browse the web often, look at devices that have a nice big screen. However, that big screen may come at a cost of battery life, so in this case you may want to invest in an extra battery or a good portable charger. These needs should be factored into your final costs for the phone.

      Another important detail is the smartphone's keyboard, or lack thereof. If you have never used a touchscreen, you should test it out before you invest in a smartphone that has no physical keyboard. If the phone has a keyboard, you should make sure it fits nicely in your hand. Vertical keyboards are good for one-hand texting, and horizontal ones usually require both hands.

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