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Smartphone Pros and Cons

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/19/2011

For many, smartphones are a daily necessity. All of the industry hype is around the latest smartphones, and they seem to be gaining popularity quicker than ever. Still, regular cell phones may be the better choice for some. Is the $30 a month charge worth it? Learn more about smartphones.

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    Smartphones - What They Offer

    HTC Droid Incredible If you are a normal cell phone user considering making the jump to a smartphone, you are probably interested in learning about some of the features that smartphones offer, before deciding whether or not the upgrade is worth it. The good thing is, mainly all smartphones, whether they be iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc... all offer many of the same basic features. Compared to a regular, traditional cell phone, smartphones do offer quite a lot. Check out some of the following advantages of smartphones.

    • Smartphones allow you to access the internet. Some regular cell phones have this ability as well, but the internet browsing experience on a regular cell phone is almost unusable. Judging internet browsing speed, smoothness, and usability on a scale of 1-10, a good smartphone will be a 9-10, where a regular cell phone will be a 1-2. Features like tap to zoom, multi-touch, gestures, and more allow for smartphones to provide an optimal web browsing experience. Not only that, but the heavy majority of smartphones are touch screen, meaning that they have more screen real estate to work with. This can be very beneficial when surfing the web (remember that to use the internet on a regular cell phone, you will still likely need a data plan, which will run around $15/month).

    • Smartphones are heavily dependent on apps. Whether it be the iPhone with the App Store, the Droid with the Android Market, or the Blackberry with App World, nearly all modern smartphones rely on applications. Of course, a smartphone will work great as an internet surfing device and cell phone, but the apps are really what make smartphones shine. Many smartphone apps are either games or social networking utilities (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc). However, there are thousands of other apps as well, which allow you to do anything from scan groceries to type up documents. If you are interested in learning more about some of the apps that are available for smartphones, you may want to check out our series on top iPhone apps.
    • Navigation and GPS is another feature that smartphones are known for. Most notably, the Android series of phones offers built-in Google Navigation, which is a very convenient feature to have, especially if you spend a lot of time on the road and do a lot of traveling. Again, some normal cell phones have navigation capabilities as well, for example, Verizon's VZ Navigator service. However, these services do normally come with a fee, and they do not offer anywhere near the same level of navigation experience as a smartphone.
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    Smartphones - Other Advantages

    The features listed in the above section are the core of smartphones. Meaning, they are the major pros that smartphones have against regular cell phones. Even so, there are several other advantages that smartphones have to offer.

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    User Interface (UI)

    User interface, or UI, refers to the software that sits on top of the operating system and gives you access to smartphone functions. Compared to regular cell phones, smartphones are definitely a pleasure to look at. The overall feel, user interface, design, and flow of smartphones is quite a step up from traditional cell phones. Because nearly all smartphones are touch screen, the user interface allows for a much faster and more intuitive navigation experience.

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    Multimedia Capabilities

    Apple iPhone With all of the hype and industry demand around smartphones, regular cell phones have kind of hit a plateau and many cell phone manufacturers have taken attention away from advancing regular cell phones, and instead are focused on growing their smartphone offerings. Thus, many regular cell phones remain "basic" when it comes to multimedia capabilities.

    Smartphones have the latest music playback software and video viewing software built-in. For example, Apple's iPhone has a built-in, mobile version of iTunes and many Android based smartphones offer a comparable music playback app. Video and movie viewing on most smartphones is good, because many smartphones offer wide, high contrast screens.

    Most regular cell phones have very generic multimedia capabilities. For example, nearly all Verizon "non-smart" phones feature the same basic music player, and very limited video capabilities.

    As far as pictures are concerned, a regular cell phone may have a 2 megapixel camera, where a smartphone may have an 8 megapixel camera with advanced digital zoom and flash. Not only that, but many high end smartphones have built in photo editing software. Not only do the latest smartphones allow you to take pictures and record video, but they also have built-in editing software, allowing you to crop, modify, and edit clips and photos directly on the phone. Most normal cell phones can only take pictures.

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    Smartphones - Are They Right For You

    Now that you have learned more about smartphones and what they are capable of, you can determine whether or not a smartphone is a good choice for your next mobile purchase. Be sure to continue on to the next article in our series, where we will list some things that you may want to consider before choosing a smartphone. We will also pair smartphones head to head against traditional cell phones, for everyday use.

Smartphones vs. Cellphones - Are Smartphones Worth It?

This two part series focuses on smartphones vs. traditional cell phones. Here, we will discuss the many advantages of smartphones, and also compare the two types of mobiles, helping you to decide which is best for you. Some people may benefit from smartphones, where others may not need smartphones.
  1. Smartphone Pros and Cons
  2. Are Smartphones Worth The Money?