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Black Friday Buying Guide: Smartphones

Shopping on Black Friday can be hectic and stressful, so we put together a quick smartphone buying guide to help focus your choices.


With the holidays quickly approaching and the single busiest shopping day nearly here, smart consumers will be planning and considering the purchases they are about to make. A key aspect to proper planning when considering new phone is to understand the most important features specific to the device so that the myriad of brand names do not become daunting.

We all want specific things from our new phones and many times the brand that provides the features is only an afterthought. Follow our list of the most important smartphone features to consider before shopping and save yourself time and hassle fighting the crowds on black Friday.

The Feature List


The form and shapes of new smartphone options are wide-ranging and varied. Smartphones can be large screened and able to fit in your pocket or nearly the size of a tablet and only useable with two hands and a stylus.

Like all features, design is about what works for you or the person you are buying the phone for. Keep in mind how the phone feels in your hand, can you hear callers with minimum adjustments, are you able to use the phone with one hand, and how well does it store in a pocket or purse.

A well-designed phone will be able to take a bit of abuse and still operate, as well as s small drop or a light bit of moisture. The addition of a display protector or case should also be considered due to availability, protection, and access.

Operating System

At the moment, the most popular and widely available operating systems are the Android OS (found on many phones), the iPhone OS (available only on iPhones), and the Microsoft Window's OS 9on several models of phones). Each OS has its specific features and advantages and should be heavily weighted as a deciding factor if the phone is to be used for more than simple calls and text messages.


Deciding on the correct display size and quality is dependent upon how you plan to use the smartphone. If you plan to watch videos, browse the web, or edit documents on the new device, a minimum screen size of four inches should be as small as you should go. Anything less than four will be difficult to use regularly.

Screen Resolution

With a better resolution comes a better quality of text and images on your phone. If you plan to read or watch videos on your smartphone, then a high-resolution screen is a must-have. The higher resolution that is available to your phone, the more pixels there are to use for drawing images. The more pixels you have available to draw images, the crisper and easier it will be to read and view images.


4G is the standard data network available to consumers purchasing new phones. The data speeds available to 4G are vastly superior to that of the previous 3G standard and average download speeds of 6 to 9 mbps when connected to a 4G network.

There are two types of 4G networks that consumers will encounter: HSPA+ and LTE. Most major carriers have their own LTE networks, but T-Mobile and AT&T default to HSPA+ when LTE availability is lacking.

The most important fact to check when considering purchasing a 4G enabled phone is the smartphone carrier's coverage map. Not all areas have 4G LTE available at this time and it would be a waste to pay a premium for 4G LTE when the service is not available to you.

Battery Life

Battery life is the one key feature of every new phone that is both important to know and most difficult to receive honest and real world answers to. Smartphone manufacturers will detail best-case scenario figures and promise that all day use is possible with their phone. The reality is that the more you use a phone and the more features you have on the phone, the less likely that phone will be able to hold its charge.

When considering battery life in a new smartphone, take into account how much you plan to use the phone and the manufacturer's claims and try to determine what percentage you will actually receive. If you watch videos, browse the web over LTE connections, and keep your Wi-Fi on and active, then your phone will most likely have a fraction of the manufacturer's suggested battery life. If you only use the new phone for calls and texts, take steps to turn off extraneous apps and features, and keep the screen brightness very low, then your phone might achieve close to the suggested battery life.

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