What to look for in a smartphone

As with any technology in our lives, things eventually break. Until it stopped working, Amy had been relying on her computer as her access to the online world. She was left with a tough decision: fork out the cash for another computer or upgrade her mobile phone plan and use a smartphone for her daily internet access.

As Amy didn’t sit in front of her computer for long periods of time and felt she could do everything she wanted on her smartphone, she decided to bite the bullet. She not only found herself with more spare time due to not having to sit in front of the computer, she also found herself using her time on public transport productively by sending emails and entering future dates on her calendar.


Setting up her email account on her new smartphone was simple. She typed ‘how to setup email on iPhone’ into the Google search engine and the first link provided her with a very simple guide which had her email ready to use in minutes. Googling guides also works for any other smartphone by replacing iPhone with the different brand and model.

Amy used to sit in front of her computer writing long emails which waffled on and didn’t get straight to the point. With email on the smartphone, she has found that it takes longer to write with the onscreen touchpad which has meant her emails are more concise. One major downside was when she wanted to send longer emails to friends and relatives overseas but this was easily resolved by booking free computer time at her local library.


Amy had recently started using online internet banking to pay her bills and to transfer funds between her accounts. The first application she downloaded for her iPhone was her bank’s mobile banking application. The application allows her to achieve all of her regular internet banking requirements. It also includes a nearest ATM/branch finder tool and contact numbers to call the banking and lost cards hotline in case of emergencies. The mobile banking application is handy for making those hard purchasing decisions by providing a live account balance while she is out and about.


While a street directory can be convenient, you often need to turn between two to three pages to get to where you are going. Using a smartphone for navigation purposes is simple. Amy paid a small fee for Metroview GPS Navigation, which is an app with more functions than the automatically installed ‘Maps’ on her iPhone (which does not include voice directions). Users of Android software smartphones can download ‘Google Maps Navigation’ for free and this includes voice and written directions.


A firm believer in planning out her week and writing down appointments and meetings in a diary, Amy’s smartphone provided her with the perfect opportunity to switch from a traditional book diary to an online diary, complete with daily reminders for events and birthdays. Every day Amy opens the diary on her phone to see what is on for the day. She also gets a reminder sent to her phone at a set time before the event is happening. While the basic calendar pre-installed on a smartphone does the job perfectly, Amy’s friend Cindy was using a different calendar, This Is Note, which cost around $3. This synced up both Cindy and her husband’s calendars onto one system.

Can I afford a smartphone?

With over 300 different makes and models of smartphones expected to hit shelves in 2012, there is a smartphone for almost any price range. The following smartphones are available from selected local retailers and were within the price ranges listed below at time of publication.

Budget: Under $200

Huawei U8150 Ideos
Samsung Wave
HTC Wildfire
LG Optimus Me (P350)

Affordable: $200-$499

LG Optimus Black
Motorola XT5 Touch
Samsung Galaxy S
Blackberry Bold 9780
Sony Ericsson Experia Play

Luxury: $500-$999

Samsung Galaxy S II
iPhone 4S
Nokia N9
HTC Sensation
Blackberry Curve 9900

CNET reviews the newest smartphones on the market.

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).