Mobile Buyers Guide

Here’s a useful guide to some of the features you may find on your chosen handset, as seen in the item description and reviews:

2G HANDSET  2G refers to 2nd Generation mobile communication standards. All handsets are now at least 2G in the UK and worldwide, the later and higher standard being 3G – see below. This generally relates to the speed of data transmission, for example downloading a web page on a mobile phone’s web browser. 2G speeds are regarded to be extremely slow these days, typically transmitting just 9.6 kilobits of data per second (9.6 kbit/). However many 2G phones are in fact rated 2.5G, with speeds of between 56 and 115 kbit/s (GSM GPRS handsets) and 2.75G offering up to 237 kbit/s (GSM EDGE handsets)

3G HANDSET – 3G handsets are generally known as videocalling handsets becasuse they have much faster download speeds for data of up to 18 Megabits per second. Most of these phones feature a second camera on the front to enable you to make a video call to other 3G handset owners anywhere in the world. These were popular originally when 3G first appeared although most people now use 3G handsets for browsing thw internet, usually via smartphones.They have gained popularity largely down to the fact that they also provide fast internet access. Calls can also be made as normal to any 2G mobile phone.

4G HANDSET – This is the 4th generation – 4G – of mobile phone communication standards. Data transmission speeds are now incredibly fast, with download speeds of up to 300 MB per second and upload speeds of up to 75 MB per second. At the start of 2014 most networks only offer 4G in highly populated areas such as large cities in the UK. The UK uses the LTE standard for 4G.

BLUETOOTH – Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect without wires to another Bluetooth device, such as a headset or earpiece – very useful whilst on the move for example (and illegal to use a mobile phone without a headset whilst driving in the UK and many other countries). It can also be used to transfer data between devices though is not ideal for large amounts of data where Wi-Fi is preferable.

Stereo (A2DP) Bluetooth offers stereo sound when used with a stereo Bluetooth (cordless) headset or stereo Bluetooth speakers

CAMERA – Enables you to take digital pictures which you can view on the phone, download to your computer or send to your friends. Almost all cameras have a built-in zoom facility. The higher the megapixel, the better the picture. However don’t get too carried away with very high megapixel cameras, as you will require a very steady hand the higher you go and more megapixels equals more memory space required. Even a good 1.3 megapixel camera will produce excellent 4″ x 6″ prints
DLNA – DLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, a standard developed by Sony which allows you to link all DLNA-enabled devices together. This is a system primarily designed for a home wireless network and it means that you can access your files and folders on any enabled device. For example, common uses are playing music on a wireless Hi-Fi system or watching videos on your TV that are stored on your tablet or smartphone. Most top of the range smartphones now have DLNA.

FLIGHT MODE – It is illegal to use a mobile phone on most aircraft as the signals may interfere with the operation of the aircraft. FLIGHT MODE allows you to turn off the mobile phone function while still allowing you access to your favourite features such as your CAMERA or MP3 PLAYER

FM RADIO – Listen to your favourite radio station in FM, usually in stereo. Phones with an FM radio usually include a FREE headset. FM radios with RDS will show the station name too.

HANDSFREE SPEAKERPHONE – Exactly as the name suggests, this feature allows you to conduct your call via the built-in speaker, without the need to hold the phone to your ear.

INTERNET – Access the world wide web via your mobile phone using the built in web browser. 2G phones with EDGE internet access allows for faster loading of web pages whilst 3G HANDSETS allow you to access the internet at much faster speeds. The new 4G standard offers broadband-like speeds for internet access, especially for downloading and web page viewing and is perfect for watching streaming video.

MEMORY CARD – A removable “card” which Increases the storage capacity of your phone. Very useful for storing additional mp3 music files, photos and video clips. Most phones now use the popular MicroSD format, and memory cards are available to buy on this website.

MEMORY CARD SLOT – This enables you to expand the memory of your phone by inserting a memory card. See above for details.

MMS PICTURE MESSAGING – MMS messaging allows you to send and receive picture messages, sound files (such as ringtones), and even short video clips to other MMS enabled handsets rather than just a few words of text.

MP3 PLAYER – Also known as a music player, this device built into your phone will store, organise and play your music tracks. There are various file formats but most MP3-equipped phones will play all the most popular formats which include MP3 and WAV. These tracks are often stored on a MEMORY CARD

NFC – Near Field Communication is a technology which allows you to make quick and short transfers of information between two devices. This is currently best known for it’s use in contactless payments. You hold your phone next to a reader device which may then allow you to make low value purchases from the card details stored in your phone. It works in credit cards too, as it is a very low power technology that requires no battery in the device.

PHOTO CALLER ID – This allows you to assign a photo or picture to your built-in phone book, or contacts list. The photo then shows on the screen when that caller rings you. Usually found on phones with MMS PICTURE MESSAGING

QUADBAND – Quadband phones will work just about anywhere in the world! Quadband phones work on the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz (Megahertz) wavebands. 850 and 1900 are primarily used in the Americas while 900 and 1800 are used in the UK, Europe and most of the rest of the world.

SCREEN – All the information on your phone is viewed on the screen, from incoming calls to your contacts, photos and even the internet. The bigger the screen, the easier it is to read and a 262,000 colour screen for example will give you a wider, more natural colour range. A higher pixel density (PPI or Pixels Per inch) ensures crystal clear photos and text.

SIM CARD – A small electronic ‘chip’ which contains your mobile number and network settings. An unlocked phone will usually accept any sim card anywhere in the world (with the exception of most 3 network sim cards) and you can swap sim cards to switch between networks, maybe to use one which has a cheaper tariff when abroad. Up to 250 of your mobile contacts can also usually be saved on your sim card, allowing you to transfer them from one phone to another.

SMS MESSAGING – More commonly known as “Text messaging”, this feature allows you to type and send short text messages of up to 160 characters to other mobile phones.

All our phones feature SMS text messaging.  Also see MMS PICTURE MESSAGING

TRIBAND – Triband phones work on the GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 wavebands and will work anywhere in Europe, Australia, Canada and most of the U.S.A and the rest of the world. Unlocked phones can be used with a sim card from a network in any country using these wavebands. Also see QUADBAND

UNLOCKED – An unlocked phone can be used on ANY network anywhere, with a Pay As You Go or Contract sim card. However please be aware that you will need a 3G handset for use with the 3 mobile phone network.

Buyers in the U.S. will need to check that their network uses the GSM 1900 waveband, as the phones we sell will NOT work on the GSM 850 waveband unless they are unlocked quadband phones. All quadband and 3G phones will work in the U.S.

USB CONNECTIVITY – Allows users to connect to their computer to transfer files such as MP3 music tracks or photos using a USB cable. Also charges the battery on most modern smartphones when connected.

VIDEO RECORDING – As the name suggests, records ‘moving’ video pictures, usually with sound. This feature is now included on most handsets equipped with a camera and top end smartphones now record in HD.

VOICE RECORDER – Like a dictation machine, allows you to record voice memos to save and play back later. Memos can also be sent to other phones via MMS MESSAGING on many handsets.

Next: Our top 10 tips for prolonging your smartphone battery life

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