How To Video
Select the right phone designThere's more to a great phone than just a pretty screen. Learn about the three basic types of cell phones and their relative advantages and drawbacks.
Hey, I??m Donald Bell, and we??re shopping for a phone. Now, regardless of which carrier you??ve chosen or what type of plan you??re gonna have, there really only a few types of phone to choose from. The first thing I think about is design which breaks down to three general types. You have your basic phones, phones with keyboards and touchscreen phones. Basic phones are dying breed but they??re still a good choice for someone who wants an uncomplicated phone. Typically, these are flip phones with a screen and a physical numeric keyboard, they??re usually pretty cheap and some people still like this classic design but they??re short on features. So if you want a phone that you can use as an e-mail or browse the web or [unk] send text messages, that??s where these phones come in the way. Phones with a physical keyboard are great for people who are just getting used to the idea of typing on their phone, but they??re also great for people who type all the time. The trade off is that these slide out style phones are usually thicker and heavier than touchscreen phones. On a touchscreen phone, all the controls and the keyboard are right there on the screen. This is the dominant format right now. The trade off here is that any damage of the screen is going to affect everything you do on the phone. I see people walking around all the time with a cracked smartphone caused by drop on the sidewalk. So if you go this route, a case is a good idea. Now, another term you??re gonna hear a lot of when describing phones is feature phones versus smartphones. A smartphone is any kind of phone that runs a name brand OS. This is where you??ll find the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows. These are essentially computers that fit in your pocket and can also make calls. Feature phones give you the messaging, e-mail and web browsing capability of a smartphone but they were on customized software. Typically the less expensive in gear towards teenagers but they don??t have the extensive capabilities and app selection of smartphones. So there you, that??s an overview of the types of designs you??re gonna find when you??re out there shopping for a cellphone. More cellphone buying and buy struck of the other videos in this buying guide. For CNET.com, I??m Donald Bell.