Smart Phone Purchase

Andrew Cummings, President, ICON Computer Users Group. MO
March 2019 issue, The ICON
Andrewcummins (at)

Recently, my phone was “bricked” by an upgrade. Bricking is when something makes your phone unusable, usually a reference to a software change rather than physical damage. If this happens, you can try to reset your phone to factory settings. When this didn’t work, I sent my phone in for a warranty repair and eventually received it back, in working order.

While my phone was out for repair, I spent some time looking at new phones. The most remarkable new feature coming out are phones with foldable screens. Typically, the phone normally looks like a common phone with a normal-sized screen. But, unfold the phone and now you have a phone with a much larger screen. For now, these phones are very expensive, but in tech, all good things come down in price.

There are many new features being introduced to phones, such as cameras and fingerprint scanners hidden in the screen. These are nice, but nothing I need. Even most modestly priced phones with at least 32 GB of storage have the speed and features to satisfy most people. Given that most phones are now great for most people, with plenty of features, my top search criteria is a large screen. If you mainly want a phone for phone calls, then maybe a bigger screen isn’t important to you.

If photos are important to you, look for a phone with a highly rated camera. Many new phones are now coming with multiple lenses, up to a half-dozen lenses, for different purposes. For zooming, very few phones have optical zoom lenses. Most phones just have digital zoom which simulates a zoom by expanding the image. There are some phones with optical zooms and some phones that can take zoom attachments.

If you get a phone with at least 64 GB of storage, you’re getting a nice phone, feature-packed and speedy, with plenty of storage for many apps and photos. But, if there’s a feature in particular that you’re looking for, check for it. Some of the most expensive phones leave out features you may want, like an earphone jack.

After you get your new phone, get a couple of accessories. Cases to help protect your phone are popular. I think a small portable Bluetooth speaker is a great addition, as all phones come with such anemic speakers.

Enjoy your phone, it’s far more than a phone.