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Finding the Right Cell Phone for Real Estate

December 04 2013

The first decision that a REALTOR® needs to make is Smart Phone vs. Dumb Phone. If you just want a phone and access to text or sometimes the ability to read an email (not necessarily respond to one), then a dumb phone is for you. No sense taxing yourself with a complex smartphone if you are not committed to leveraging the features of the device. Any phone will do – just pick one that feels comfortable to hold and carry. Battery life on these devices are awesome today. It is hard to make a bad choice. If you choose to go the smartphone route, picking the right one is a little more challenging.

An older friend of mine once asked me which smartphone to buy. My answer was the one your wife uses. Whenever he sees me today, he says that it was the best advice he could have been given. If you are living with someone or working with someone, there is a high probability that you will be sharing phones and plugs and that sort of stuff. Moreover, you can help each other learn how to use the phone and share tips and tricks. It is the best of all worlds. Even if your smartphone has some shortcomings, the benefits of having the same device will overcome that. Here's a hint – be sure to get different color cases. As a bonus, you will also probably save some money by sharing a family plan for calls, text, and data.

iPhone vs. Android

android phonesThis is an argument that nobody wins. The Android is usually less expensive, and, according to Consumer Reports, Android models from Samsung, LG, and HTC all have higher ratings than the iPhone. Consumer Reports rates messaging, web browsing, display quality, phoning, battery life, camera image quality, camera video quality, portability, operating system, display size and camera megapixels in their rating schema.

The Samsung Galaxy S4Samsung Galaxy S4 is the top rated phone according to consumer reports. And, you pay for that at a retail price of $600 or more. The LG Optimus G is a relative value ranking fourth on the list, but carrying a price tag of $445. A very high percentage of real estate specific applications work very well on the Android platform.

iphone3Now for the iPhone. Consumer reports ranks the iPhone 5s in seventh place in their testing – which is only three points below the top rated phone. The weakness is in phoning and text messaging. Test those features when you are comparing the two devices. Your opinion may vary.

The best feature about the iPhone is that it is so darn cool! Moreover, nearly every application for real estate is first developed for iPhone then for Android. If an application is only developed for one platform, it is typically for the iPhone first. If you are stuck in your decision making, go with the iPhone.

Picking a Carrier

Unless you have never had a cell phone before, you likely already have an opinion about what carrier has the best coverage in your area. Go with that carrier. Although some carriers will have slight pricing advantages from time to time, the others will soon catch up. In the Consumer Reports 23 city survey, Verizon was tops in twenty one cities and second in two cities. That is domination. Your results may vary. Sprint was in last place in seven cities. AT&T performed admirably in the middle to upper pack.

Contract Choice

No contract is always more expensive. Feel free to go with the two-year contract. If you keep the phone for more than two years (this is rare), some carriers have new programs that allow you to get a new phone every year. If you like to keep up with the geeks, this is a nice option – especially for Apple's iPhone, which seems to reinvent itself so often.