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Over the next few days I’m going to be looking at the various mobile smart devices on the market today and asking one very important question – Why should I buy it? For many people the cost of buying a smartphone, a tablet, a netbook and a notebook, or any combination thereof, is prohibitive. In fact, they can only justify spending their hard earned cash on one of these. So which one is right for you?

ASUS smartphone

In this piece I am looking at the smartphone. While it is very nice to have a phone with a touchscreen and 3G internet access and Wi-Fi and push email and every other drop of technical feature you can think of, you might not need one. And this is especially true if you are thinking of getting a tablet or a notebook.

The checklist:

If you don’t plan on buying either a tablet or portable notebook then you will need a smartphone if you:

  • Need instant access to email on the go
  • Need access to the internet and social media no matter where you are
  • Want access to apps and utilities that can improve your work productivity and entertain you on the commute
  • Want a device that can provide you with music, entertainment, and connectivity without taking up space
  • Want one device to handle all your communication needs while out of the office or home
  • Are comfortable reading books, watching movies and navigating the web on a smaller screen for the duration of the commute, or while you are out and about
  • Want the ultimate little piece of portability and don’t need a lot of storage space
  • Are not that fussed about super speedy processing and multitasking – a tablet has processors and features that make it a lot faster
  • Want a device that can double as a GPS tool and sit as comfortably on your dashboard as in your hand
  • Need access to the cloud and documents/media stored there from any location in the world
  • Need a tool to keep your life organised and keep track of schedules and appointments across a multitude of calendars and apps
  • Want access to NFC and coupons and special offers through tap and go, tagging and smart posters, as well as internet vouchers
  • Want a comprehensive contact database in one device for instant emailing, phoning, texting and chatting

Don’t spend money on a smartphone if:

  • You just want a basic device to send texts and make calls
  • You plan on buying, or already own, a table or portable notebook
  • You need more desktop real estate to work with for emails, web surfing and social media than the smartphone can provide
  • You need a bigger keyboard and more flexibility on features
  • Productivity apps such as spreadsheets or presentations are easier to manage on a larger screen so if you need them, go for a notebook or tablet instead
  • You are watching your wallet. Data plans are becoming increasingly expensive (this counts for tablets too) so if you don’t need the internet on the go, don’t bother with a smartphone. Also, you will pay far less for a standard phone than for a smartphone on your contract.
  • You just want a social media device on the go. You can tweet and update Facebook without the internet. Texts will be charged but most contracts offer you a set number of free texts per month anyway.
  • You can’t be bothered with constant battery charging, maintenance, updates, data usage checking, and care. Smartphones need love and attention and they are not for the clumsy or forgetful. While tablets are just as delicate and precious, some designs like the ASUS Transfomer series have that dock that clips shut to protect the tablet in transit.

Of course you could always just stop worrying about whether or not you should buy a tablet or a phone and just get a hybrid device like the Padfone…

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