Cell phones are fabulous and, for most, required equipment. They let you do it all: send e-mails, watch TV, download music, instant message friends, and even track your child/husband/boyfriend’s location.
Stalking aside, with today’s models jam-packed with bells and whistles, how do you know which features you really need, and which you can live without. While many of the perks listed above are delightful, here are the three you actually need; add the others if you simply want to splurge:
Bluetooth: Until recently, Bluetooth has been one of those more-luxury-than-necessity features; however, thanks to lower costs, easier implementation, and of course, hands-free driving laws now in place; it is one of the top phone features people are requesting.
Camera: A camera in your phone isn't as frivolous an addition as people once thought. Not sure about that fabulous sample sale dress? Snap it and send it to your friend. Want to capture that oh-so-adorable picture of your dog? Snap it and send it. Camera qualities run from 1 MP to about 8 MP. The better-quality cameras have zooms and even flashes and are usually found on the more expensive phones. If you’re inclined to snap pics on the go and send them to friends and family, adding picture-messaging to your plan up front will save you money on your bill. Remember: You’re buying a phone first, not a camera. If it takes great pics, but doesn't make great calls—it’s not the right phone.
Web browsing and e-mail: People mock the e-mail addicts, furiously typing away on their mobile devices, always connected to the Internet; but when they need to find a restaurant’s rating, locate the nearest movie theater, or know that their kid’s after-school program was cancelled, the information is right there, at their fingertips; which is why this feature isn't just for office junkies anymore. Once you have the Internet and e-mail at your fingertips, you’ll quickly wonder: How did I ever live without?
All the rest: What you can live without are the Live TV Streams. It’s very cool, but not at all necessary. Bypass the music player features, too. They’re fun to have, but you probably won’t use them, especially if you have an iPod on hand. Many of the music systems on phones will only allow you to add songs that you purchase through the phone's mobile store, meaning you can't load it with your own tunes anyway.