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  1. Design
  2. The first thing that you may notice when shopping around for a new phone are the phones' designs. Consider whether you want a touchscreen phone, a flip phone, a phone with a slider QWERTY keyboard or a phone with a physical keyboard. Pick up the phone to see if it is comfortable in your hand and against your ear. Do you plan on carrying it in your pocket? If so, be sure that it fits in your pocket. Determine if you need a particularly rugged phone or whether a regular phone with a case will do for your needs.

  3. Display
  4. To determine which size display you want, think about how you plan on using your phone. Are you only planning on using it to make calls and send texts? If so, a screen that is less than three inches diagonally should work for you. However, if you plan to watch videos, view websites or view documents on your phone, you may want to consider a screen that is larger than that.

  5. Operating System
  6. The phone's operating system does not matter so much if you are only using the most basic features, but if you plan to access the Internet and download applications, you will want to consider the various platform options. The favorite platforms among consumers right now are iOS, which is the platform used in iPhone models, Blackberry OS, Google's Android, used in many phones and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

  7. Internet Capability
  8. Most cell phones on the market today are Internet-capable. However, the speeds vary. Many phones have 3G capability. 3G coverage has a maximum speed of 3 Mbps. This is fast enough to access the Internet, send and receive files and even view streaming videos online. However, users that plan on heavy Internet use will benefit from phones that are 4G capable. It is important to note that 4G Internet access is not available everywhere, so be sure to view your carrier's 4G coverage map before accepting the additional costs for 4G access.

  9. Camera
  10. Many phones have cameras, but be sure to check the camera specs if you plan on using the camera a lot or for specific purposes. Today, smartphones typically have five-megapixel cameras, but phones with 12-megapixel cameras are available. If you want great picture quality, it is also important to have a camera phone with a flash. If camera quality is particularly important to you, be sure to take some pictures in the store before you purchase the phone to check out the camera's quality. While you're at it, check the phone's features to see if the phone is capable of recording videos if you are interested in making videos.