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Samsung GALAXY S5
Samsung GALAXY S5 NEW
Samsung's 2014 Flagship device. Powerful and fast with 1080p Full HD 5" display.
88/100The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is probably one of the most improved elements of the handset, an...
40 Plans 12 Deals
Apple iPhone 5s 16GB
Apple iPhone 5s 16GB
Apple's latest phone is more powerful and features better motion tracking and a fingerprint scanner
89/100We've already said how the A7-powered Camera app zips along like a greased squirrel, now we'll make ...
38 Plans 16 Deals $280 Max. Saving
Apple iPhone 4S 8GB
Apple iPhone 4S 8GB
8 MP camera with dual core A5 processor, HD Video, and video calls
87/100The camera on the iPhone 4S is simply the best camera we’ve reviewed on a phone so far. Although on ...
32 Plans 16 Deals $280 Max. Saving
Samsung GALAXY S4 16GB
Samsung GALAXY S4 16GB
Samsung's 2013 Flagship device. Powerful and fast with 1080p Full HD 5" display.
90/100In our continuous video playback the S4 managed an impressive ten hours and 43 minutes, a score we'd...
47 Plans 16 Deals $280 Max. Saving
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
4G LTE Android smartphone/tablet hybrid running on Jelly Bean
88/100The Galaxy Note 3 is the best Phablet to date. Not only is it thinner and lighter than previous Note...
44 Plans 16 Deals $280 Max. Saving

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BUSINESS

Optus Business Mobile Phone Plans Telstra Business Mobile Phone Plans

Mobile Phones – Getting Started

How to Choose a Smartphone

It’s important use multiple sources of information when looking for a new smartphone as it is more than likely that you’ll spend two years with this device in your pocket. Talk to friends, try their phones and read multiple reviews in order to make an educated decision. Salespeople within a physical store can also be helpful, but it’s wise to consider them as another source of information among many as they are salespeople and have their own commission based reasons.

Warning: A lot of people, including sales staff will have strong opinions over which device is ‘best’ or ‘better than’ another. We’d like to reiterate that you must make your own decision as two years is a long time and try not to be swayed by the opinions of others. What’s best for your friend or family member may not be best for you.

Screen Size

There are a lot of arguments for and against different screen sizes for smartphones and it’s easy to get caught up in the debate. This is an area that is completely subjective and the decision can even come down to the size of your pocket and where the phone will fit comfortably.

Factors to consider:

  • Videos (obviously more impactful on a bigger screen with better resolution)
  • Browsing the internet (obviously more impactful on a bigger screen and with faster internet)
  • Is it comfortable for you to hold?
  • Will it fit comfortably in your pocket?
  • Battery life (read reviews to find out if this is an issue)
  • Resolution compared to screen size (advanced)

Think how you will usually use your smartphone and whether or not a larger screen would offer a more positive or negative experience. Many people spend hours on their phone everyday reading, browsing, gaming, watching, with only a few minutes on calls.

Mobile Phone Operating Systems & How You Interact

A phone’s operating system (OS) is the software platform on which your entire user experience is built. Right now there are 3 major systems to be aware of: iOS (iPhone), Android OS (many phones) and Windows Phone 7. The once-iconic BlackBerry OS, which is still quite popular but has been losing users for a few years now since the rise of the capacitive touchscreen smartphone away from the physical QWERTY keyboard with which BlackBerry found fame. In response BlackBerry has rebuilt its OS, naming it BB10, bringing new hopes to the company, but is still to prove itself in the modern market.

Another important consideration is that smartphones are no longer just ‘phones’ they are powerful mini computers with hundreds of thousands of applications to choose from. Users are bound to be able to find new ways to make this little handheld computer work for them that they may not have predicted going in

iPhones – The Hottest Name in Mobile Phones

You’ve heard about them, so here’s why people love them.

  • The operating system used by iPhones, iOS, is regarded as the most intuitive of the top 3 when it comes to user interface (UI). As such many new users find it to be a great gateway in to the smartphone world.
  • iPhones tend to have fantastic cameras when compared to the rest of the market.
  • Apple controls the iPhone ecosystem, from hardware to software, to buying video, apps and games. The set up, synchronisation and massive App Store are all veasy for a new user to set up. Power users on the other hand can find limitations with Apple’s tight ecosystem.

Additionally, iOS also boasts the largest selection of applications ‘apps’ and games to choose from. The Apple App store is currently the largest distributor of software content in the world with the largest selection of products to choose from. For all the iPhone plans and models check out our iPhone plans and deals or for US users, we've got a dedicated section for you as well to compare iPhone plans and deals.

Android Operating System

Android is an open-source OS from Google that offers a lot more freedom and power to its users, but has historically had a much less intuitive interface (UI) than iOS, although the latest versions of Android 4.0 and higher (named after deserts like Jelly Bean & Ice Cream Sandwich) are a leap forward and offer power users a lot of flexibility.

The Android operating system is everywhere and there are more Android phones on the market than any other phone type with price ranges from cheap to super premium. You can compare all the Android devices by manufacturer and by price here or for US readers can compare the prices on all the Android devices by carrier here

We've also got information on getting started on the Android Operating system but the software upgrade information for each devices is something that you'll need to track from your carrier. Due to Android being available on hundreds of devices across dozens of manufacturers it’s a fairly fragmented ecosystem. Updates to the Android OS usually take months to reach devices, if they ever come at all. This is because each device has different hardware, a different manufacturer-designed UI and is usually on a different network carrier. Not only does Google have to make and distribute the update in a way that will work on as many devices as possible, each manufacturer then has to make it work with their UI. After this, each carrier that the update is pushed to has to make it compatible with their systems. This process takes a much longer time than the more tightly controlled ecosystems of Apple' iOS for iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

With Android, file transfers are amazingly simple, just plug in your phone and treat it like an external hard drive. Any supported media files will be automatically detected when the phone is removed and added to their appropriate playlists. Unsupported files will trigger a warning, these files can still be put on the phone and transported from one place to another; they simply cannot be played using the phone itself.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone (WP) is the newest of the top 3 operating systems, but younger than BB10. Its stylish and unique interface has been one of the major reasons for its success, providing a sense of class not really seen in other mainstream UIs. Like Android, WP is an OS that is supported by multiple manufacturers. Unlike with Android, however, each manufacturer is required to stick to a strict set of software and hardware guidelines. Manufacturers are also not allowed to create their own UI skins. This means that many WP devices ends up looking very similar at first glance, something that has led to many people asking “what’s the difference?” between various Windows Phone devices. Fortunately, possibly in reaction to a manufacturer's need to stick out aesthetically, the lack of design freedom with the UI has led to many Windows Phones sporting bright and unique designs.

In truth, the differences between WP device performance are often quite small when it comes to Windows Phones that are released around the same time. Screen size, screen type and processing power are good indicators of which model you should be looking at. External design and camera quality are also key factors. If you’re after a solid WP device then you shouldn’t have nearly as much trouble as if you were choosing between two or three different Android handsets. When phones are similar in many respects then their small differences are more easily spotted. As such it’s usually pretty obvious which handset you should go for, meaning that you can rest assured that you’ll get one of the best Windows Phone experiences available.

File transfer on WP is very similar to that of iOS or Android, depending on your preference. Instead of iTunes the user can use the Microsoft Zune Player. Users who prefer a more Android-centric style of data management can simply use their WP device like a hard drive. Just plug it in as if it were a USB device and manage away.

Music on Windows Phone is fantastic. AA user can create a Zune Pass/Xbox Music account. Zune Pass/Xbox Music is a subscription service run by Microsoft that users can try out for free for 14 days, after which a monthly fee is required. 

Before you balk at the price take note that for this sum you gain access to Microsoft’s entire Zune library. Every single song on the Zune Pass/Xbox Music store is available for you to download and listen to on up to 5 computers and devices. These songs will unfortunately cease to work if your subscription is terminated, but there’s still good news. Each month subscribers get 1 optional album download that is theirs to keep forever. So basically for the price of 1 album per month you get 1 album per month, plus unlimited access to millions of titles while your subscription lasts.

It’s an extremely easy and fluid service and we suggest that any WP users give the 14 day free trial a go. Just be sure to cancel that subscription once the 14 days are up if you’re not interested, as Microsoft will start charging you if you do not. Unsubscribing is easy enough, as you approach the end of the trial Microsoft should begin to email you with warnings. You can follow a link in these emails to unsubscribe.

Comparing Mobile Phone Plans

Figuring out just how big a cap you need can be tricky. That’s the whole reason we came up with our comparison algorithm; to make it easier when you need to compare mobile phone plans. It’s important to both consider how often you use your phone for calls, messaging and data as well as how much you think you’re willing to spend each month. We’ve built tools for a basic comparison and a beginners guide to mobile phone plans.

Some phone plans come with a smartphone. This can either cost an amount extra per month, or not put you out another penny depending on the phone and the plan in question. Most new top-end phones are available for between $5 and $0 extra on a $59 plan 24 month, but obviously different carriers have varying marketing strategies and each device has its own individual cost. As a result not every new smartphone will have this pricing and not every carrier will charge the same amount for a plan with a particular device.

It can be hard to figure out just how much value you’re getting out of a plan. First there’s whether or not a device is included to consider. Weighing the cost of the device if bought off-plan up against the total minimum cost of the plan itself is one way to get an idea. Mostly you’re going to want to get as large an allowance of data, calls and texts as possible for your money. Most other countries make it easy by telling you the number of texts and the amount of call-minutes you’re allowed. In Australia we unfortunately don’t have this model so we sat down and figured out a conversion model that allows you to view the number of minutes on a plan that you’ll be getting each month with a handy mobile plan visualiser

Most commonly, mobile phone plans last for 24 months, during which period you will be required a pre-set monthly minimum. Some plans go for 12 or 18 months, but these options are more expensive. Once you’ve signed up that’s it. Barring special circumstances the only way to get out of a plan is to pay it out. That means you need to pay your monthly minimum spend multiplied by the number of months left on your plan. So if you are on a $49 contract and have 10 months left then you’ll be required to pay $490 in order to cancel the contract. It’s not a particularly common occurrence that a customer will want to switch providers so badly that they’ll pay out a contract, but it does happen. If you’re having issues with your provider then you can always call up the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and ask that they look in to your complaint and contact your provider on your behalf.

Visualising the Difference

If you’re more of a visual person then we’ve put our algorithm to work in a mobile phone plan visualiser that really highlights the difference between what certain plans from the major network providers cost and what they offer. You have the option of sorting results by:

The slider to the right allows you to switch up your desired maximum monthly spend so that you can get a more accurate view of the phone plans you’re after.

You can get to the plan visualiser by clicking the ‘Visualiser’ icon in the top left of a standard plan search results screen, or you can just go directly to The Visualiser.

Start by selecting the phone that sounds most like what you want. If you don’t see one you’re after then you can either find it via a standard search, or you can click any phone and then change to the one you’re after in the next step by clicking ‘Change’ to the left of the phone image.

Choosing a Network Carrier

Choosing the right carrier is an important decision. Unfortunately it’s not a particularly simple one, either. Take one look at a web forum and you’ll see widely differing experiences and opinions from customers ranging from happy to downright enraged. This isn’t just because people have different expectations from one-another, rather it’s because the personal experience and quality of product that one person may have with a telco might be completely different to that of another with the exact same provider.

The #1 most important thing to consider when making a decision is reception in your area and the places in which you frequent. You might end up going with a telco that doesn’t have acceptable reception in your home or at your work, and then be faced with the task of switching carriers.

The easiest way to test reception is to ask around your friends and family. See what kind of service they get in your area with their telco and you should get a pretty accurate idea of what to expect.

The #1 most important thing to consider when making a decision is reception in your area and the places in which you frequent. You might end up going with a telco that doesn’t have acceptable reception in your home or at your work, and then be faced with the task of switching carriers.

Choosing a Data Plan

A data plan is the pipeline that will bring your phone to life, and both the size and the speed of the data plan will either set your phone free or hobble it. If you're getting a hot new smartphone, look for a larger data plan rather a smaller one as this will dramatically impact your experience with your phone. We suggest a data plan of at least 1GB per month with a good use of WiFi at home and at work to avoid any issues. In the US, customers can still enjoy unlimited data plans so that they won't incur any excess usage charges.

 
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