How to Choose a Smartphone Guide: Connectivity

Posted on Oct 31 2013 - 10:45am by Giancarlo Perlas

How to Choose a Smartphone Guide Connectivity

So far, we have tackled the topics about how to choose a Smartphone processor, storage options and display in the following series of articles:

The common aim of these articles is to impart you with the knowledge on how to be able to get the ideal Smartphone that will cater to your preferences and needs.

The next important element that you have to consider when choosing a Smartphone is Connectivity. This feature enables the hardware of your Smartphone to be able to connect to various service providers and to other devices.

There are different connectivity options available for Smartphone nowadays. The current technology that we have today offers 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi and GPS. So, basically, these are the things that will be explained here.

2G

2G stands for second-generation wireless telephone technology. This is the most basic since it only enables a phone to make or accept calls and send or receive SMS. An example of a technical specification of a 2G network is this, “GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900”.

Based on the given example, it means the phone can connect to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network within the four frequency ranges which were specified. Then, since it has the capability to connect to up to four frequencies, this is considered to be a quad band.

Again, this is the most basic, thus, current Smartphones have no trouble connecting to a network that offers 2G technology.

3G

3G or the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology offers Internet connectivity in addition to the features offered by 2G. With this, you will be able to check emails, browse websites, download applications and perform other activities that require Internet connection.

The indication of the frequencies that it supports is presented similar to GSM. But instead of using the term GSM, it uses HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access). For example, “HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100”.

Also it presents the maximum amount of data that it can transfer per second in terms of downlink and uplink. For example, “HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps”. Note that HSUPA stands for “High-Speed Packet Access”.

However, that the amount of data that you can download or upload is still dependent on your carrier. If your carrier only offers a data transfer speed which is less than what your device offers, you will not be able to fully enjoy the maximum allowed data transfer rate indicated in your Smartphone’s technical specification.

4G/ LTE

4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications techlogy while LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”. So far, this is the latest technology used by Smartphones today. It combines all the features of 2G and 3G technologies and it boosts them to provide a data transfer rate that can go beyond 100 Mbps.

An example of a technical specification that offers a 4G/ LTE connectivity is “LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 1700 / 2100”.

But then again, be reminded that you will not be able to fully enjoy the 4G connectivity of your device if your network only offers a data transfer speed lesser than what your device can hold.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi allows any computing or communication device to connect through a wireless local area network. When buying a Smartphone, make sure that it has the capability to connect to Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi connectivity will give you the option to connect to any Wi-Fi Hotspots in your area which will save you a lot of money later on. This is because instead of using the data allowance provided by your carrier all the time (which is usually very limited and expensive), you can just tap to any Wi-Fi source and browse the Internet or download data all you want.

Here is an example of a Wi-Fi technical specification of a Samsung Galaxy S4, “Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz), DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot”.

In the given example, it shows the Wi-Fi networks supported by the Galaxy S4. Then, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard multimedia streaming technology which lets your Smartphone share multimedia files with other compatible devices. Next, Wi-Fi Direct means the Smartphone can set up a device-to-device wireless connection. Lastly, Wi-Fi Hotspot means the Smartphone can serve as a Hotspot or Wi-Fi provider to other devices.

GPS

GPS or Global Positioning System is a space-based satellite navigation system. It allows the user to determine his exact location on Earth, see the exact time of his area, get information on the weather and to get map directions. This is definitely a very handy feature for travelers and people who need directions from time to time.

Watch Out for the Next Topic

The next thing that we will discuss is Operating System. Be sure to read it as well, so you will be able to get the Smartphone that is ideally made for you.

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About the Author

A proud dad who loves peanut butter and writing about things related to gizmos, mixed martial arts and other geeky stuff related to science.