If you got a smartphone back when they were new, you might not realise quite how much you are missing out on in the latest models.With contracts that can get you a brand new handset for no upfront cost – just a monthly line rental – it could be time to sell a RIM BlackBerry Torch and replace it with an iPhone or Nokia Lumia.
These are among the most well-liked handsets currently available, thanks to their innovative features, which have left models like the Torch – some of which still feature a keyboard made of buttons, rather than a virtual touchscreen equivalent – looking old-fashioned and past their best.
On a Nokia Lumia or iPhone, the display itself doubles as the main means of interacting with the handset, while there are a host of other ways of communicating with the device.
One of the best things about modern smartphones is their ability to work in a cloud-enabled way, with documents automatically backed up to online server space, from where you can restore them if your handset becomes damaged or lost.
Their online capabilities can keep your profile safe, and make it easier to transfer to an even newer model in the future, as new handsets come on to the market.
With direct integration into some online email accounts, you can share photographs and other media directly with email contacts, or via text message, or upload them to social networks.
And the choice between Wi-Fi and 3G – or even 4G – connections means you should rarely be totally cut off from the internet, whether you have a mobile signal or not
In The Balance
If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of the sixth-sense style interface options in modern smartphones, which were absent from early models – such as the accelerometers that help to keep your screen the right way up when your handset is upside down or off-balance.
They know when they’re rotated, and which way is north; they can detect the brightness of ambient light levels, and even tell whether you are looking at your screen; they can understand what you say to them, and talk back.
And although you might not want all of those features in one handset, different manufacturers offer different blends of capabilities, meaning there’s probably a perfect model out there for you somewhere.
Best of all, upgrading your smartphone could give you access to photographic equipment that’s even better than your existing standalone digital camera, if you have one.
Again, facial recognition is built into many smartphones, and is incorporated into many of their photographic functions as well, while image stabilisation helps to steady the shot during photos and video filming.
They can also support many other forms of media, from streaming online video to digital music downloads, meaning the same single handset can serve as a phone, PDA, digital camera and MP3 player, without the need for separate single-function devices to perform each function.