The ultimate mom phone – part II – top contenders

The ultimate mom phone – part II – top contenders

Last Friday we listed the must-have features of a good mom phone. Today, let’s look at the top 3 platform contenders for the title of Ultimate Mom Phone: iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.

All 3 smartphone platforms let you use apps (even Skype), access the Internet and email, send texts, take and upload pictures, and offer easy typing. Choosing the ultimate mom phone may come down to your personal preference for things such as keyboard, camera quality, and mobile phone carrier. Either way, here are some things you should know about each before you select your ultimate mom phone.

iPhone

Most moms seem to recommend the iPhone. The iPhone touchscreen format is super easy to use, which gains top marks with moms. And the multitude of apps plus integrated Apple platform (with iTunes) makes it a familiar part of your entire media package if you use an Apple computer and iPod for your tunes already. Even the camera turns out more beautiful photos than I’ve seen on any other phone.

But buying the latest model can be expensive and monthly service is available only through AT&T subscription plans. The next iPhone model (iPhone5) is due out sometime this year, so maybe wait a bit and get that one? Or look for a deal on the current model? I’ve heard the next one will have better battery life, which may help do away with the irritatingly short battery life that frustrates some current iPhone mom users.

Blackberry

Most carriers seem to have Blackberry models available, so if switching to AT&T is not an option, consider one of 2011’s top-rated Blackberry models that may be available with your carrier of choice.

My husband has a Blackberry for work, and I like the smooth operation. It has apps, Skype, and his battery is still going for 2 days at a time, even after using the phone nonstop for months. Working moms may find the Blackberry to be the ultimate mom phone, especially if they’re using Outlook to sync emails from work.

If Gmail or another personal email account is your primary active email account, you might not experience the ease of use you hoped for, though. And although apps are available, many Blackberry users have complained of a cumbersome download process and lack of family-related apps.

Android

Droids come in many shapes and are offered by many different carriers, giving a bit more flexibility than the iPhone. You can find models with touchscreens and/or full QWERTY keyboards.

But the problem then becomes Which Droid? You also need to have a Google (Gmail) account, considering that this platform comes to us via Google. If you’re already an avid Google fan, you may find this actually simplifies your life in the same way an iPhone works so well for Apple fans. Note that many moms who have used iPhone and then switched to Android did not feel the same affinity for their new cell phones.

Choosing between Android and Blackberry

If your heart is not set on the iPhone, it may be well worth checking out Droid and Blackberry options with your carrier of choice. If you are not under an obligation to a particular carrier, MetroPCS offers contract-free Droids and Blackberries from $40 – $60/month, with texting, web access, email and voice included. The only thing is, they don’t seem to have all the kinks ironed out just yet (see CNET user reviews).

You will still have to decide which platform works for you. See here the details Jared DiPane calls out when he switches from Blackberry to Android, providing eye-opening clues into what you can expect from using either of these platforms.

Not sold on using a smartphone? Try calculating the cost

If you’re not sure you need all the latest gadgets in your mom phone, try seeing how much it will cost you over the typical 2-year contract period. If the number just doesn’t sound worth it, maybe a smart phone isn’t for you.

Wilson Rothman offers a handy comparison of the true cost of a smartphone over a two-year period at MSNBC.com. While the prices compared are from last summer, you can see exactly how you have to break it down to see the real cost of the phone you choose. Hint: don’t get sucked in by a cheaper upfront cost of a handset, because the real clincher is the monthly fees you’ll pay over the two-year contract.

Not sure you even need the Ultimate Mom Phone? See our next post on why some moms go the old-fashioned route of voice only (well, maybe some texting, too).

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