A smartphone not only makes calls and allows access to the web, but it can also connect to your laptop.
1 iPhone v Android
There are two main smartphones systems – iPhones and Android phones. Androids (made by Samsung, HTC, Sony and others) offer more choice and are generally cheaper, while iPhones are a little more beginner-friendly. BlackBerrys are almost defunct while Nokia smartphones, which run Microsoft Windows, have a small niche.
2 Free calls and texts
Download Skype or Viber (free) from the App Store (or Android Play Store) for free calls (to other Skype and Viber users). Download Whatsapp (free) for free texts to other Whatsapp users.
3 Internet machines
Your smartphone not only makes calls and accesses the web itself, it can also connect to your laptop or tablet. Just open 'settings', and click 'personal hotspot' or 'wifi hotspot'. Make sure your plan gives at least 1GB monthly data if you want to sometimes do this. 4 'Phablets'
Android smartphones often have bigger screens than iPhones – as much as twice the size. Sometimes called 'phablets' (half-phone, half-tablet), these are generally better for internet use and social media.
5 Three smartphones worth their salt
Here are three phones I recommend. High-end: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (great screen, power and battery life; from €650 prepay). Medium: iPhone 4S (easy to use, great for music accessories; from €350 prepay). Budget: Motorola Moto G (very good performance for the money; from €150 prepay).