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Get smart

I ALWAYS scoffed at people with smartphones, branded them pretentious. An iPhone? Why do you need 24-hour internet access? How self important.

I've been rocking my very basic brick for the past year-and-a-half and have never made one complaint. Sure, it doesn't have a video camera, internet access or any kind of photo quality to boast about, but it does the basics — and it only cost €60.

Isn't that what phones are for? Calls and texts are the bread and butter of the mobile phone. But thanks to the wonders of social networking, a phone really is more than a phone now — it's an extension of you. And frankly, I'm beginning to think I may be worth more than €60.

What's the point in having a designer bag if you don't have a phone of equally impressive stature to match it? Sure, you may not be able to eat for the rest of the month, but groceries are overrated anyway.

My phone has often been the subject of mockery, but it has never let me down, even though I constantly let it down — by dropping it, losing it or throwing it in the bottom of my bag. You can't do that with a smartphone, it needs to be cared for, nurtured.

This was already sounding like more work than I was hoping for. As a self-confessed technophobe, I was sent to investigate the ‘what's what’ of the handheld technology industry. So, I am off on an online shopping expedition thanks to Vodafone, the home of the smartphone, with an impressive website catering for its shoppers’ needs. And I'm guided through the experience by one of Vodafone's leading experts, who assures me that it's not as complicated as it might look.

Checklist

I get the opportunity to experience each phone, play around with it and decide which one works best for me. Using the new Smartphone Selector, I scroll through the smartphones available with a checklist asking me what options I'm looking for.

According to my application, it makes four suggestions for my needs — do I want an Android, a BlackBerry Torch or a Samsung Galaxy Tab? I feel as if suddenly I'm in some sort of cruel game show, ‘There are four phones before you, choose wisely — or else.'

As a loyal PC user I think I’ve found the phone that can accommodate my transition to super intelligent mobile user as easily as possible, an LG Optimus 7. The phone is essentially Microsoft's answer to the iPhone — simple, easy to use and, quite frankly, pretty to look at.

No need to get used to new buttons, layout and tools I've never even heard of before, the tile format is clear and, after getting a mini-tutorial in how to use it, I realise it covers all my mobile needs.

It is essentially a mini-laptop boasting easy to customise backgrounds, endless apps, a gaming marketplace and a GPS. Some of these I might even use.

More importantly, it caters for the incredibly lazy with its neat and accessible layout. I feel more at home with it already. Your Facebook, Twitter, contacts book and Gmail are right in front of you. Finally, it can simultaneously update your social networking sites, boasts a five-megapixel camera and the ability to stream HD video to an HD TV via Wi-Fi.

Where do I sign up?


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