How Do I Choose the Best WiFi® Phone?

Rebecca Mecomber

A WiFi® telephone, or wireless phone, allows exceptional flexibility and cost savings for mobile and Internet communications. When choosing the best WiFi® phone, first consider your personal needs. Some WiFi® phones are specially designed for instant messaging or texting, and others are suited for web browsing and checking the daily online news. The best WiFi® phone offers form as well as functionality, fitting in your hand comfortably and displaying a clear, readable screen. WiFi® cell phone models usually are restricted to particular cellular carriers offering lengthy contracts, so be sure that you are comfortable with the carrier, the WiFi® phone cost and the services that are offer before you choose a phone.

A WiFi touchscreen smartphone may allow for more convenience and variety.
A WiFi touchscreen smartphone may allow for more convenience and variety.

A WiFi® phone is a cell phone that can automatically and seamlessly switch between cellular networks and wireless local area networks (LANs), such as home or office wireless networks or public wireless "hotspot" networks. The WiFi® phone was originally designed to prevent "drop-outs," or interruptions in the cellular radio frequency signals caused by interference from buildings and other objects. The inception of the smartphone in the mid-2000s brought Internet capability and web browsing to the cell phone. Modern WiFi® phones might sport illuminated touchscreens, elaborate numerical keypads and slide-out qwerty keyboards. Usually, the more technological the device, the more expensive the device and accompanying phone service, so take the expensive high-tech features into consideration when choosing the best WiFi® phone.

Wifi phones may come at a discount when a family adds extra lines to their plan.
Wifi phones may come at a discount when a family adds extra lines to their plan.

Most modern cell phones are equipped with browsers and email capability, but if you want to update your status on social networking sites, read online news magazines or watch online videos, a WiFi® touchscreen smartphone with small software programs called apps might suit your style. Wireless access on WiFi® phones is free of charge if the wireless network is free, but if you stray from the wireless signal, your WiFi® phone will default to your cellular carrier's network signal. Charges, either flat monthly fees or fees based on usage, typically are incurred for Internet access on cellular networks.

When choosing the best WiFi® phone for your needs, consider the size, shape and weight of the device. The phone should fit comfortably in your hand and open easily. Avoid WiFi® phones that have inexpensive plastic hinges, because they can break easily. If you tend to be careless with your hands, abstain from phones that have slippery, shiny plastic housing, or purchase a rubbery case if possible. WiFi® phone manufacturers usually offer one-year guarantees against defects, but those typically do not cover damages caused by dropping the phone.

Consumers demand faster and faster service, so cellular carriers regularly develop new technology for speedier networking and service. In choosing the best WiFi® phone, try to select a phone that has the newest technology and wireless speed. If you choose a phone that has older technology, it could limit your services and level of customer support, especially if carriers and networks abandon that technology in favor of newer technology.

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Discussion Comments


What are the brands of wifi phones and where can you get them? Can you buy a wifi phone without a contract? Can you text or have internet on the wifi phones?

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