By Marc Saltzman
BUYING A SMARTPHONE can be an overwhelming endeavor. Not only do you need to choose a carrier (or see if the phone you want is available
through your preferred carrier), but you must also
figure out what smartphone size is for you, the features of the operating system, as well as manufacturer and model.
To help out, here’s a simple summary of two
popular platforms available at Costco—Apple’s iOS
and Android—and some subjective thoughts on the
benefits of each.
Of all of the phones available, iPhone—which
runs Apple’s iOS operating system—is probably the
easiest to use. If you’re not very tech savvy, this one
is for you.
Simply tap an icon to launch an app (program),
or swipe left or right to see additional apps. Swipe
down to search for something or swipe up to
access the phone’s settings, such as screen brightness
Apple’s App Store has more than 1. 3 million
downloads, many of which are free or close to it.
Almost everything you download for iPhone will
work on iPad and iPod touch, too.
iPhone also works with iTunes (which you
might be using to manage media on your computer)
and iCloud (to wirelessly synchronize content
between multiple devices). Press and hold the circular Home button to talk to Siri, a voice-activated
That Home button on the latest iPhones can also
read your unique fingerprint. Called Touch ID, this
feature makes it easy to log into your phone, purchase apps and media, and more.
While there are only two new iPhones
to choose from, there are literally dozens of
Because Android is from Google, the mobile
operating system has a number of integrated
Google services already preloaded, such as Gmail
(email), Chrome (a Web browser) and Google
Maps (maps, directions and local search). The
clever Google Now feature lets you talk to your
phone like a personal assistant (like Siri), but with
your permission it also learns your patterns, such
as leaving home every day at 7: 30 a.m. for work,
and will alert you to traffic on your route and other
smart and relevant information.
Android is great for those who like to multitask.
For example, you can split your screen into two apps,
such as a video playing on top and your email open
on the bottom. Or you might opt for a picture-in-picture option, such as browsing the Web while a TV
show is playing in a small window.
At more than 1. 5 million downloads, the Google
Play store has the most apps of any mobile operating
Other factors to consider when looking for the
right smartphone include:
; If you do tasks like reading e-books or watching video (or if you simply prefer larger fonts), consider larger screen sizes. Devices like iPhone 6 Plus or
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have larger screens than
other phones, between 5. 5 and 6 inches, measured
diagonally. But keep in mind these might not fit
comfortably in a small pocket or clutch purse.
; Memory configurations range from 16 giga-bytes (GB) all the way up to 128 GB. The greater the
capacity, the more apps and media files you can store
on your phone—but the more expensive it’ll be.
While the iPhone’s capacity cannot be expanded,
most Android devices let you insert a microSD card
for extra memory. If you’re using cloud storage for
your documents and photos, you may not need lots
of internal phone memory.
; Be sure to protect your investment with a
screen shield or durable case for when (not if) you
drop your phone. You’ll need to buy a case that fits
your exact phone model, so be sure to read the info
on the box before buying. C
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Smart tips for a
new smartphone Questions about electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or mail to:
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to: 425-313-6718.
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
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phone like a p
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The Costco Connection
You can find the latest smartphones from leading
manufacturers in the Wireless Kiosk at your local
Costco and online at Costco.com (search “cell
phones”). Employees at the kiosks can provide
information on the best service plans to meet
your needs. Phone accessories are also available
on Costco.com (search “cell phones and accessories”). And you can purchase protection plans for
your new smartphone in the warehouses and at