Are you ready to switch to a new smartphone for your business, buy your first business smartphone for your startup or invest in smartphones for your team? Here’s what you need to know to make a smart decision.

First, consider what you and your employees need a smartphone to do. Will it primarily be used for email or texting? What about making actual phone calls? Are there specific apps you want to install? Do you want the same platform as most of your customers or your team? Assess what you like (and don’t like) about your current business phone or your personal smartphone.

When choosing a smartphone for business use, here are the top factors to consider:

Size. Before Apple came out with the iPhone 6 Plus, there were plenty of smartphone users who swore by their large-sized Androids. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is still voted the best overall smartphone by Laptopmag.com. Large smartphones (over 5.1 inches) have bigger screens and easier on-screen typing, but can be bulky and cumbersome to carry. The standard-sized smartphone is 4.5 to 5.1 inches. If you prefer a compact-sized smartphone (below 4.5 inches), you can still have the functionality of a smartphone in an easier-to-carry size.

Platform. Once you choose a size, you need to decide on a platform you’ll be happy with. You could start with your business’s operating system and get a compatible smartphone, but that is certainly not a requirement. The market for smartphones is almost evenly split between iOS and Android users, and every system has its plusses and minuses, as any long-time user can tell you. Here is a closer look:

  • Android users tout the phones’ flexibility to be customized to individual needs and preferences. You can customize everything about the Android interface, from what the icons look like to the fonts you see. Plus, because there are so many manufacturers of Android phones, a wide variety of choices at different price points are constantly being released.
  • Apple’s iOS operating system for the iPhone is known for its intuitive interface and variety of high-quality apps. The platform works across all Apple products, so compatibility is a no-brainer. Finally, the iOS is a more secure operating system because Apple inspects and validates every application posted to the iOS App Store before they're made available to the public. When combined with the restrictions preventing apps from accessing the operating system directly, this essentially keeps any virus or malware from infecting your phone.
  • If you really like using Windows for your business, consider the Windows Phone, which comes with mobile versions of Word, Excel and Internet Explorer.
  • While BlackBerry phones have long been known for their email abilities and are popular in the corporate world, slipping sales mean the future of these phones isn’t clear. In fact, BlackBerry has announced plans to make its latest software offerings available on iOS, Android and Windows phones and tablets.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Whether you buy your smartphone from a retail store or online, it’s important to actually feel the weight of the phone and test the buttons and keyboard.
  • Tell the salesperson how often you will be using your phone and for what purpose. He or she can offer insights into the features of various phones.
  • If you’ll be running a lot of apps, you’ll need longer battery life and more storage than the basic 16GB.
  • Find out what the support options are for your new smartphone. Whether you buy a long-term care/insurance plan or are content to get answers to most of your questions online, you want to be sure you can get help when you need it.
  • Make sure you can get your phone repaired locally in case of a problem, and don’t have to send it away for repair. Most small business owners can’t function without their smartphones for long.
  • Get opinions from fellow business owners and read reviews from different sources, including expert reviewers as well as individual users.

Because most contracts last two years, picking a smartphone isn’t something you want to rush into without doing your research. Getting stuck with a poor choice could cramp your style and your business. 

Smartphone