You know what it's like, you're searching Ebay for a bargain mobile phone when you get hit with a barage of jargon leaving you confused and unsure what you are buying.
Phone's have come a long way since the days of just being used for phone calls, and I'm sure a lot of people would admit that they don't understand their phones full capability.
This guide aims at breaking down some of that jargon for you and clear things up about what's right for you.
We'll start with the simple ones...
Handset - This is the actual phone...
Brand - Which company manufactures the phone, Nokia, Samsung & Motorola tend to be the most listed
Model - Manufactuers give each handset a model number, there's no easy way to describe this for you as there are thousands of models out there. Model numbers are like Nokia 6230 or Samsung D600. Sometimes there may be an i after the number, to use the example of the Nokia 6230, the 6230i is more advanced/upmarket
Network/Operator - This is your 'host'. Just like landlines have companies like BT & NTL, mobiles have companies like T-Mobile, o2, Vodafone, Orange...
Wall Charger - A cable that has two fixings, one end you have the plug that goes into your wall sockets and the other end is a connector allowing the cable to be inserted into your mobile to charge the phones batteries. I'm not sure about other makes but any Nokia charger can be used on any Nokia phone.
Text Message/SMS - This is the basic form of messaging on your phone. In a way it's like an e-mail. It is commonly used when you just need to leave a short message or you don't want to talk to somebody! SMS stands for standard messaging service.
Sim Card - This is the name for the small card that is inserted into your phone (underneath the battery). This is what designates your phone number, operator and also where the majority of your contacts and messages will be stored.
Bluetooth - Bluetooth is a modern application and isn't available on all mobiles. Newer models tend to have this application included. Bluetooth allows you to connect to another bluetooth enabled phone that is in close proximity to you. This can be used for sending picturs and such free of charge. Bluetooth is also handy for speaking hands free. You can buy bluetooth headsets which link to your phone, enabling you to answer and talk on the phone without holding the handset. The handset must be kept fairly close to whatever you are connected with or you will lose your connection. Remember, bluetooth is free!
EMS - EMS means enhanced messaging service. It is a system that has evolved from the standard sms messaging you may be used to. It allows standard ringtones and graphics to be sent to and from phones.
MMS - This means multimedia messaging service. MMS allows you to send colour images, graphics and audio files like polyphonic ringtones along with your text messages.
Polyphonic Ringtones - Polyphonic comes from the word polyphony, meaning "many sounds". Music that has many notes sounding together, either in a chordal, or countrapuntal setting. Polyphonic ringtones vary in specification from phone to phone, but all polyphonic phones support the playing of more than one note together, so your ringtone is generally more musical.
Monophonic Ringtones - These are your bog standard ringtones and are mainly for older phones. They provide a ringtone as if it were being played by a piano. They are very limited as to what they can play.
Realtone - As the name suggests these are the actual real life tone. If you have this feature you can add your favourite song and enjoy it in all its glory. Unlike the previous two, realtone allows words to be used in the ringtone.
Screensaver - When your mobile hasn't been actively used for a certain amount of time a screensaver will appear. You can turn this feature off if you wish.
Wallpaper - Not available on some older phones. Just like your home computer, the desktop page can accommodate a wallpaper. These are generally used for personalisation and are certainly not essential.
WAP - Wireless Application Protocol. WAP is an agreed standard that allows your phone to access the internet. Supported by almost every modern phone.
GPRS -General Packet Radio Service. GPRS is a data upgrade for GSM networks, allowing a data transfer rate of up to 115kps. Now being used for MMS messaging by some networks. Basically it enables you to download items such as ringtones and wallpapers to your phone. GPRS means you are charged per size/duration of your download.
GSM - Global System for Mobile Communications. A digital cellular standard used throughour Europe and now popular in most parts of the world. The standard used three frequency bands, 900mhz, 1800mhz and 1900 mhz. In the UK GSM usually relates to the GSM900 band as this came first with Vodafone and Cellnet (now o2). See GSM100 below.
GSM1800/PCN/DSC1800 - Various names for the same technology. GSM1800 is a digital standard using the 1800mhz band. In europe the GSM1800 band was addies in most countries affter thet GSM900 slots were sold, and is used by the newer providers like Orange & T-Mobile. Coverage used to be limited to major cities, however now coverage is usually just as good, or as in some cases better than the GSM900 networks.
Dual Band/Triple Band - Dual and triple (TRI) band phones started to appear in the late 90's when roaming started to become a realistic proposition. Dual band phones usually allow your phone to work on networks in the GSM900 and GSM1800 bands, allowing you to use your phone in most countries worldwide. The exception is the USA, where you need a TRI band phone to roam as the GSM standard in the states is GSM1900. Even then in remote areas you may find GSM1900 is not yet supported as the USA is a big place, and GSM networks are better suited to densekt populated areas. So if you;re planning to roam throughout the USA you may be better off buying a pre-paid package such as virgin mobile on a CDMA network for more coverage than a tri band phone can offer at the time of writing.
Roaming - Roaming allows you to use your mobile phone on other networks other than the one you pay for. Usually quite expensive, but very handy when you are on your holidays and want to make someone a little jealous.
Built-In-Camera - A number of phones now have a camera as an integral part of the phone. This built-in-capability allows youto take photos without habing to carry an addition camera to your phone.
Java Games - Java is the technology that lets you download and store games on your phone.
IMEI Code - The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit code ues to identify individual GSM mobile phones.The IMEI can be displayed on most phones by dialing *#06# . Also, it is usually prited on your mobile phone underneat the battery.
Unlocking - When you unlock you mobile you can use it on any network. E.G. If you go into a phone shop (let's use o2 as an example) and buy a phone from them, upi will get an 02 simcard etc. if you unlock your phone you can then use it on many different networks
Blocking - Blocking usually occurs when a phone user has entered an incorrect pin code 3 or more times.. Blocking is in place to safeguard phones if they are stolen. If your phone is blocked you must contact your network provider.
Call Divert - getting your calls divetted to another number. This number can be for a mobile, landline or simply your voicemail.
Megapixel - A megapixel (that is a million pixels) is a unit of imagine sensing cpacity in a digital camera. (A pixel - a word invented from 'picture element'" - is the basic unit of programmable colour on a compuer display or image). In general, the more megapixels the camera is the ther better quality of photos. A digital camera with a 1.3mp resolution will print good quality 4 x 3 inch print at 300dpi (dots per inch)
MP3 - MP3 is an increasingly popular way to store audio in an electronic format. The MP3 format compresses audio files in such a way that the file size is relatively small, but the song sounds near perfect. You can identify MP3 because they end in the ".mp3" extension. Typically 1MB is equal to one minute of music.
Fascia - These are the covers for your mobile phone. Some phones allow these to be customised by purchasing fascia's in different colours or with logo's on them.
USB - USB is one of the ways you can connect your phone to your PC. There are lots of these cables for sale on ebay.
That's all I can think of at the moment, I hope this has been some help to you. If you have any further questions or would like to add anything get in touch.
Good luck choosing your phone!