Phones & Communications

Answering Machines

An answering machine is a useful appliance for the household or workplace. There are a wide variety of options and features to consider when purchasing an answering machine. Some features to consider include: remote turn-on, room monitor, pager notification, separate message boxes, and memo. If your primary mode of communication is via the telephone, then a high-quality answering machine will help you to organize your time.

The quality of recording systems has improved in the past years, making digital answering machines the industry standard. Digital technology has reduced the size of the answering machine while increasing the amount of recording space. This new technology also allows for fewer moving parts which often pose problems of possible malfunction or break down. Many answering machines today come with the option to create multiple (usually 3-4) message boxes for different people in the house or company. They often have features that enable easy screening, and quick play, for those who manage a large number of phone calls each day. Furthermore, when purchasing an answering machine it is important to consider the amount of minutes of recording time you will need. Most homes and businesses can find an efficient answering machine ranging in price from $15-60. If your corporation has a fairly high call volume, it may be necessary to upgrade to a more expensive unit.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Guide: Answering Machine Buying Guide
  2. Answering Machines Reviews: Product Reviews Comparison Reports
  3. Answering Machines - Phones & Communications - Compare Prices, Reviews and Buy at NexTag - Price -

Cell Phone Calling Plans

In today’s world, cell phones seem to be a necessity. As businesses communicate with one another and with their employees and as families communicate with each other, cell phones have become an invaluable instant communication resource. Often it is difficult to know what exactly you are buying when you get your first cell phone plan and thankfully there are many resources that will help you to be better informed in this important financial decision.

At, an article was published giving the highlights from a recent JD powers and Associates consumer survey that focused on consumer satisfaction of cell phone plans. Overall, the majority of consumers have been displeased with many factors in their cell phone plan purchasing experience. Hidden fees, unclear explanation of charges, and contract previsions are only a few of the areas consumers are grappling with. On the upside, purchasing a plan takes relatively little time (only an hour on average) according to JD Powers and Associates.

Both and have excellent comparison tools for all of the cell phone plan options that are available including detailed descriptions of what is and is not included in the plan and how much each plan costs. After settling on a few options it would be wise to consult some consumers at the forum who already have these plans to be sure there aren’t any hidden catches that will cause the purchase of a cell phone plan to be less than satisfactory.

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Cell Phone Carriers

There is a wide range of cell phone carriers a consumer has to choose from. The major national carriers include Cingular (which merged with AT&T Wireless), Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Many local or regional providers are also in existence. The choices are many and can be confusing.

in searching for cell phones and cell phone providers the internet can be helpful in sorting out exactly what you need. Each provider offers many calling plans the basis of each calling plan is the number of calling minutes. The more minutes in a plan the more expensive a plan is. Some minutes in plans may have stipulations such as only available on night and weekends. It is important to understand the amount of minutes in your plan and stipulations regarding those minutes because going over can be very pricy. Many plans will also rollover unused minutes from month to month. These calling plans will often require a contract which is often difficult to opt out of. Pre paid plans are a good alternative if you are averse from a long term contract. In order to determine how many minutes and what plans you need it is important to consider when, where, and how much you will be using your cell phone. Family plans, roaming charges, and the need for internet services are options that can be considered. It is always better to buy a plan with more minutes than you think you will use to avoid steep charges for going over the allotted minutes in a plan.

In review, the main things to look for in a cell phone provider are; what are the available feature sets (call waiting, call forwarding Bluetooth, text messaging, internet availability, etc.), what is the service area, how many minutes are available and is there good help and support available after the purchase of the plan. Most major carriers are very competitive and offer good feature sets, service area, minutes and service for as low as 39.95 per month.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Cell Phone Providers Review
  2. Reviews, Best Cell Phone Plan
  3. Cell phone buying guide: Choose a plan-CNET reviews

Cell Phone Plans

Cell phones are becoming more and more important. There are very few walks of life that are not touched by their influence. Not only are they becoming more important but they are also becoming more complicated. Phones are now cameras, planners, calculators, alarms, and much more. It is important to focus on how complicated the actual plans are and how you can sift through all the options and choose what plan fits your lifestyle best.

First you need to ask yourself a few questions: How will you be using your phone? Where will you be using the phone? How much will you use the phone? Here are a few things to think about as you try to find the right fit for you.

#1 Coverage. Pay attention to the plans coverage options. Coverage refers to the geographical area within which you plan to use your phone. If you use your phone outside of the coverage area you could get charged extra fees.

#2 Geographical area of usage. Some providers will offer three different types of plans: local, regional, and nationwide. Local areas are the smallest (the size of a large metro area) but generally offer the cheaper rates as long as you stay within the plan's boundaries. Regional are generally fairly large sometimes covering several states, but you still could get charged extra for making long distance calls to numbers outside your region. Nationwide plans are generally a little more expensive per minute but you will never be surprised by roaming or long distance fees.

#3 Usage profile. How you plan on using your phone should be taken into account when looking for a cell phone plan. If it is going to be used for personal use you will want something that is inexpensive. If it is for business you will want a plan without a lot of time restrictions, if it is just for emergencies then you could get a pre-paid plan.

#4 Time usage. How much time do you plan to spend on your phone each month? Some pre-paid plans offer less than 50 min. a month. These minutes are more expensive but there are fewer of then so this option is the cheapest. Other options range between 100-500 minutes. This is a medium range and is sufficient for everyday casual use. For those who use their phone for work, or are more social than most there are high volume plans (500-2000 minutes per month). These minutes are the cheapest but the volume makes this option the most expensive. However, some people are using their cell phones as their primary phone and this option is sometimes cheaper than the land line route.

#5 Technology difference. There are two main types of plans within this category also. Digital is the higher quality better sound that is also required if you need email or the internet on your phone. The down side to digital is that the coverage is more complex and often has holes and roaming fees. Analog is powered by radio wave technology and is less clear but is more widely used and therefore less restricted. Analog is better for rural users.

#6 Cell phone contracts. Some things to look for within a contract are how long it is, how often they allow you to change package options within that time period, and other fees and activation processes.

As you can see the phone is not the only thing that has gotten complicated. There are now so many options for cell phone plans that it is difficult to choose the right one for you. Hopefully these guidelines and websites will offer you a good research tool.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Cell Phone and Wireless Service Plan Buying Guide
  2. Free Cell Phones and Cell Phone Service - AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and more
  3. Compare Cell Phones AND Save Money With Cell Phone Plans!

Cell Phones

There are many things to consider when purchasing a phone. First you must look at what service would best suit your needs. Some examples of important specifications to consider when choosing a cell phone service could be coverage, how many people will need to be on the plan, what you will be using the phone for. Once you have chosen a cell phone carrier you're closer to choosing an actual cell phone.

When looking for phones you need to decide what is important in your every day use such as: texting, picture messages, internet access, etc. Many websites allow you to compare cell phone features which can help you decide which phones can best fit your needs.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Phone Scoop
  2. Cell Phone Buying Guide
  3. Cell Phones


A smartphone is just like the name implies: it is a cell phone, but it can do so much more. Some can have touch screens and laptop like attributes, while others offer little more than web access. It was originally used for corporate business so workers could keep track of things while on business. But average people are realizing the capabilities of smartphones. Smartphones can offer so many different capabilities, from calling people, to checking email and surfing the web, to editing spreadsheets and document files. The power of a smartphone can range from carrying a fancy phone, to holding a laptop in the palm of your hand.

When choosing a smartphone, you'll need to consider a few things. First, what are your needs? How powerful do you want your smartphone to be? What are you going to be using the phone for? If you are a hardcore business executive, then you'll want a pretty smart phone. If you don't need to edit spreadsheets and business documents, then you'll probably want to power down to a lower model. Also, look into the network you are going to be using. Some networks are better than others for different purposes. Some networks are good for surfing the web and handling the laptop features, while others don't offer such abilities.

Not all smartphones are equal. You'll need to determine your needs and what the phone will need to do for you, and then start researching.

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Two-way Radios

Two-way radios provide a means of communication over a defined distance that can range from two miles to international communication depending the radio and antenna. Two-way radios have both business and recreational use. They can be large enough to sit on a desk or small enough to fit in a coat pocket. Prices for radios vary from $10 to hundreds of dollars.

With the advancement in technology radios have become more economical and accessible to the general public. Radios have become common in many sporting and outdoor activities as well as toys for children.

When purchasing a radio an assessment of what the radio will be used for must first be done. A consumer must decide specifications such as distance capabilities, size, battery life, GPS capabilities, and price to determine what type of radio will best fit their needs.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports
  2. Buzzillions
  3. cnet reviews