A wee bit out of date (7610 is not mentioned for example) but nonetheless useful.
Step 1: Assess your needs! If you do not assess your needs you might end up spending a lot more money than you intended for features that you might not ever use. Also if you do not adequately assess your needs you might end up a device which is too complicated, that does not work as you intended it to, and it might end up causing stress and frustrations that had been unforeseen. Step 2: Upon Assessing your needs, choose two or three devices that work for you, in addition to checking out the technical specs and OS of the devices also see what sort of bundled software it comes with. Step 3: After you pick the devices look at merchant websites like Handago [http://w] that sell software for smartphones and PDAs to determine if the extra software you need you can get on the device. Step 4: Window shop! You might find a cheaper price elsewhere for the device that you intend on buying! Beware of scams though! You might try comparison shopping systems like PriceGrabber [http://osnews.pricegrabber.com] or Dealtime (in the sidebar here at NMC). Step 5: Finally, you are almost ready to make a purchase, are you absolutely sure that this is what you want? Wait for a couple of weeks, re-assess the situation, think about it again and if you decide that this is what you want, go for it! (don't forget to mail in the warranty card!!!!)
See, that's it! Getting a smartphone in 5 simple steps! Considering the fact that smartphones, without a contract, cost close to what a cheap laptop costs I would weigh the options carefully, and buy with caution. Some people think that the more a given object costs the better the craftsmanship, operation and overall value of that given object is. While I do not disagree very much with this premise, if you buy something you do not absolutely need, you end up getting a paper-weight, so why pay a lot of money for a paper-weight? It doesn't make sense, does it?