Know your megapixels
Unlike the VGA cameras of the past, which offered only 0.3 megapixels (MP) of resolution, 2MP is quickly becoming the standard for new camera phones. Although, we should note that youll still find a fair share of cell phones with integrated 1.3MP cameras. Higher resolution means a larger image, which allows you to do more with your pictures, including printing 4x6 prints and performing basic editing tasks. Some cell phones are pushing the megapixel envelopethe Nokia N95, for example, includes a 5MP camera, on par with the average digital camera.
Additional megapixels dont necessarily translate into better-looking photos; that depends on the cameras sensor. A higher megapixel count mostly means you can print larger photos without degrading the quality of the image. With a 2MP camera, you should be able to print a 4x6 picture without creating extra pixilation (i.e. blurriness). A 5MP camera should produce decent-looking 8x10 prints that you might even consider framing.
Picture messaging/wireless data plan
Sharing is funand costly. AT&T Wireless, for example, charges 25 cents for each picture and video message you send or receiveplus additional charges for files over 300KB. Those charges can quickly add up over the course of a month.
If you plan to e-mail or upload your pictures to your carriers picture messaging service frequently, youll want to invest in a wireless data plan. You get unlimited incoming and outgoing messages if you subscribe to AT&Ts Picture & Video Messaging service.
If your carrier doesnt offer a plan specific to picture messaging or include picture messages (MMS) in a text messaging plan (these can usually be found in unlimited plans or multimedia-centric plans), you can opt for your carriers basic data plan offerings, which charge various prices depending on how many messages you send or how much data you use in a month. Determine how many photos you plan to send each month and figure out how much that would cost without a data plan. Based on that figure, choose the plan thats right for you. We know this isnt an easy task, but you can always adjust messaging plans without having to renegotiate contracts. Messaging plans are usually referred to as features and therefore do not require a plan upgrade or extension to change them periodically based on your needs. If you regularly upload pictures to your Flickr account, you may find that an unlimited plan is your best option.
A USB data cable provides the simplest way to move photos from your phone to your computer, where you can store, edit, print, and share them. Ideally, your camera phone will come with a data kit. But its more likely that youll have to purchase one separately (unless your camera phone is a smartphone). Also keep in mind that some cell phones require additional software for USB transfers (this software is usually included with a data kit).
If youd rather not fiddle with a cable, Bluetooth delivers wireless image transfers to a PC (if your PC doesnt support Bluetooth, you can add a USB Bluetooth adapter). Its also essential for quickly and easily sharing pictures with other cell phones. Furthermore, Bluetooth can also greatly simplify printing (see What You Can Do With Your Camera Phone for more details).
But just because your phone includes Bluetooth doesnt mean it supports everything Bluetooth can do. If you want wireless printing, for example, make sure your phone supports the Bluetooth Printing Profile (BPP).