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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

AP's gift guide: 'Navigating a maze of phone, plan choices'

A salesperson pulls out a phone for a customer during the opening day of sales of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C in Hialeah. The phone's camera is among the best for everyday shots, and improvements in the 5S make it better for low-light shots, too. For $100 less, you can get an iPhone 5C without the fingerprint sensor or improved camera.

Associated Press

A salesperson pulls out a phone for a customer during the opening day of sales of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C in Hialeah. The phone's camera is among the best for everyday shots, and improvements in the 5S make it better for low-light shots, too. For $100 less, you can get an iPhone 5C without the fingerprint sensor or improved camera.

11

December

If you're surprising someone a new smartphone for Christmas … well, first of all, I'm pretty jealous of whomever they are.

But in all seriousness, those are treacherous waters to swim in. It's like giving someone a puppy as a gift: You'd better know them well, and know what you're doing, because you're making a choice they'll have to live with for years.

That being said, the Associated Press moved a pretty good outline yesterday sketching out the phones, carriers and plans you should familiarize yourself with. Anick Jesdanun makes a good call, for instance, that you're best off avoiding that tempting, cheap iPhone 4S a few carriers are offering. I love mine but it's nearly two years old now, and "it will be 4 years old by the next upgrade," the guide points out.

It's a rough guide, for sure. (There are a few other important differences between the iPhone 5s and 5c, for example, than that the 5s has a fingerprint sensor and a better camera. Its "brain" is also a much faster chip, for one thing, and that's an important consideration when you're buying a piece of tech you hope you'll still enjoy using two years from now.) But other good tips include advice on battery life, features and screen size.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 2:06pm]

    

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