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Do I need a smart phone?
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Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
Do I need a smart phone? on 08/18/2011 18:16:16 MDT Print View

I'm up for an upgrade on my current phone, which I want to replace. I was considering just going with a basic phone; I don't text, don't need a camera. I already have an MP3 which I use to download NPR podcasts that I can't hear in my car due to poor reception in my area, and a gps which I seldom use, and compass/maps and a weather radio (albeit without radar graphics). I'm not tech ignorant, but I'm a big fan of simple. Having said that, do those of you with smart phones find any really good reason to own one irrespective of the above features? I can't see myself surfing the web on a small screen unless it was a necessity. Am I totally missing the boat by not buying one? Am I just being a crumudgeon? It will be another two years before I would be eligible for another upgrade.
Thanks for your comments.

Edited by leighb on 08/19/2011 05:11:32 MDT.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
re: smart phone on 08/18/2011 18:38:41 MDT Print View

Well, I just upgraded to a "smart" phone. It's more hassle to use as a phone than my old phone-only one, I must say, as well as the battery life being considerably shorter. I have to punch several buttons just to redial a number, rather than flipping it open and pressing "call". And I can't use my old plug-in earpiece; the hole for the plug is larger on this one, only intended for headphones for listening to music. I think I can't set it to hide my ID when I call like I could on my old phone. Also I am paying more per month for my contract. If you don't think you'll use the apps, it may not be worth getting one.

(end of rant)

On the plus side, it will give you more time to learn the technology on what seems to be the wave of the future, since they seem to be phasing out the old non-smart phones. My T-mobile store only had a couple of those available.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Do I need a smart phone? on 08/19/2011 12:42:34 MDT Print View

If you do buy a "smartphone" realize that your plan may well have to go up to adjust for it - and you will auto need a package for bandwidth. It isn't a huge jump per month but there you go!

Having said that....I use my phone quite a bit, it is an extension of me. My mini-computer if you will. On surfing the web, that is where apps come in - they are designed for a phone's screen :-)

OTOH my brother hates borrowing my phone to make a call - his complaint is "why is making a simple call so hard?" ;-) He has big hands that mash little keys.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Smart phone on 08/19/2011 13:10:27 MDT Print View

Yes, you are totally missing the boat if you don't buy one. I am not really even kidding about this. I think that if you want to be in communication with young people and want to be a part of the culture in the next 10 years, you have to have one. I think its a huge part of both the present and the future. You'll be amazed at what you are missing, and its at your fingertips all the time. An iphone is pretty straight forward to use; wait for the 5th generation coming out soon. And if you know anyone younger than 40, learn to text.
It's kind of like asking, 10 years ago, if you really need internet service.

David Roach
(DRoach) - F

Locale: North America
Depends on 08/19/2011 13:32:56 MDT Print View

If you aren't going to use it as a smart phone the extra cost isn't worth it. If you can stomach the extra $30-40 a month and like playing with apps it definately worth it. GPS apps alone are worth it to me. Music apps are great for driving. I can even watch Netflix!

There's an app for that!

Posted from my DroidX

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
iphone on 08/19/2011 13:38:29 MDT Print View

As with much new technology, its hard to know what you are missing until you have it. Its kinda like an swiss army knife that is SUL. You can really have so many useful things in one little convenient packet. You will use a gps, mp3, camera, and other things you know about because they are always handy and useful. You will also likely learn to use a lot of other apps you had no idea you were missing.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Do I need a smart phone? on 08/19/2011 13:49:24 MDT Print View

Best of both worlds.

We purchased a no-contract phone with Virgin Mobile which has the Android OS on it as well as GPS etc. The plans recently went up but are still quite low compared to the major carriers. It's $35/month with unlimited data/text and 300 minutes of talk but the phone is at an unsubsidized price anywhere from 150-200 depending on the promotions of the week. The coverage is ok in most mid-size or greater cities but we lose coverage often on road trips or in the boonies. I think I'm going to get another no-contract daily use phone with Verizon to keep in the car for when I need to have coverage for emergencies/accidents etc. Their daily plans vary but for 100/year they only deduct 1/day on the days you use it.

EDIT: Other regions have Metro PCS and other non-major carriers who offer similar no-contract pricing.

Edited by cobberman on 08/19/2011 13:50:19 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: On plans on 08/19/2011 14:08:09 MDT Print View

I might add that I don't carry a contract but this is how I did it:

Previously in life I had run out of my contract years ago on Verizon and was that way for years but felt hampered by the phones so -
1) We bought me a SIM card from AT&T
2) I have an unlocked World Phone that belongs to me (meaning that it can take rented SIM cards in Europe as well)
3) I pay a monthly bill of course to AT&T but being that all I needed was the SIM card no contract is needed.
4) Lets just say this isn't preferable for some people due to the cost for the phone, for me it wasn't an issue as the phone was free to me to use and was new. Still, even if I had to buy a phone I would buy an unlocked phone for the freedom you get. Sure you might spend a bit more but it is worth it.

It used to be that Verizon had the better service in the boonies here in the PNW but AT&T has chipped away at that in the past couple years. And on texting? It has its points. For example if you send a text it is in the system and when you hit a tower (even with phone off) it gets sent to the recipient. I talk to my husband this way quite often when I am traveling.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
+1 on the iPhone on 08/19/2011 15:07:40 MDT Print View

Well, the question isn't so much whether you need a smart phone or whether you want one.

Lately, I've been using mine for multiple purposes that required me to carry other stuff:

1. maps (including a star-mapping program) and trail descriptions

2. books

3. music

4. a movie or two and a few Monk episodes for those nights I can't sleep

5. oh, yes, as a phone

The big problem is recharging. Mine is in a battery recharge case, and that extends the life of the battery by about 2x.

The think is, I don't really need any of the things above, except maybe the maps (and I tend to minimize their weight when I carry them separately anyway), but they do make the trip considerably more pleasurable, especially on those long, lonely nights when sleep will not come. The fact is, if you hike in the wild where nobody provides phone service, you probably won't use the phone anyway. Sometimes, I'll call home to check in as I'm losing phone service, and then hide the phone in my car, and leave it there. The minimalist in me doesn't want the phone, and I go out to escape the issues that the phone reminds me of. The thing seems like a burden most of the time.