Getting Smart

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post to state my interest in upgrading to a smartphone. It was giving me quite a headache but, the responses I received did help me to view my true options in a clear perspective. This week, I bit the bullet and spent some money on eBay. £200, in fact! That’s a lot to pay for a used phone but, it was sold as being reconditioned by the seller and the RRP of these phones is somewhere far and beyond £300.

Old and new.

Old and new.

It’s a Samsung Galaxy SII; one of the main competitors to the iPhone 4S, apparently. I was keeping an eye out for those but I wouldn’t have saved any money. Thinking about my experiences with my 4th generation iPod Nano and also, the words of a friend; I remembered how frustrated I’ve been by having to ‘sync’ the Apple device to my laptop. When I switched over from using my mum’s PC a few years ago, I actually lost all of the content on my iPod and had to start again from scratch. Other MP3 players store this kind of media on their hard drives, so that you can copy from the device to a computer. With Apple, it seems to be a case of ‘with us or without it all‘…

You can see the new (smart)phone sized up against my old Nokia 7230, above. That phone’s less than three-years old and still works well. It’s just not as internet-friendly or convenient as these bigger phones seem to be. Because, although they are almost impossibly thin, they are very large in the other two dimensions. It’s a necessity for browsing, blogging and interacting but, how am I going to carry this with me now? Women carry handbags; as a man, I like to keep mine in my pocket.

While I made this purchase, I needed to add a mains wall charger and USB lead to my shopping basket and, at the same time, I narrowed my selections down to two protective phone covers, which also arrived this week.

Two cases.

Two cases.

That blue one has a soft, rubber-like covering that surrounds the case, improving grip as well as protection. It also has a rather excellent screen protector. As good as job as it does at preventing scratches though, I’ve also found it makes some swipe actions less responsive, particularly when you’re looking to scroll up or down the edge of the screen. Around the middle, it’s fine.

With the leather case (which I currently prefer), you also get a stylus, which is very welcome as I don’t have long nails and I can’t yet accurately hit all of the right keys while composing a text. It’s a shame that these don’t come as standard with the hand set. My Nintendo DS (alright, it’s not a phone) even has a space for storing them inside the edge of the device. Sadly, I feel that’s lacking, here.

My concern remains though; how am I going to carry this thing? Day to day; especially while I’m busy at work. I don’t like leaving personal items unattended and, it really is too large for a front trouser pocket. My other option is to look for a case that hooks around or clips on to my belt. Back to eBay, I must go… 🙂 Jacket pockets are a good idea but then, I wouldn’t wear a jacket all of the time.

First impressions are very good. It’s going to take some getting used to, without all the keys I’ve been familiarised with for the past twelve-years. It seems quite slick and the internet seems to respond like a lightning flash, compared to my old Nokia. Already, I’ve swiped and selected the wrong icons but, I’m confident this is something I’ll get used to.

I’ve been with Vodafone ever since my first phone and, since January, I switched from Pay As You Go to a rolling, monthly contract sim, which works out much cheaper for long, regular phone calls and hundreds or thousands of texts. I didn’t include the internet then but, I need to know. Signal strength in this area isn’t always brilliant but, having tried a spare sim card from 3 Mobile, I can say that one’s not a lot better. So, I think I’ll be looking to upgrade my current contract sim, as long as it’s not ridiculously expensive…

Well, it can’t be any worse than the £30 (double) I seem to pay each month now, with regular e-mail checks during lunch breaks at work.

I do believe that this is the most efficient way to buy a smartphone. Okay, there may be variables if you’re going for a brand-new model at a higher price but, if I signed up to a new contract paying, say, £30 a month to get a ‘free’ phone then, that’s an extra £15 each month, equating to £180 each year… That’s not far off what I’ve payed. But then, with a Christmas bonus arriving soon, I can just about afford it. 😉 I don’t see this as potentially having any effect on my blogging. At best, it might encourage me to use Twitter more often.

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