I recently discovered that I’ve paid my debt to AT&T, honored the terms of their elaborate contract, and can embark on a new 2-year lease for one of the new, fancy phones available on the market. Or, I can switch providers and engage in a different contract that, in the end, will provide me with cell service anywhere in the USA and afford me a gaming experience beyond my wildest dreams.
So, I began shopping and doing my research in order to make the best decision possible for someone my age, with my background. Thinking that what i discovered will be useful to others, I’m going to share my thoughts about all this hoopla, and what I learned.
To put “things” into perspective, I’m 70 years old. Not your typical gamer looking for the biggest, baddest phone around that will meet my need to play Halo, or some other shooter game, while sipping a latte at Starbucks. No, I’m actually looking for a phone that that I’m less prone to drop, whose keyboard is large enough that I can actually type on, or whose voice recognition is good enough that I can simply talk to it and get things done, if I want to. I have an IT background, but that was my second career after spending the better part of 30 years in the US Navy. Just the guy you want to review your phone, right? If that’s a problem for you I’ll remind you that what I write here isn’t something you have to read. You can stop any time you wish. If you do that, however, you might miss some perfectly valid insight about the potential of this new world of communication gadgets. Or, maybe you won’t. It’s a crap shoot, so read on at your own risk.
I’ve had cell phones since they were first made available. Somewhere in the basement is a box containing a few of the flip-phones I’ve owned in the past. They all did the job just fine and I was happy with every one of them. I suspect they would still work OK if I could convince myself to be happy with GSM or EDGE service. Some of my friends still use them and we talk quite often so I know they still work.
Then, along came texting, a new way to communicate without getting instant gratification by interrupting the person you called while they are in a meeting, eating lunch, or in the bathroom. Instead, send a text that can be answered at a more appropriate time. I loved that idea even though it took me a while to rid myself of the incessant need to respond immediately so as not to offend the caller. Getting the hand of texting on a flip phone was a serious challenge that i eventually met, the the Blackberry show up with its standard QWERTY keyboard layout and the teeny tiny little buttons that I thought I’d never ever be able to hit just one of them. Happily, it turned out I could do it just fine and I learned to enjoy sharing information through text messaging.
Without drawing this out any longer than necessary, I’ll just share that I progressed through the phones with physical keyboards and into the world of smartphones with those cute little keyboards that work quite nicely. I will add that the only rendition of a smart phone I’ve ever owned is an iPhone of one version or another. I think I’ve had every version from the start and currently use an iPhone 3.
“Why,” you may ask, “are you still using an iPhone 3?” My response is, “because it still works.” Oh, I had my iPhone 4G just before the iPhone 5 was released, and was on target to get the 5, the I started dropping “things”, and cracking screens. Most of us have done that, but it took a long time before it started impacting my cellular experience. To aid in my move from the 4G, I upgraded Diane to a perky yellow 5C, took her 3 that was encased in a nifty Hello Kitty case, and gave my 4G to Jeff whose screen was in worse shape than mine. I also gave him a screen repair kit knowing he had friends with fingers more agile than his or mine. Life was good after swapping the SIMS around to get things working.
The Hello Kitty case didn’t last long. I was perfectly OK with it, but Diane felt I should have something a little more “manly”. Being a really good husband, I folded and sadly moved my phone to a new case and I’ve been using it to successfully communicate for the requisite 2 years without fail. And, I haven’t dropped it until recently. Thanks to the case, it didn’t break anything, but dropping it is a concern. I have this vision of wandering abound in Costco, or another equally large retail outlet, with a broke phone that just dropped and will not allow me to communicate with my beloved wife, Diane.
Since we actually were at Costco, I visited the phone kiosk and talked with Seth to learn to advantages of, say, a Samsung G5 over the new iPhone 6. Seth whipped out his Samsung Note 3 and gave me a dazzling exhibition of how accurate Samsung voice recognition is, and how incredibly accurate it’s ability to decipher notes jotted with a stylus and stuff the info into his contact information. He displayed another neat feature that allowed him to wake his phone up simply by talking to it. It was readily evade that he’s done this numerous times and has the spiel down pat, and that he’s a diehard Samsung Guy. He had me convinced that I should abandon the iPhone in favor of an Android unit running an OS with a cute name. I was totally hooked and called AT&T right then to cancel the iPhone 6 I had ordered the previous day. Yup, I was moving on to a platform that would do everything I asked without ever having to touch it. How convenient is that?
I couldn’t do anything about “moving on” for 24 hours from the time I cancelled my order so I had some time on my hands that I put to good use researching The iPhone 5, Samsung G5, and the new Samsung Note 4. I read dozens of reviews from analysts who switched from Android to the iPhone and from iPhone to Android all for valid reasons that fit their needs. Some were full of technical data about how good, or bad, one camera was compared to the other, but the one that resonated with me, after a long dissertation about the merits of each platform, simply said, that if the platform you’re using works for you, does what you need it to do, there’s really not a reason to change. Changing, for me, would entail learning an entirely foreign system and I’m just not inclined to do that. So, I got back online with AT&T and ordered my new iPhone 6, again. It will be here in 7-14 days. I actually toyed with the idea of getting a 6 Plus, but figured the 6 was about the perfect size for me to wrap my arthritic fingers around and engage my trigger fingers to lock it in place without fear of dropping it. The 6 Plus, though nice, would to allow me to engage the trigger fingers, however, so the 6 is it.
Now, if I’d just ignored Seth, my new phone would have been here tomorrow. Now I must wait.