I’m just going to state the obvious here. Once you’ve gotten used to owning a smartphone, there really is no going back.
A little over a year ago, I got myself the Desire, HTC’s flagship Android device. At €469, it would be the most expensive phone I’d ever owned, and therefore, the surplus would have to be thoroughly justified.
Well, after a year with the device, I can honestly say I’d never spend any money on a dumbphone anymore. If you need or want a new cell phone, don’t make the mistake of not getting a smartphone—not even if you can get a dumbphone for free as part of some carefully concocted scheme.
Vitriolic toward dumbphones, you say? Yes, I am. The reason for that is that I’ve had to send my smartphone in for repair and am now stuck with my old Samsung SGH-E870 as a backup. To say that I feel like I have been kicked back into the nineties would be an understatement. And yes, I know that sounds decadent and childish to anyone who doesn’t own a smartphone.
First, let me get this out of the way: neither the Desire, nor Android is a piece of crap. I know I’ll get the usual fanboy tripe about Apple’s build quality being superior and whatnot, just because my phone requires mending. The reality of it is: all stuff eventually breaks, especially electronics. That said, it’s not like my phone was terminally ill. It was still functional, but the Menu button had become partially unresponsive, so I figured I’d send it in and have that sorted out. That’s what warranty is for, after all. I’d also like to add that it still looks good as new after a year, which isn’t a given with modern electronics.
Warranty or not, before sending the device in, I seriously considered just using it to get a €125 rebate on a new one. With both the HTC Sensation and the Samsung Galaxy S II out there, there’s a superb choice of Android superphones right now. However, in the end, I decided the Desire was still more than adequate for my purposes—although I’m sure I’d develop new usage patterns from a new phone, and then whine about missing those if said phone broke.
But I digress. Having to go back to the seemingly ancient dumbphone has been nothing short of a pain.
As an example, to import my contacts from Android, obviously, I had to install Samsung New PC Studio—yes, that’s what it’s called—, only to find out there was no way to import a text file or whatever. Instead, I had to dig through its files to find out the data was secretly stored in a Microsoft Access database, which luckily, I could easily manipulate outside the program. And that’s before actually using the phone.
And then, of course, there’s the realization that you’ve effectively lost mobile internet access. I mean, the E870 has EDGE and a spartan web browser, but who in the right mind ever used those things? Let alone you’d actually be able to use the Internet for something worthwhile, such as looking up directions or—here’s the kicker—reading your email. And don’t even get me started on Twitter on a dumbphone. So, naturally, I’ve temporarily cancelled my Mobile Vikings data plan, since there’s just no point.
Look, I’m perfectly aware that I’m just making unrealistic demands from a device that heavily predates the one it’s meant to be replacing. My point, however, is that the immense feature set you get in return for the seemingly high price of a smartphone is easily worth it. It’s easy to lose track of how fast technology actually evolves. I did say I’d be stating the obvious.
Long story short, I’m already regretting giving up my smartphone. In hindsight, the withdrawal symptoms would easily have justified buying the Sensation or the Galaxy S II, which don’t even seem that pricey now. I’ll even go so far as to say that if the iPhone 5 sets a new price record, I’ll call it a logical move—just like getting a new smartphone every year, purely out of want rather than need.
I’ll get back to you in two to three weeks, when my Desire should hopefully be at my disposal again. There’s a good chance I’ll still trade it in for a newer model then. Money makes the world go round, after all.