The smartphone saga

Posted on December 3, 2014


old phone to  new smart phone


I have decided to enter the 21st century and buy a smart phone. I really, really wanted the new and super cool iPhone 6, but my cheapness, er common sense, prevailed.   Before this, I had a TracFone, which isn’t fun or sexy, but it is dirt cheap and does the trick. After all, I only use my phone for emergencies.

As I am out and about at my conferences, I am hearing loud and clear that mobile devices are the hot things. According to Google and Ipsos, over 46 percent of consumers research purchases on smartphones. Of course 47% of users say they use their smartphone most for checking the weather. Mmm, maybe these same folks check the weather and then decide to do some mobile online shopping for appropriate weather wear?

Anyway, here’s my story of the smartphone.

Step 1: The beginning.

Finally(!) decide that I will get a smartphone. Start to do research online, but quickly stop doing research because there are so many phones and plans it all blurs together.

Step 2: The search.

Decide that I need to hold a smartphone in my hand. I start out at Best Buy. The salesperson highly recommends a Sprint plan with a Sharp Aquos phone. Okay, I have heard of Sprint, but I have never heard of the Sharp Aquos. It turns out to be a fairly new phone. Aye, but the catch here is that Aquos uses “direct wave technology” for the sound, meaning the entire screen vibrates in your ear. Sounds interesting, but it doesn’t work too well in reality, according to the reviews.

The sales rep was helpful when I asked about the Sprint network. Helpful in the sense that she confirmed it was available where I live. I get home and dig deeper, only to find out Sprint has one of the worst reputations for customer service and for dropped calls.

Step 3: More searching.

On Black Friday, I peel myself away from the Fitness websites and start looking at Smartphones. Oops, aren’t we supposed to be shopping for Christmas presents for other people on Black Friday?  I decide upon Verizon for both my plan and phone.  They have awesome coverage and some pretty neat looking phones. You just never know when you’ll need to make a call when you are in the middle of some wilderness.

Step 4: Time to get the real scoop.

Mr. Ken and I head out to the nearest Verizon store. Even on a Monday afternoon, the store is busy, so we give our name on the list for the next available sales rep. As we are perusing the phones, a sales rep comes over to us. At first, I thought he was a junior high school kid being friendly; I didn’t realize that he was a sales rep. This seems to be happening more and more, everyone looks to me like they are 12 years old.

Mr. Junior Sales Rep: “Hi my name is Mark, what do you know about FIOS?”

Nancy: “I am here to look at smartphones.”

Mr. Junior Sales Rep: “I know that, but I would be happy to talk to you about FIOS.”

[This conversation reminds me of when I’m contacting a Live Chat rep for help and it is very obvious that the “live” chat rep is actually a computer, programmed to sort of answer questions.]

I desperately look around for the smart phone sales rep, hoping one will materialize soon.

Mr. Junior Sales Rep continues: “Can you give me your zip code so I can check if FIOS is available in your area?”

Nancy: “Yes, we have FIOS in our area. Several folks on our street have FIOS.”

FINALLY, a smart phone sales rep comes over and introduces herself. At this point, my head is starting to hurt.

We walk back over to the pre-paid smart phones. I should interject here that I am not yet willing to go with a two-year contract. I have a feeling that once I get my first smartphone, I will learn a lot and have a much clearer idea of what I like and don’t like.

How cool there are iPhones available for pre-paid plans. There are two catches though, it’s an older version, iPhone 4 and they are pre-owned certified. Two strikes.

I finally decide upon a Motorola Luge, so I am becoming cool, but not super cool.

Step 5:  Reflect on the experience.

So my lessons learned in all this:

1. Decide how you will be using your smart phone.

I knew I wouldn’t need a lot of data. I can’t imagine watching videos on my phone. Well, except for exercise videos on YouTube.

I hate talking on the phone so I won’t be using it for a lot of talking.

Mmm, exactly what will I be using this phone for?

a. Fitness applications.

 I just found out that Barre3 (my barre obsession) has a killer application. Enough said.

b. Husband tracking.

I kid Mr. Ken that I am going to install a husband tracking application so I’ll know when he goes into a Dunkin Donuts.

c. Taking pictures.

I love adding images to my blog posts, but until now, I had to rely on Mr. Ken for my photography. Now I will be able to go hog wild with the pictures. 🙂

2. Do both online and offline research.

There is nothing like talking to face-to-face to someone to learn. I picked up helpful bits and pieces from everyone I spoke with.  Of course, you have to take what you hear with a grain of salt.  I asked someone at one of my conferences about his smart phone preferences and he replied with, “The TRX 500 is the best one out there.  It’s not that well known, but it has a lot of cool features.”  (Note to self:  Do NOT ask a Geek what piece of equipment he recommends.)

I also asked several friends about their phones and their plans, but the common response was, “I just bought what the sales rep told me was the best.”  I think my friends are not as cheap, er frugal as I am.

Have you had any adventures with your smart phone?