Tag Archives: Cell Phone

Picked the iPhone 7

I’ve been contemplating replacing my Windows Mobile phone for a while after having used the OS for several years. I still love the OS, but it was obvious to most that Redmond’s heart wasn’t in it. I needed to have a phone that would provide app support and an expectation of support in the future. I thought that I might find that with the Android OS, but in the end the cost for a flagship device was the same as iOS and I still couldn’t get over my mistrust of Google (investment in info and their willingness to kill off products). I’m sure Android is a lovely OS though.

I’ve had the phone for a couple months and so far it has been rock solid. I’ve found a couple apps to use to replace those that I had on my Win10 Mobile device. Instead of Runtastic, I made the move to the Strava app. Instead of Amazing Weather, I’m using Weather Underground (with the ads removed via yearly fee). Instead of Nextgen Reader, I’m using the Feedly app (a clear step backwards). All in all, Strava is the best of the group and I’m not overly impressed with the app quality of the others (they are decent though and I haven’t had any crashes). iOS is okay. There are a bunch of small improvements, but overall it seems very dated. It took a while to learn all of the “special swipes” to get to a lot of the new features.

In the grand scheme of things, the iPhone 7 is an excellent choice. It is very solid and is definitely responsive (i.e. fast). It’s not an exciting device, but I don’t look to my cell phone for excitement. In fact, if it acts like a reliable phone then I’ll be very happy.

Mulling Phone Options

I’m still sporting my Lumia 920 with a cracked screen. It still works okay (other than the sharp edges on the screen), so I haven’t been in a desperate need to replace it. More than anything, I’m not really sure what I should get.

The iPhone 6s is out of the question mainly due to cost. Sure it’s a closed system, but that’s not really a turn me off to me since I don’t need my phone to be “hackable”. Because of the lack of a memory card slot, you really need the higher capacity models and those models are very close to a grand.

I guess what it comes down to is whether I get another Windows Mobile phone. Is the platform dead? Perhaps so. Well, it’s not dead dead. It’s just sort of a walking dead. The “app gap” is there and is running off people, so I just see a slow bleed. I really think the developers are loving getting to see the Microsoft OS get clobbered, but I think they’ll live to regret it. I thought that the unified Windows 10 code base and Universal Windows Apps would turn things around, but there’s a lot of hate out there. It’s a real shame as I definitely prefer the OS design.

Since I don’t want to spend a lot of money (> $200) on a phone that will not be around for a couple years, I’m left considering a cheap Android phone. The Moto E is looking pretty good at this point, but if Windows 10 Mobile is able to run Android apps then a Lumia 640 might hold me over. At $50 and $60, it’s not so much money that it would be a problem. Up from here, it’s probably a Moto G. I suppose if I can swallow using a cheap Android phone, then I may move to a higher end model later. I really don’t like the idea of moving to a Google OS as I just don’t trust them. Oh well, those are the breaks.

We’ll see how long I can stand this cracked 920.

New Phone Decision Time

There’s nothing like a cracked screen to hasten in the selection of a new one. I dropped my phone for the 4th time and apparently the 4th time isn’t charmed (unless you think cracked screens are charming). My Lumia 920 is getting a little old (3 years) by modern cell phone standards, but it was still doing moderately well. The battery was probably the weak link before the drop.

So now I’m left with the decision about what to buy as my next phone. Yes, buy. I don’t plan on going with one of the new lease plans where you pay monthly and get a new phone every year. That’s a tad too expensive for me right now and I don’t have a ravenous desire for “top of the line” phones. With the release of new iPhones and Android devices last month and this week of new Windows Phones, I am curious as to what the real cost of these devices over multiple years and how they compare to going cheap.

New Phone Every -> 1 Yr 2 Yr 3Yr
 High End (iPhone 6S, Samsung S6+Edge)  $37 ($444/yr)  $25 ($300/yr)  $21 ($252)
 High Mid Range (Samsung S6)  $30 ($360/yr)  $20 ($240/yr) $17 ($204/yr)
 Low Mid Range (Lumia 640XL, Moto G)  $20 ($250/yr)  $10 ($120/yr)  $7 ($84/yr)
 Low End (Lumia 640, various Android)  $7 ($84/yr)  $3 ($36/yr) $2 ($24/yr)

All of these numbers assume that you don’t break your phone. If you do that, then the chart just doesn’t cover that complexity (too many options then). Suffice to say that breaking an $800 phone is more expensive to repair/replace.

You know, if you want a high-end phone and you want the latest every year then for less than $450 you can have that. Not a bad price if you value that functionality high enough. I would place myself in the “Low Mid Range” category at this point (new phone at 2 years). I could see myself maybe moving up one category, but I’m not sure. We’ll see.

Phone Disuse

Other the past year, my phone usage (and my desire to carry my phone) has dropped precipitously. This morning I saw a list of the current Top 15 apps for smartphones and was not surprised that I don’t use a single one of them. Now granted that several of them are platform specific (ex. Google Maps and Apple Maps), but a couple of the biggest apps out there are Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Since I rarely send messages on the Facebook and also find the newsfeed unusable on the mobile, I just don’t use those apps. Instagram and Snapchat aren’t for me either. The biggest use that I have for my phone right now is my fitness tracking software (Runtastic) and even that might go away if I can find the right GPS enabled fitness band.

Part of that is my own isolation and part of that is early onset Luddism, however the net result is that I’m not a heavy phone user. Working at home cut out one of my main reasons for having it (contacting family members). For example, it’s sitting in the next room on the charger at the moment. It’s been a strange usage curve over the past 10 years as usage increased and is now falling off. I’ve abandoned my mobile development interests for the moment as well. Hard to get motivated.

It really doesn’t make me want to spend much money on a high-end device, that’s for sure. I think that one of those $80 Go phones is started to look like a pretty good price point. I’m hitting the 3 year mark for my current phone and the battery isn’t what it used to be. Still, it works and that’s good enough at the moment.

Electronic Devices at Church

With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it’s not surprising to see more and more of these devices showing up on Sunday morning (and other weekday nights you might meet together). It’s really just a part of society these days. It’s not totally different from the Gameboys of the past, but there are so many more shapes and sizes and these are almost all connected to the net. I’ve been bringing my Surface RT to church for a while now and I use it for my Bible as well as a way to copy the sermon recording from the office server to the FTP site after the service is over. Its nice to have. Most of the people there also have their cell phones (and some of the phones are actually muted).

First off, let me say that I don’t think that there is anything inherently evil about an electronic device. It’s just an inanimate object. I think we can also use them in plenty of good ways, but over the years I’m noticing that they are becoming more of a distraction. As a family, we are heavy electronics users yet I’ve always had the policy of no games at the church building. We did however let them bring a few toys which are the same kind of distraction without the chance of the electronic beeping noises. As they transitioned out of childhood and into grade school and teens, they don’t bring their toys or non-religious books to read. We expected that they would start to focus on the real reason for being there.

So what is our reason for being there? You know, the “Not forsaking the assembly as the manner of some” (Hebrews 10:25). If you read on, it says that we should be exhorting each other as we see the day approaching. We also take this time to worship as a collective group, but that also helps to encourage each other. We also take part in the memorial of the death, burial and resurrection (Acts 20:7). How is this affected by electronic devices? As I see it, when used improperly they are a distraction and fall in the category of an adult just bringing a book to read while they are there (with loud electric sounding pages). It’s just easier and is become more accepted. I have to keep myself in check as well. This is not my time to surf the web. It’s my time to take part in the community of Christ. This is something I need to remember. As an adult, I can just stay home if that’s all that I’m going to do while there.

For us parents, I would encourage you not to send your grade school kids to their classes with electronic devices. Not that this is evil, but you end up with four or five kids looking over one person’s shoulder watching them play. It’s also bragging rights in a place that doesn’t need the world’s distractions. Just leave them in the car and they can play them on the way home. Your kids might not thank you later, but they probably will later in life.