Grand Forks Herald Tu-Uyen Tran column [Grand Forks Herald]
(Grand Forks Herald (ND) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 22--I'll admit that I got dragged kicking and screaming into the smartphone age.
When it was time to replace my phone a few years ago, I had a choice of pricey smartphones or dumb phones that seemed worse than the phone I was replacing. Since there's less money to be made in the dumb-phone market, I figured my choices would only get worse.
So, I shook my fist at Verizon Wireless and paid for a smartphone.
What I wanted was to pay about the same and get a little bit more. What I was forced to do was pay a lot more and get a lot more, most of which I didn't think I wanted.
But I've owned two smartphones now and, though I still hate paying a lot more, I really like getting a lot more.
This column isn't meant to be a sales spiel. If you don't want to get a smartphone for philosophical or financial reasons, that's OK. But if you're holding out because you're a curmudgeon, just give in already. You'll still respect yourself.
Here's what I got out of my old phone, which was a bit more than a basic phone:
--It made decent calls and sent text messages.
--The photos were just good enough to text but ugly as sin when printed.
--Web access was OK, but some websites didn't load right.
--The games were enjoyable distractions.
--The alarm clock and calendar with multiple alarms kept me on task.
Here's what I'm getting out of my smartphone:
--Besides phone calls and text messages, I access three email accounts, Facebook and Twitter.
--Photos are sharp and the colors vivid, which means they're good enough for pictures of food -- Yes, I'm that guy. -- and they'll look nice when printed. Also, the camera records video. I just made three, all of my wife's infernal cat; I'm becoming that guy, also.
--Web access is practically flawless. Web pages open in multiple tabs, just like on my computer.
--The alarm clock and calendar work even better, syncing with my coworkers' calendar.
--I still play games, but they're boring compared to all the other apps available, many for free.
--One app provides a map with the addresses of millions of places, from bars to parks. Another app shows directions to those places if they're accessible by road. Still another app records the route I use for running, shows how fast I ran and how far.
--A shopping-list app lets me to arrange items by the order of the aisles at Hugo's, which saves me time shopping.
--When I'm at Hugo's and hear a familiar song I can't quite place, an app names the tune.
--There's even an app that turns the phone into a flashlight.
It's true that a lot of these things can be done without a smartphone. You probably already own a camera, a computer with Web access, a map, a notepad and pen, a calendar and a flashlight. But they don't all fit in your pocket so they're usually not there when you want them. In other words, a smartphone is more than a phone; it's a personal assistant hauling all that stuff around for you.
Is it worth the massive increase to your phone bill?
If tomorrow the phone company told me I could have what I originally wanted, which was to pay the same for a dumb phone that was slightly better, I know I'd never go back.
Because more really is better.
Call Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1248; or send email to email@example.com.
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