Do I really need a Smartphone?

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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:24 pm

protagonist wrote:Matjen, does this mean you can tether your Nexus 4 simply to your laptop via a USB (or similar) connection and get HSPA+ on your computer as well at no additional cost? And is this something built in to the Nexus 4 and thus possible regardless of what cell provider you use (assuming, of course, you pay for the data plan)?


Yes AND No. You don't have to tether it but you can if for some reason you desire. The Nexus 4 will literally operate as a hotspot and show up as a wireless connection point that your laptop can connect to. I believe it will work with any of the providers but some (straight talk) try and discourage you from using it. I think what happens is if they see you gobbling up a ton of data they will throttle you. However, if you have a 2GB or 5GB plan it doesn't matter to them if you are using that data on your phone directly or if it is operating as a hotspot. I KNOW this all works as I have described on T-Mobile. It is a feature on the phone not an add on feature from the carrier.

This brings up another important point for all those on this board who are pinching every penny and dismissing some of the value of a smartphone, if you are single or if others in your family aren't internet people (older couple and spouse not a big user) then you can cancel your home internet line and get the T-Mobile $30/mo 5GB plan and use it as a hotspot at home as well. 4-5 devices can connect to it at one time. Worst case scenario is $70 unlimited plan.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby thewizzer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:59 pm

I'l confess to only having read through about half the posts, so forgive me if I'm being redundant.

While it might not help the OP, has anyone discussed the idea of buying an Ipod instead of an Iphone? If using the device as a phone is your primary concern, then this isn't going to work. But if you're like me, the phone function is secondary.

I bought a new iPod a couple of months ago and I have found the thing to be extremely useful. One needs wifi to unlock it's true potential, but finding open wifi wherever you go is a pretty easy task. Also, I've downloaded a couple of free phone apps on the iPod that are just that - free. You can call to your heart's desire and it doesn't cost a nickel. You can do the same with incoming calls as well as long as you're willing to set up a google voice account (free as well).

As an example, I walked to my local grocery store and sat in their cafe last week. I used their free wifi to call my parents while I had lunch. I won't claim that this is a total replacement of cell phone, but it's pretty handy for me.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:09 pm

thewizzer wrote:I'l confess to only having read through about half the posts, so forgive me if I'm being redundant.

While it might not help the OP, has anyone discussed the idea of buying an Ipod instead of an Iphone? If using the device as a phone is your primary concern, then this isn't going to work. But if you're like me, the phone function is secondary.

I bought a new iPod a couple of months ago and I have found the thing to be extremely useful. One needs wifi to unlock it's true potential, but finding open wifi wherever you go is a pretty easy task. Also, I've downloaded a couple of free phone apps on the iPod that are just that - free. You can call to your heart's desire and it doesn't cost a nickel. You can do the same with incoming calls as well as long as you're willing to set up a google voice account (free as well).

As an example, I walked to my local grocery store and sat in their cafe last week. I used their free wifi to call my parents while I had lunch. I won't claim that this is a total replacement of cell phone, but it's pretty handy for me.


I own an iTouch 3rd gen. and I agree it is a great device....it's much smaller than the iPhone 3rd gen and you can do MOST everything you can do with an iPhone. I love the device, and despite being 2 1/2 yrs old it still functions flawlessly. It's function is almost identical to a Wi-fi iPad. Personally I think it is much more useful (due to its portability) and much cheaper than an iPad. I am one who does not get all the hoopla about iPads.

But there are critical differences limiting its use. One, as you mentioned, is that it only functions where there is wi-fi, so GPS is nearly useless and you can't get internet in your car, on the go, etc. Second (and maybe this has been changed in later models), mine has no internal mic, so if you want to dictate, use talk apps, record music, etc you need to plug in a mic. Third, and probably most critical- as a phone you need an attached mic, and if you are out of wifi range you are stuck. The up-side is there is no monthly fee, so if you have a separate phone and are satisfied with just wi-fi, it's a great option. I think most people want a phone they can use anywhere. And nowadays, when you can get unlimited talk and data for $50/month or less and wind up paying the same or close to the same for enough minutes of talk without data, it becomes less useful.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:16 pm

matjen wrote:
protagonist wrote:Matjen, does this mean you can tether your Nexus 4 simply to your laptop via a USB (or similar) connection and get HSPA+ on your computer as well at no additional cost? And is this something built in to the Nexus 4 and thus possible regardless of what cell provider you use (assuming, of course, you pay for the data plan)?


Yes AND No. You don't have to tether it but you can if for some reason you desire. The Nexus 4 will literally operate as a hotspot and show up as a wireless connection point that your laptop can connect to. I believe it will work with any of the providers but some (straight talk) try and discourage you from using it. I think what happens is if they see you gobbling up a ton of data they will throttle you. However, if you have a 2GB or 5GB plan it doesn't matter to them if you are using that data on your phone directly or if it is operating as a hotspot. I KNOW this all works as I have described on T-Mobile. It is a feature on the phone not an add on feature from the carrier.

This brings up another important point for all those on this board who are pinching every penny and dismissing some of the value of a smartphone, if you are single or if others in your family aren't internet people (older couple and spouse not a big user) then you can cancel your home internet line and get the T-Mobile $30/mo 5GB plan and use it as a hotspot at home as well. 4-5 devices can connect to it at one time. Worst case scenario is $70 unlimited plan.


Thanks, matjen. Very helpful. I'm hoping I can hold out for the Nexus 5, since it is rumored to be coming out with 32G and 64G models as well as other improvements, and the rumors are it should be released in the not-too-distant future. But I think I'm convinced. I agree that it may be a good sub for home internet service for many people. I doubt if it
would satisfy me in that regard.

I would guess that, if traveling, you could pop in an appropriate overseas SIM card and use it as a tether for your laptop wherever you go as well, as long as you pay the appropriate overseas provider for the data, right?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:33 pm

protagonist wrote:Thanks, matjen. Very helpful. I'm hoping I can hold out for the Nexus 5, since it is rumored to be coming out with 32G and 64G models as well as other improvements, and the rumors are it should be released in the not-too-distant future. But I think I'm convinced. I agree that it may be a good sub for home internet service for many people. I doubt if it
would satisfy me in that regard.

I would guess that, if traveling, you could pop in an appropriate overseas SIM card and use it as a tether for your laptop wherever you go as well, as long as you pay the appropriate overseas provider for the data, right?


Well I haven't done it but a quick search on Android foums say that you are correct. Here a couple of quick replies on this question I found:

The N4 supports all 4 GSM bands and all 5 common UMTS bands, so it'll work anywhere with GSM and will have fast data anywhere with UMTS. It'll definitely work in Europe.

I'm not sure if Europe and the US get the exact same phones (I'm guessing yes), but they support the same bands regardless.
----

The nexus4 is sold unlocked and without carierware. This means it can be used worldwide on any GSM network.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:42 pm

tfb wrote:
Rhyno wrote:Overall I spend around $5-$10/month with my Smartphone. That's a far cry from the figures that get thrown around.

Exactly. Smartphones don't have to be $150/month. Used iPhones and Androids are very cheap. Prepaid plans are very cheap. Can't see why anyone would be against $10/month. A dumb phone ("feature phone") would cost about that much anyway.

I'm looking at this option with AirVoice Wireless prepaid. The question I have is where you can buy used unlocked iPhones or Androids from a reliable vendor. This seems to be a "grey market" that makes me feel like I'm buying something out of some guy's car trunk in an alley somewhere. Problems I've seen from buyer comments on Amazon, and eBay, etc. is that you can end up with a phone doesn't work, is banged up, or isn't really unlocked and you have no recourse with the vendor. That leaves buying a new unlocked phone from a vendor who accepts returns, which is much more expensive.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby tfb » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:00 pm

Browser wrote:The question I have is where you can buy used unlocked iPhones or Androids from a reliable vendor.

It doesn't have to be unlocked. A phone locked to AT&T will work out of the box. Plenty of those around because AT&T had the exclusivity for iPhone for quite some time.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby bradshaw1965 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:15 pm

protagonist wrote:But there are critical differences limiting its use. One, as you mentioned, is that it only functions where there is wi-fi, so GPS is nearly useless and you can't get internet in your car, on the go, etc. Second (and maybe this has been changed in later models), mine has no internal mic, so if you want to dictate, use talk apps, record music, etc you need to plug in a mic. Third, and probably most critical- as a phone you need an attached mic, and if you are out of wifi range you are stuck. The up-side is there is no monthly fee, so if you have a separate phone and are satisfied with just wi-fi, it's a great option. I think most people want a phone they can use anywhere. And nowadays, when you can get unlimited talk and data for $50/month or less and wind up paying the same or close to the same for enough minutes of talk without data, it becomes less useful.


I've had reasonable success using the 3G/4G hockey puck wifi hotspots with an ipod on the go for GPS etc.. I don't know that I'd want to keep an eye on it everyday but it works pretty well for road trips and for replacing hotel wifi which I find pretty iffy. I'm using http://freedompop.com which is cheap and works well, but I can't give full recommendation because of some iffy marketing practices which you may be able to work around (mainly some opt-in stuff which I find misleading).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby thewizzer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:16 pm

protagonist wrote:
thewizzer wrote:I'l confess to only having read through about half the posts, so forgive me if I'm being redundant.

While it might not help the OP, has anyone discussed the idea of buying an Ipod instead of an Iphone? If using the device as a phone is your primary concern, then this isn't going to work. But if you're like me, the phone function is secondary.

I bought a new iPod a couple of months ago and I have found the thing to be extremely useful. One needs wifi to unlock it's true potential, but finding open wifi wherever you go is a pretty easy task. Also, I've downloaded a couple of free phone apps on the iPod that are just that - free. You can call to your heart's desire and it doesn't cost a nickel. You can do the same with incoming calls as well as long as you're willing to set up a google voice account (free as well).

As an example, I walked to my local grocery store and sat in their cafe last week. I used their free wifi to call my parents while I had lunch. I won't claim that this is a total replacement of cell phone, but it's pretty handy for me.


I own an iTouch 3rd gen. and I agree it is a great device....it's much smaller than the iPhone 3rd gen and you can do MOST everything you can do with an iPhone. I love the device, and despite being 2 1/2 yrs old it still functions flawlessly. It's function is almost identical to a Wi-fi iPad. Personally I think it is much more useful (due to its portability) and much cheaper than an iPad. I am one who does not get all the hoopla about iPads.

But there are critical differences limiting its use. One, as you mentioned, is that it only functions where there is wi-fi, so GPS is nearly useless and you can't get internet in your car, on the go, etc. Second (and maybe this has been changed in later models), mine has no internal mic, so if you want to dictate, use talk apps, record music, etc you need to plug in a mic. Third, and probably most critical- as a phone you need an attached mic, and if you are out of wifi range you are stuck. The up-side is there is no monthly fee, so if you have a separate phone and are satisfied with just wi-fi, it's a great option. I think most people want a phone they can use anywhere. And nowadays, when you can get unlimited talk and data for $50/month or less and wind up paying the same or close to the same for enough minutes of talk without data, it becomes less useful.


The 4th gen iPod has a built in mic. I've found it to be quite good, actually. Others tell me that the sound quality is good on calls, and I'm amazed at how well the voice to text function works. You are correct, it's no good as a GPS device in a car (unless you had a wi-fi hotspot, i suppose). Funny though, my wife does have an iPhone and I learned on our last road trip that I could turn on the hotspot on her phone and then use my iPod to check my own email, my own apps, etc....
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:26 pm

At BestBuy I noticed a competing device to the iPod Touch from Samsung called the Galaxy Player, which gives you the Android OS. Might be interesting to compare them. i had no idea you could make WiFi calls on these things. Is that right?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby thewizzer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:07 pm

Browser wrote:At BestBuy I noticed a competing device to the iPod Touch from Samsung called the Galaxy Player, which gives you the Android OS. Might be interesting to compare them. i had no idea you could make WiFi calls on these things. Is that right?


Yep, that's right. I use Pinger and Talkatone. Both are free. There are more out there as well (I think).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:34 pm

thewizzer wrote:
Browser wrote:At BestBuy I noticed a competing device to the iPod Touch from Samsung called the Galaxy Player, which gives you the Android OS. Might be interesting to compare them. i had no idea you could make WiFi calls on these things. Is that right?


Yep, that's right. I use Pinger and Talkatone. Both are free. There are more out there as well (I think).

Man - this is really useful information. Basically i can used iPod for everything an iPhone does if i have a WiFi connection. if I carry a dumb no-contract cellphone for calls while on-the-go I've got a lot of bases covered. I make a lot of cellphone calls from home (no landline) that I could be making over WiFi with an iPod instead so could keep my low-minute cellphone plan. I currently have a 3G limit on my mobile broadband hotspot and use about 2G /month for internet on my laptop. I wonder how many calls I can make per month on 1Gb (which would max out my current limit)?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Couple questions about using WiFi to make calls using an iPod or iPhone.
1) can you make WiFi calls with an iPod to landline numbers, or only to devices that are also connected to WiFi?

2) If you want to make WiFi calls with an iPhone (or other cellphone) are you going to get charged for the data? I'm assuming that you can use an iPhone or other smartphone as a WiFi device instead of a cellular device. For example, if I'm in a WiFi location I can choose to make a call on WiFi using an App for that instead of making a cellular phonecall. But do I have to have a data plan on the cellphone to do that, and are the minutes used for the call deducted from my cellphone data plan allowance? I'm assuming this is not the case with an iPod, which is strictly a WiFi device. Is all this correct?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby thewizzer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:20 pm

Browser wrote:
thewizzer wrote:
Browser wrote:At BestBuy I noticed a competing device to the iPod Touch from Samsung called the Galaxy Player, which gives you the Android OS. Might be interesting to compare them. i had no idea you could make WiFi calls on these things. Is that right?


Yep, that's right. I use Pinger and Talkatone. Both are free. There are more out there as well (I think).

Man - this is really useful information. Basically i can used iPod for everything an iPhone does if i have a WiFi connection. if I carry a dumb no-contract cellphone for calls while on-the-go I've got a lot of bases covered. I make a lot of cellphone calls from home (no landline) that I could be making over WiFi with an iPod instead so could keep my low-minute cellphone plan. I currently have a 3G limit on my mobile broadband hotspot and use about 2G /month for internet on my laptop. I wonder how many calls I can make per month on 1Gb (which would max out my current limit)?


Glad this info helped. I have a 'dumb' phone provided through work. I have to pay for personal calls that aren't nights/weekends or Verizon to Verizon, which usually works out to one or two bucks a month. At home, I have a regular phone hooked up to Ooma, which costs about 5 bucks a month (pay for the device up front, only monthly charges are taxes and fees). Or I use my iPod.

Fair warning, though. While I don't consider it any trouble at all, be advised that the only speaker on the iPod is on the bottom. That means it is effectively a speakerphone (you don't hold it up to your ear). I basically carry it around while holding it up to my face when talking on the 'phone'. If you want privacy (like if you're at a coffee shop), you can use the iPod headphones so others can't hear the other end of the conversation.

It's not quite as smooth as having a regular smartphone, but it works for me. I have an aversion to paying monthly fees for things that I will never own (such as $75 per month data plans).
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby thewizzer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:36 pm

Browser wrote:Couple questions about using WiFi to make calls using an iPod or iPhone.
1) can you make WiFi calls with an iPod to landline numbers, or only to devices that are also connected to WiFi?

2) If you want to make WiFi calls with an iPhone (or other cellphone) are you going to get charged for the data? I'm assuming that you can use an iPhone or other smartphone as a WiFi device instead of a cellular device. For example, if I'm in a WiFi location I can choose to make a call on WiFi using an App for that instead of making a cellular phonecall. But do I have to have a data plan on the cellphone to do that, and are the minutes used for the call deducted from my cellphone data plan allowance? I'm assuming this is not the case with an iPod, which is strictly a WiFi device. Is all this correct?


1) Yes. I routinely call my parents on their home phone number that they've had for 30 years while using Talkatone on my Ipod. Pinger is the same way, but Pinger does charge you minutes (which is why I prefer Talkatone, if you don't mind setting up a google voice account). When you sign up for Pinger, you get something like 70 free minutes. Pinger to Pinger is free, otherwise it uses your minutes. You can either buy minutes from them (relatively cheaply), or you can watch sponsored ads for a certain number of minutes.

I'll tell you now, though. Incoming calls are dicey. You have to have the app open (at least with Pinger, I'm not sure about Talkatone) before the iPod 'rings' to tell you that someone is calling. The voicemail feature does work well, though. Again, I don't find this too troublesome because I'm not overly social and if I want to talk to you, I'll call you.

2)No, you wouldn't get charged for the data if you were on wifi. I'm pretty sure my wife's iPhone settings can turn the 3g signal off and go strictly off the wifi. So you could make Pinger calls using your iPhone, I believe.

I don't think it requires a data plan. iPhones are regularly 'unlocked' and there are a number of 3rd market carriers that sell much cheaper phone and text plans. So you could potentially buy a used iPhone off of Ebay, get set up through a 3rd party phone service (I've seen packages such as 10 bucks per month for 250 minutes and 500 text messages) and then only use the rest of the iPhone features when wifi is available.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:07 pm

thewizzer wrote:
Browser wrote:Couple questions about using WiFi to make calls using an iPod or iPhone.
1) can you make WiFi calls with an iPod to landline numbers, or only to devices that are also connected to WiFi?

2) If you want to make WiFi calls with an iPhone (or other cellphone) are you going to get charged for the data? I'm assuming that you can use an iPhone or other smartphone as a WiFi device instead of a cellular device. For example, if I'm in a WiFi location I can choose to make a call on WiFi using an App for that instead of making a cellular phonecall. But do I have to have a data plan on the cellphone to do that, and are the minutes used for the call deducted from my cellphone data plan allowance? I'm assuming this is not the case with an iPod, which is strictly a WiFi device. Is all this correct?


1) Yes. I routinely call my parents on their home phone number that they've had for 30 years while using Talkatone on my Ipod. Pinger is the same way, but Pinger does charge you minutes (which is why I prefer Talkatone, if you don't mind setting up a google voice account). When you sign up for Pinger, you get something like 70 free minutes. Pinger to Pinger is free, otherwise it uses your minutes. You can either buy minutes from them (relatively cheaply), or you can watch sponsored ads for a certain number of minutes.

I'll tell you now, though. Incoming calls are dicey. You have to have the app open (at least with Pinger, I'm not sure about Talkatone) before the iPod 'rings' to tell you that someone is calling. The voicemail feature does work well, though. Again, I don't find this too troublesome because I'm not overly social and if I want to talk to you, I'll call you.

2)No, you wouldn't get charged for the data if you were on wifi. I'm pretty sure my wife's iPhone settings can turn the 3g signal off and go strictly off the wifi. So you could make Pinger calls using your iPhone, I believe.

I don't think it requires a data plan. iPhones are regularly 'unlocked' and there are a number of 3rd market carriers that sell much cheaper phone and text plans. So you could potentially buy a used iPhone off of Ebay, get set up through a 3rd party phone service (I've seen packages such as 10 bucks per month for 250 minutes and 500 text messages) and then only use the rest of the iPhone features when wifi is available.

Thanks for the info! You are reading my mind about using free WiFi. Hadn't thought of incoming calls. What would really be nice is if you could take incoming calls on your regular cellphone as usual and then switch the call over to WiFi if you are in a location where you have a WiFi connection set up on your cellphone. That's probably not possible though, but wouldn't it be sweet? You can control outgoing calls and make them using WiFi at your discretion sounds like, either using iPod or iPhone. That part is nice.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:49 pm

Thought I would revive this thread. This is a very interesting report for those who may be on the fence and think smartphones are mostly about Angry Birds or game play. To each his own of course and your miles may vary.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/06/di ... l-economy/
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:02 pm

matjen wrote:Thought I would revive this thread. This is a very interesting report for those who may be on the fence and think smartphones are mostly about Angry Birds or game play. To each his own of course and your miles may vary.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/06/di ... l-economy/

The numbers include all the money spent to play angry birds, games, twittering, tumblring ..... it doesn't make any distinction.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:54 pm

Since the thread has been revived I thought I'd report that I ended up getting a smartphone to see for myself what it was all about. I got an unlocked phone on Amazon and signed up with AirVoice Wireless for their monthly plan. Interesting to play around with initially, and there a a couple things it's nice to do like use Google maps, take pics and send those easily, check weather. I don't give a hoot about games, music, and all that so I have pretty limited use for the smartphone capability. I've found out that the smartphone isn't really a smart phone. It is not as convenient to use as a phone as my old flip phone. There is no call alert (little light that lets me know I've gotten a call), the voicemail doesn't indicate when the call was received, there's no State ID that shows where an unknown incoming call originates (which I find useful), there's no speed dial. I can answer and hangup a call with the flip phone just by opening or closing it. The smartphone requires screentouch, which is usually a 2-handed operation. So - I kinda hate it as a phone. It's really just a little tablet that's really hard to use as a tablet because of the small screen, with an inferior phone built in. Oh yeah, and did I mention the pathetic battery life? Can't wait until the battery gets a little older and won't hold a charge. I'll probably chuck it and go back to the flip phone.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:23 pm

Well like I said, your miles may vary but Browser my phone does most of what you say is lacking. I get a notification icon when I touch it I get the time of call. Speed dial varies from phone to phone but there are plenty of apps. When I did a search in the Google Play store I got 1000 hits.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .speeddial
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby ogd » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:02 pm

Browser, I'm convinced that smart phones are better phones as well. You just need to get used to it and -- yes, get the right one.

A few *phone* things that the smartphone does better that I use all the time:
* voice dialing from car. I remember nokia having a poor clunky substitute on my last feature phone, but on a smartphone it's the real deal.
* search -> maps -> call flow is very smooth
* visual voicemail. Try Google Voice if it's bad on your phone. It transcribes the messages and makes any phone numbers left by the callers clickable.
* calling card apps can intercept international calls and reroute through very low-cost providers. Examples Google Voice and Voxofon
* apps that give you free text and voice with minimal fuss (only need the phone number and the same app on the other side). E.g. whatsapp. I think these are directly responsible for the carriers lowering prices on unlimited plans.
* video calls
* battery life. Yes, I've said it. If you don't actually use it as smart phone (turn data off etc), that massive battery will give you several times the talk time of a flip phone. I was surprised by this the first time I was stranded away from a charger for a long time, turned the "tablet functionality" off and found that the trickle of battery left was lasting forever
* noise cancellation (2nd microphone) is uncommon on cheaper phones, and it's great.

As for your phone, the lack of notification light is inexcusable, the rest can probably be fixed if you're willing to invest some time.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby harrychan » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:14 pm

There are things my smartphone can do which sometimes amazes me and I consider myself a techie!

-Avoided having to buy an expensive mifi dongle and used my phone as a mobile hotspot for my laptop.
-Installed an app to access my desktop over the 3G/LTE network
-Installed a TV streaming device and watch my cable TV for free via my phone again through an app.
-Skype to my parents who are overseas from anywhere and let them see the grandkids
-Use it as a driving recorder in case I get into an accident using a free app
-Listen to streaming radio
-Use it as a car navigation with traffic all for free
-Read establishments / restaurants reviews before we pick a place
-Shop and compare brick and mortar store prices vs. Amazon before we make the purchase
-Receive alerts for emergency situations (natural disaster) or check twitter / instagram for any major incident nearby by searching hashtags
-Use evernote to share notes across all of my connected devices
-Access to my cloud drive through dropbox / google drive
-Track and chart my speed / distance when cycling

Potential is unlimited!
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby harrychan » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:18 pm

Browser wrote:Since the thread has been revived I thought I'd report that I ended up getting a smartphone to see for myself what it was all about. I got an unlocked phone on Amazon and signed up with AirVoice Wireless for their monthly plan. Interesting to play around with initially, and there a a couple things it's nice to do like use Google maps, take pics and send those easily, check weather. I don't give a hoot about games, music, and all that so I have pretty limited use for the smartphone capability. I've found out that the smartphone isn't really a smart phone. It is not as convenient to use as a phone as my old flip phone. There is no call alert (little light that lets me know I've gotten a call), the voicemail doesn't indicate when the call was received, there's no State ID that shows where an unknown incoming call originates (which I find useful), there's no speed dial. I can answer and hangup a call with the flip phone just by opening or closing it. The smartphone requires screentouch, which is usually a 2-handed operation. So - I kinda hate it as a phone. It's really just a little tablet that's really hard to use as a tablet because of the small screen, with an inferior phone built in. Oh yeah, and did I mention the pathetic battery life? Can't wait until the battery gets a little older and won't hold a charge. I'll probably chuck it and go back to the flip phone.


I'm sure if you search you will be able to find the functions you are looking for through an app or settings. I do have to agree. Smart phone in general are not great at being phones. They are bulky and very unnatural to hold. That is probably why Steve Jobs kept the iphone 5 thin but it sort of backfired. Since I got a smart phone, I talk on the phone less and chat more. This is more cheaper for me as I have limited minutes. For your battery, check out the app 'deep sleep battery saver'. It works like a charm.

Good luck!
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby harrychan » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:23 pm

Browser wrote:Thanks for the info! You are reading my mind about using free WiFi. Hadn't thought of incoming calls. What would really be nice is if you could take incoming calls on your regular cellphone as usual and then switch the call over to WiFi if you are in a location where you have a WiFi connection set up on your cellphone. That's probably not possible though, but wouldn't it be sweet? You can control outgoing calls and make them using WiFi at your discretion sounds like, either using iPod or iPhone. That part is nice.


If you have a google account or a gmail email address, open a google voice number. You can dial out using Google Voice App and at the settings, you can designate what number rings if someone calls the google voice number. For example, if someone calls your google voice number, you can have your google voice app and your home phone ring. That way you won't miss a call. I use google voice by giving it too all banks other establishments which requires I give a number but I don't want to hand over any number I am really using.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Ged » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:08 pm

JMacDonald wrote:
rjsob58 wrote:You can buy one and just use for above with out getting a phone plan..(use just wifi).

I use an iPod Touch as my smart phone. It does everything an iPhone does only in wifi. http://www.apple.com/ipod-touch/
No monthly fees.


I use a Google Nexus Galaxy in a similar way except I have a prepaid plan as well. I use the Nexus like a Touch on wifi most of the time (office and home), but when travelling or whatever when I want the mobile capability I can use it unlimited on the TMobile network for $3 a day. Over the past year my cost for cell services was $120.

It was particularly useful in the aftermath of Sandy as my cable service was down for 2 weeks. I even used it as a hotspot with my laptop so I was able to check in to work.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby chipmonk » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Browser wrote:Aren't smartphones just a toy for people who don't need them for their work?
I use a smartphone for work, and also for my own personal use.

I wouldn't say it's a toy. I never play games on my smartphone, though I will admit I check Facebook a fair bit (I removed the Facebook app to cut down on the constant notifications and thereby the addiction :)).

jane1 wrote:I too resisted Smartphone for a while thinking it will not be very useful. Once you have it, you start finding more & more uses of it. And ultimately you wonder how you managed without it.

Even for a leisure user
Long list
I'm in the same boat. I only got a Smartphone originally because I switched in 2008 to Sprint's unadvertised-and-no-longer-available SERO plan. I did so purely for the cost savings ($30/month as opposed to the $35/month I was paying for fewer minutes on Verizon), but got a smartphone since it was available for the same price and had a QWERTY keyboard. It was the Moto Q, a very rudimentary model by today's standards, but I quickly got hooked on its extra features.

Today I use my smartphone for most of the things on Jane's list, as well as a few more like using my smartphone as a mobile data hotspot (violates most providers' contracts unless you pay an additional fee, but very easy with a rooted Android phone). I also use it to listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts (especially NPR's Marketplace) via bluetooth sync while driving my car.

The two biggest ways my smartphone helps me are these:
  • Effortless access to information when I have an unexpected need. E.g., I see a deal at a store and want to compare prices, or I want to catch a bus in an unfamiliar location and need to know the schedule. I think most non-smartphone users will underestimate how much they can take advantage of these features! When you have a smartphone, you'll gradually stop printing out maps and directions, and just use GPS on the fly. You'll stop reading circular ads in the Sunday paper, because you can comparison-shop on the fly. You'll stop using sticky notes, business cards, and little scraps of paper with phone numbers in favor of cloud-synced calendar/task/contacts.
  • More productive use of otherwise idle downtime. If I'm waiting at the dentist's office, I might be able to catch up on email before my appointment. When I take the train to work, I can catch up on the news. Of course, this (sometimes manic) pursuit of things to do in idle moments can be both a blessing and a curse, as others have pointed out in many previous threads on the topic. ;-)
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby winglessangel31 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:56 am

Browser wrote:Since the thread has been revived I thought I'd report that I ended up getting a smartphone to see for myself what it was all about. I got an unlocked phone on Amazon and signed up with AirVoice Wireless for their monthly plan. Interesting to play around with initially, and there a a couple things it's nice to do like use Google maps, take pics and send those easily, check weather. I don't give a hoot about games, music, and all that so I have pretty limited use for the smartphone capability. I've found out that the smartphone isn't really a smart phone. It is not as convenient to use as a phone as my old flip phone. There is no call alert (little light that lets me know I've gotten a call), the voicemail doesn't indicate when the call was received, there's no State ID that shows where an unknown incoming call originates (which I find useful), there's no speed dial. I can answer and hangup a call with the flip phone just by opening or closing it. The smartphone requires screentouch, which is usually a 2-handed operation. So - I kinda hate it as a phone. It's really just a little tablet that's really hard to use as a tablet because of the small screen, with an inferior phone built in. Oh yeah, and did I mention the pathetic battery life? Can't wait until the battery gets a little older and won't hold a charge. I'll probably chuck it and go back to the flip phone.

I think you got a bad phone.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby frugaltype » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:43 am

lwfitzge wrote:
The term I was thinking of was laggards as defined by: In the diffusion of innovation theory, the minority group (roughly 16 percent) of population, which is the last group to try or adopt a new product.


I spent all of my working life on the forefront of technology. Now I say, not so much.

I ecycled my television. When I'm involuntarily exposed to tv in public places, it is even clearer to me that it is mostly populated by brainless idiots who waste oxygen and lower the IQ of listeners by 20-30 points.

When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them, I fear for the future of the human race.

I am not a "consumer." I do not get my jollies wasting money on stuff I don't need. I don't like constantly having noisy moronic ads in my vicinity. My idea of a good time is not shopping at the mall.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:39 am

frugaltype wrote:
lwfitzge wrote:
The term I was thinking of was laggards as defined by: In the diffusion of innovation theory, the minority group (roughly 16 percent) of population, which is the last group to try or adopt a new product.


I spent all of my working life on the forefront of technology. Now I say, not so much.

I ecycled my television. When I'm involuntarily exposed to tv in public places, it is even clearer to me that it is mostly populated by brainless idiots who waste oxygen and lower the IQ of listeners by 20-30 points.

When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them, I fear for the future of the human race.

I am not a "consumer." I do not get my jollies wasting money on stuff I don't need. I don't like constantly having noisy moronic ads in my vicinity. My idea of a good time is not shopping at the mall.


The term laggard goes back to Everett Rogers's 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations, where he defined the categories of adopters as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

My approach to technology is similar to yours. I don't have a TV since 2008, I don't have a smart phone, and I am not on FaceBook. However, as I am planning prolonged travel and adventures, I am realizing that having some portable electronics will be necessary.

I am trying to decide if I want a tablet with a keyboard, a light laptop, or a smart phone. I don't use telephone much, and I probably can get by using VoIP over WiFi.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby matjen » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:49 am

frugaltype wrote:When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them, I fear for the future of the human race.


Hyperbole alert! Did it ever occur to you that what the vast majority of those people are doing with those devices is communicating with other members of the human race. Communicating with them much more frequently and in much more depth (e.g. pictures, videos, social media applications, etc.). Admittedly, the beauty of the long form letter has been lost. C'est la vie....that was gone long before mobile computing. I would argue this point more but I have to get out for my run which is tracked by my fitbit flex bracelet (fitbit.com) which then syncs to my phone so I can track all my progress on a dashboard (available online and on my smartphone) which is shared with friends. That way we can compete and comment on each other's progress in real time.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby floydtime » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:58 am

frugaltype wrote:
lwfitzge wrote:
The term I was thinking of was laggards as defined by: In the diffusion of innovation theory, the minority group (roughly 16 percent) of population, which is the last group to try or adopt a new product.


I spent all of my working life on the forefront of technology. Now I say, not so much.

I ecycled my television. When I'm involuntarily exposed to tv in public places, it is even clearer to me that it is mostly populated by brainless idiots who waste oxygen and lower the IQ of listeners by 20-30 points.

When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them, I fear for the future of the human race.

I am not a "consumer." I do not get my jollies wasting money on stuff I don't need. I don't like constantly having noisy moronic ads in my vicinity. My idea of a good time is not shopping at the mall.


Wow, kindred spirit. I too have worked in the forefront of technology (computers) my entire working life, and am starting to feel a little bit of guilt about helping to send the human race down the toilet.

I know exactly what you mean about TV. When I see it in public places, I am horrified that this is how anybody can spend any piece of their finite amount of time on this planet (much less, hours a day). I do not, and never will have, a dumb phone (as we call smart phones). Surprisingly, both of my teenage kids feel the same way (probably due to not having grown up with the TV curse) - they read, they hike, they learn, they travel, they DO things with their friends (not just "communicate" with them via their little flickery box).

So, the word laggard means one that tends to lag behind. I grew up with TV, and (mostly, I hope) have shaken off its effects, and no longer am a user. I consider this a forward advance. If I had to say who was a laggard and who was not, I'd say the people still living in TV land, after all these years, are the laggards. :)
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Sidney » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:09 am

frugaltype wrote:When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them

One of the saddest scenes is to see a couple at a restaurant, face down with devices. I sometimes wonder if they are texting each other across the table. Obviously this is their choice.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:51 am

VictoriaF wrote:
frugaltype wrote:
lwfitzge wrote:
The term I was thinking of was laggards as defined by: In the diffusion of innovation theory, the minority group (roughly 16 percent) of population, which is the last group to try or adopt a new product.


I spent all of my working life on the forefront of technology. Now I say, not so much.

I ecycled my television. When I'm involuntarily exposed to tv in public places, it is even clearer to me that it is mostly populated by brainless idiots who waste oxygen and lower the IQ of listeners by 20-30 points.

When I see people with their faces in devices and ignoring the people and nature around them, I fear for the future of the human race.

I am not a "consumer." I do not get my jollies wasting money on stuff I don't need. I don't like constantly having noisy moronic ads in my vicinity. My idea of a good time is not shopping at the mall.


The term laggard goes back to Everett Rogers's 1962 book Diffusion of Innovations, where he defined the categories of adopters as innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

My approach to technology is similar to yours. I don't have a TV since 2008, I don't have a smart phone, and I am not on FaceBook. However, as I am planning prolonged travel and adventures, I am realizing that having some portable electronics will be necessary.

I am trying to decide if I want a tablet with a keyboard, a light laptop, or a smart phone. I don't use telephone much, and I probably can get by using VoIP over WiFi.

Victoria


Of the three, for your needs, I would opt for a light laptop...most versatile. If you don't need a phone and can get by with Wifi you might consider an iTouch or similar inexpensive small tablet that you can carry around in your pocket that would also double as an e-reader and on which you can run apps- maps, restaurant reviews, music, your important travel documents, etc. It will not double as a GPS without 3G/4G LTE, but if you have little need for 3G/4G LTE the added expense is probably not worth it. Portability is a big deal. YOu can download maps and travel information via wi-fi and access them offline. IMHO a full-sized tablet is superfluous, awkward and just another expensive thing to lose or destroy- and there are light laptops that double as tablets these days if you really MUST have one (I have one of those devices and have yet to use it in tablet mode, though I might on an airplane). You read a lot, Victoria, so you may also want a Kindle Touch or similar product that does not cost much more than $50 nowadays (the price of 2 books), is small enough to carry in your pocket (IMPORTANT!), and will not strain your eyes with backlighting. Or you might follow Taleb's advice and just carry twenty pounds of books around with you instead, and when you finish them hope you can beg something readable off a fellow traveler. Unlikely, since the other travelers will all have e-readers and smartphones. (giggle)
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:59 am

Reading the above posts, I think it is sad that people criticize very useful technology by pointing only to its most negative applications. I can imagine the more aged of the 18th century European populace complaining about books, and how they are destroying the fabric of civilization because the youth do nothing but sit around and read when they should be communicating with each other. Gutenberg was doing the devil's work.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:15 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I am trying to decide if I want a tablet with a keyboard, a light laptop, or a smart phone. I don't use telephone much, and I probably can get by using VoIP over WiFi.

Victoria


Of the three, for your needs, I would opt for a light laptop...most versatile.


I need something that would provide me with maps, books and the ability to take notes. I will have occasional WiFi access where I will check email and make calls. It has to be as light as possible, including all accessories, because I will be carrying it in a backpack.

I'd like to have a single device for all my needs. The smartphone screen is probably too small for looking at the maps. A tablet would require a separate keyboard, because I usually take a lot of notes. And so you are probably right, a light laptop could be the answer. Do light laptops come with full-size keyboards?

protagonist wrote:If you don't need a phone and can get by with Wifi you might consider an iTouch or inexpensive small tablet that you can carry around in your pocket that would also double as an e-reader and on which you can run apps- maps, restaurant reviews, music, your important travel documents, etc.


My pocket capacity will be limited. I probably could have a smartphone handy, but a tablet or a laptop would have to be inside the pack.

protagonist wrote:It will not double as a GPS without 3G/4G LTE, but if you have little need for 3G/4G LTE the added expense is probably not worth it. Portability is a big deal. YOu can download maps and travel information via wi-fi and access them offline. IMHO a full-sized tablet is superfluous, awkward and just another expensive thing to lose or destroy- and there are light laptops that double as tablets these days if you really MUST have one (I have one of those devices and have yet to use it in tablet mode, though I might on an airplane).


What does it mean a "tablet mode"? I thought that laptops provided a superset of functions in comparison to tablets.

protagonist wrote:You read a lot, Victoria, so you may also want a Kindle Touch or similar product that does not cost much more than $50 nowadays (the price of 2 books), is small enough to carry in your pocket (IMPORTANT!), and will not strain your eyes with backlighting.


I think I can get by with a device-based Kindle reader.

protagonist wrote:Or you might follow Taleb's advice and just carry twenty pounds of books around with you instead, and when you finish them hope you can beg something readable off a fellow traveler. Unlikely, since the other travelers will all have e-readers and smartphones. (giggle)


The funny part is that I am now carrying 30 lbs of books to get ready for backpacking. And so I am following Taleb's advice my own way {smile}.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:43 am

Fortunately, you don't have to make a choice between a smartphone and a tablet, since smartphones are now about as big as tablets. Check some out, like the S4 or the Nexus.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby JMacDonald » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:32 am

VictoriaF wrote:I need something that would provide me with maps, books and the ability to take notes. I will have occasional WiFi access where I will check email and make calls. It has to be as light as possible, including all accessories, because I will be carrying it in a backpack.Victoria

Hi Victoria,
Have you looked at a MacBook Air. I looked a the 11 inch MacBook Air the other day when I was in a Best Buy. I was surprised how light this laptop was. It might work for you. http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD223LL/A?
Best Wishes, | Joe
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:44 am

JMacDonald wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I need something that would provide me with maps, books and the ability to take notes. I will have occasional WiFi access where I will check email and make calls. It has to be as light as possible, including all accessories, because I will be carrying it in a backpack.Victoria

Hi Victoria,
Have you looked at a MacBook Air. I looked a the 11 inch MacBook Air the other day when I was in a Best Buy. I was surprised how light this laptop was. It might work for you. http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD223LL/A?


Hi Joe,

I have not used Apple products yet and prefer to stay with Microsoft unless there are important reasons to switch. I should go to Best Buy and try different devices. It may help me to clarify what I need.

Thank you,
Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby JMacDonald » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:01 am

VictoriaF wrote:
JMacDonald wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I need something that would provide me with maps, books and the ability to take notes. I will have occasional WiFi access where I will check email and make calls. It has to be as light as possible, including all accessories, because I will be carrying it in a backpack.Victoria

Hi Victoria,
Have you looked at a MacBook Air. I looked a the 11 inch MacBook Air the other day when I was in a Best Buy. I was surprised how light this laptop was. It might work for you. http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD223LL/A?


Hi Joe,

I have not used Apple products yet and prefer to stay with Microsoft unless there are important reasons to switch. I should go to Best Buy and try different devices. It may help me to clarify what I need.

Thank you,
Victoria

I switch to Apple products several years ago and have been very satisfied with how they work. If you were to buy anything from Apple, be aware Apple sells refurbished items. I have bought some of these. They are essentially new items, but can't be sold as new. You get a bit of a price break. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s ... ook_air/11
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:03 am

JMacDonald wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
JMacDonald wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:I need something that would provide me with maps, books and the ability to take notes. I will have occasional WiFi access where I will check email and make calls. It has to be as light as possible, including all accessories, because I will be carrying it in a backpack.Victoria

Hi Victoria,
Have you looked at a MacBook Air. I looked a the 11 inch MacBook Air the other day when I was in a Best Buy. I was surprised how light this laptop was. It might work for you. http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MD223LL/A?


Hi Joe,

I have not used Apple products yet and prefer to stay with Microsoft unless there are important reasons to switch. I should go to Best Buy and try different devices. It may help me to clarify what I need.

Thank you,
Victoria

I switch to Apple products several years ago and have been very satisfied with how they work. If you were to buy anything from Apple, be aware Apple sells refurbished items. I have bought some of these. They are essentially new items, but can't be sold as new. You get a bit of a price break. http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s ... ook_air/11


Thank you, Joe. I will check them out.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:23 am

VictoriaF wrote:
I'd like to have a single device for all my needs. The smartphone screen is probably too small for looking at the maps.



Map apps are actually much easier to read than looking at print maps, because you can zoom. I need reading glasses to read a print map but not for smartphone apps. They also contain lots more info....points of interest, hotels, restaurants, etc....with links to reviews....and even photos and videos of sites. If you only have wifi there are apps that allow you to download the maps you need via wifi and then use them offline (like walking around Bratislava).

VictoriaF wrote: A tablet would require a separate keyboard, because I usually take a lot of notes. And so you are probably right, a light laptop could be the answer. Do light laptops come with full-size keyboards?


It depends on the ultrabook ("light laptop"). The keyboard on my Lenovo is quite good...not quite as good as an external keyboard but almost. And at home you would not need another computer...I use my ultrabook at home with an external keyboard, mouse and monitor as my home computer. Plus you can use it to watch movies/TV on your monitor or TV set, obviating the need for cable or a DVD player.You can find great deals at the Lenovo outlet store: http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... als/Outlet


VictoriaF wrote:My pocket capacity will be limited. I probably could have a smartphone handy, but a tablet or a laptop would have to be inside the pack.


They serve different (though overlapping) functions. I would recommend at least 2 devices....ultrabook for your backpack and smartphone or TINY tablet (eg iTouch or many others on the market)...quite cheap now) for your pocket. Portability is the key. You could read on your iTouch or smartphone...I used to read novels on mine before I got a Kindle....takes a little getting used to but not bad at all really. Still, with all the reading you do, I would recommend an e-reader as well with e-ink technology so that you can read in bright daylight without glare. You mentioned note-taking...you can also annotate e-books. I like the Kindle Touch because it is one of the few that fits in my pocket...big deal for me since I read much more if I don't have to carry it around in my hand and worry about losing it. Maybe less of an issue for women who more often carry handbags anyway. Not much difference between Kindle and Nook, but when I bought mine I chose the Kindle over Nook because there was an issue with downloading books abroad from Barnes and Noble, I don't know if that is still an issue, but if it is it would be a consideration for you as well.

VictoriaF wrote:What does it mean a "tablet mode"? I thought that laptops provided a superset of functions in comparison to tablets.


There are ultrabooks nowadays that have the ability to convert into tablets, either with removable screens containing all the computer hardware, or by flipping or twisting into a tablet configuration. I have yet to use mine in tablet configuration I think tablets are a bit silly and superfluous- not much lighter or cheaper than ultrabooks with limited functionality, exposed fragile screens, no keyboard, and another device to worry about- but others would disagree.

VictoriaF wrote:The funny part is that I am now carrying 30 lbs of books to get ready for backpacking. And so I am following Taleb's advice my own way {smile}.


I loathe the idea of a single corporation like Amazon having so much control over flow of information (seriously). Still, a pocket-sized e-reader will give you the capacity of a middle-size university library, and weigh a few ounces. But it might make you less anti-fragile.

By the way, have they judged the New York Mills thing yet?
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:44 am

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
I'd like to have a single device for all my needs. The smartphone screen is probably too small for looking at the maps.


Map apps are actually much easier to read than looking at print maps, because you can zoom. I need reading glasses to read a print map but not for smartphone apps. They also contain lots more info....points of interest, hotels, restaurants, etc....with links to reviews....and even photos and videos of sites. If you only have wifi there are apps that allow you to download the maps you need via wifi and then use them offline (like walking around Bratislava).


In Bratislava, I will be with the locals. This inquiry is for another trip, where I will need walking maps of Camino de Santiago. Ideally, I would also want to know which albergues y refugios have spare beds. Can I assume that if applications are available for smartphones, they are also available for laptops?

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: A tablet would require a separate keyboard, because I usually take a lot of notes. And so you are probably right, a light laptop could be the answer. Do light laptops come with full-size keyboards?


It depends on the ultrabook ("light laptop"). The keyboard on my Lenovo is quite good...not quite as good as an external keyboard but almost. And at home you would not need another computer...I use my ultrabook at home with an external keyboard, mouse and monitor as my home computer. Plus you can use it to watch movies/TV on your monitor or TV set, obviating the need for cable or a DVD player.You can find great deals at the Lenovo outlet store: http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... als/Outlet


Thank you, it looks great.


protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:My pocket capacity will be limited. I probably could have a smartphone handy, but a tablet or a laptop would have to be inside the pack.


They serve different (though overlapping) functions. I would recommend at least 2 devices....ultrabook for your backpack and smartphone or TINY tablet (eg iTouch or many others on the market)...quite cheap now) for your pocket. Portability is the key. You could read on your iTouch or smartphone...I used to read novels on mine before I got a Kindle....takes a little getting used to but not bad at all really. Still, with all the reading you do, I would recommend an e-reader as well with e-ink technology so that you can read in bright daylight without glare. You mentioned note-taking...you can also annotate e-books. I like the Kindle Touch because it is one of the few that fits in my pocket...big deal for me since I read much more if I don't have to carry it around in my hand and worry about losing it. Maybe less of an issue for women who more often carry handbags anyway. Not much difference between Kindle and Nook, but when I bought mine I chose the Kindle over Nook because there was an issue with downloading books abroad from Barnes and Noble, I don't know if that is still an issue, but if it is it would be a consideration for you as well.


When walking 800 km, every ounce matters. The only functions I may need while walking are some music and the ability to take occasional pictures. During stops, I will probably be socializing with other walkers.

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:What does it mean a "tablet mode"? I thought that laptops provided a superset of functions in comparison to tablets.


There are ultrabooks nowadays that have the ability to convert into tablets, either with removable screens containing all the computer hardware, or by flipping or twisting into a tablet configuration. I have yet to use mine in tablet configuration I think tablets are a bit silly and superfluous- not much lighter or cheaper than ultrabooks with limited functionality, exposed fragile screens, no keyboard, and another device to worry about- but others would disagree.

VictoriaF wrote:The funny part is that I am now carrying 30 lbs of books to get ready for backpacking. And so I am following Taleb's advice my own way {smile}.


I loathe the idea of a single corporation like Amazon having so much control over flow of information (seriously). Still, a pocket-sized e-reader will give you the capacity of a middle-size university library, and weigh a few ounces. But it might make you less anti-fragile.

By the way, have they judged the New York Mills thing yet?


They did not select my essay.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby Browser » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:03 pm

Sounds like a smartphone might work. Amounts to a mini-tablet with phone capability and has a GPS receiver built in for navigation. Tablets and ultrabooks don't come with this. If you go that route, get an unlocked phone so you can use it with a GSM SIM internationally. Also, either get one with an interchangeable battery or carry an external battery pack backup, which is about the size of the phone. The real drawback of the phone is the teeny tiny virtual keyboard, so if you plan on much keyboard work not so good.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:14 pm

VictoriaF wrote: Can I assume that if applications are available for smartphones, they are also available for laptops?


No. For the most part they are not. They are designed specifically for iOS (iTunes) or Android operating systems, and they are usually free or ridiculously cheap. They do work on tablets and on iTouch, not just on smartphones. This is one main reason you will likely want a separate device that takes iTunes or Android. There are apps available for Windows 8 and for Chrome, but very few.

VictoriaF wrote: When walking 800 km, every ounce matters. The only functions I may need while walking are some music and the ability to take occasional pictures. During stops, I will probably be socializing with other walkers.


For that, a smartphone, iTouch or Android ultraportable tablet no bigger than a smartphone (I think they run about $100-200 these days) would be perfect. When you browse the available apps you will be surprised how many other valuable uses you will discover.

VictoriaF wrote: They did not select my essay.


I'm sorry. But it's their loss.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:16 pm

Browser wrote:Sounds like a smartphone might work. Amounts to a mini-tablet with phone capability and has a GPS receiver built in for navigation. Tablets and ultrabooks don't come with this. If you go that route, get an unlocked phone so you can use it with a GSM SIM internationally. Also, either get one with an interchangeable battery or carry an external battery pack backup, which is about the size of the phone. The real drawback of the phone is the teeny tiny virtual keyboard, so if you plan on much keyboard work not so good.


Assuming you are responding to me {smile}, I don't think I will need GPS, and I will not be making calls while walking. El Camino is fairly straight forward, and there will be numerous other people walking it. I will be using maps mostly to plan for the next day, i.e., look at alternative paths and decide on the next stop.

On the other hand, if I decide to have a second device for music and photos, it may as well be a smart phone.

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:21 pm

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote: Can I assume that if applications are available for smartphones, they are also available for laptops?


No. For the most part they are not. They are designed specifically for iOS (iTunes) or Android operating systems, and they are usually free or ridiculously cheap. They do work on tablets and on iTouch, not just on smartphones. This is one main reason you will likely want a separate device that takes iTunes or Android. There are apps available for Windows 8 and for Chrome, but very few.

VictoriaF wrote: When walking 800 km, every ounce matters. The only functions I may need while walking are some music and the ability to take occasional pictures. During stops, I will probably be socializing with other walkers.


For that, a smartphone, iTouch or Android ultraportable tablet no bigger than a smartphone (I think they run about $100-200 these days) would be perfect. When you browse the available apps you will be surprised how many other valuable uses you will discover.


So it seems I will need both an ultrabook and a smartphone. I will probably start with Android.

Thanks,

Victoria
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:24 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
On the other hand, if I decide to have a second device for music and photos, it may as well be a smart phone.

Victoria


People here and elsewhere say great things about the Nexus 4 (unlocked, $299 and up), and it may be the perfect thing for you for music, photos, maps, etc. . No contract so no need to pay for 3G service, but if you decide you want the phone, 3G, GPS etc capability you already have the device you need. I imagine you could use it as a tablet to run apps, music, photos, etc and even make phone calls and text using an app when in wifi range, without paying any monthly fees. If you don't want a separate e-reader it could also double as an e-reader if necessary. Nexus 4 runs Android.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:27 pm

protagonist wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
On the other hand, if I decide to have a second device for music and photos, it may as well be a smart phone.

Victoria


People here and elsewhere say great things about the Nexus 4 (unlocked, $299 and up), and it may be the perfect thing for you for music, photos, maps, etc. . No contract so no need to pay for 3G service, but if you decide you want the phone, 3G, GPS etc capability you already have the device you need. I imagine you could use it as a tablet to run apps, music, photos, etc and even make phone calls and text using an app when in wifi range, without paying any monthly fees. If you don't want a separate e-reader it could also double as an e-reader if necessary. Nexus 4 runs Android.


Good suggestion. On Amazon.com I found Google Nexus 4 Phone 8GB - Unlocked for $348. Is this reasonable?

Thanks again,

Victoria

P.S. I have just realized that the title of this thread is "Do I really need a Smartphone?" I came the full circle back to the topic.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby frugaltype » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:14 pm

protagonist wrote:Map apps are actually much easier to read than looking at print maps, because you can zoom.


I find a print map of Boston invaluable. It's the only way to get oriented when you wander off onto the wrong cow path. Unless your screen is the size of a plasma tv, a map app isn't going to do it.
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Re: Do I really need a Smartphone?

Postby protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:30 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Good suggestion. On Amazon.com I found Google Nexus 4 Phone 8GB - Unlocked for $348. Is this reasonable?

Thanks again,

Victoria

.


I'm not sure about this, Victoria, but I think you can buy it direct from the Google store (it's a Google product) for $299, or $349 for 16 gb. I almost bought one about a month ago.
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