Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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catdude
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Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

Hi Bogleheads -

Lately I've been kicking around the idea of getting an iPhone or one of the popular Samsung smartphones. Why? Well, they seem like pretty neat technology, and I'm kind of a sucker for shiny new toys.

But the Boglehead in me is having a hard time justifying this kind of purchase. I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos. :) It's a bit of a PITA to carry around two devices (sometimes I just leave the iPod at home) but it's not a great burden either...

For those of you who have an iPhone or Samsung phone -- Is there some kind of killer app that these devices have that I need to get? What's the best thing about them? Are you glad you spent the money to get them?
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
lack_ey
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by lack_ey »

If you use a Moto G and an iPod Touch, there isn't anything much special that you don't know about. You've seen virtually the entire feature set of the iPhone and any mobile device Samsung makes, and with the iPod Touch the kind of build quality that's possible.
docbrown
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by docbrown »

I develop and sell iPhone applications as my only source of income. I do not own a smartphone. They are annoying little distraction machines to me. But, but, all the information! Most information people check compulsively is not very important information, or can wait until you get to a real computer. Also, I hate carrying anything at all in my pockets. My wallet is a rubber band wrapped around a few credit cards. I don't wear a watch either because I live on my own schedule, not anyone else's.

Basically, I'm going into the 21st century kicking and screaming. I recommend saving your money and ability to focus by ignoring the smartphone craze.

But if you do buy a smartphone, I can recommend an app that you absolutely, positively cannot live without and need to buy immediately! :wink:
Last edited by docbrown on Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Toons
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Toons »

Totally satisfied with the Samsung S5 I-purchased about 8 months ago at Walmart using their straight talk plan.
8 months later and it lacks nothing in my opinion.
I treat it as a computer in my pocket,which it is,and a phone second(I rarely talk).
Some of what I do.
Communications text
Banking transactions.
Investing transactions.
Fitness app.
Gps
Stream Netflix to Tv with it
Stream Pandora music.
Email,calendar
Grocery list.
App to control bluetooth led lights in house
Camera
Video chat
Games,,the list goes on and on.
No regrets..
May took a look at the S7 :happy
Last edited by Toons on Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
KlangFool
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) If you are paying for the service every month, why won't you get a better device to use the service?

2) Bigger screen of the new generation phone makes a lot of things possible:

A) Navigation -> Google map

B) Kindle -> read eBook

C) Youtube

D) Amazon Prime Video

3) Essentially, with a bigger screen, the smartphone double as tablet too.

KlangFool
joebh
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by joebh »

johnny wrote:For those of you who have an iPhone or Samsung phone -- Is there some kind of killer app that these devices have that I need to get? What's the best thing about them? Are you glad you spent the money to get them?
There's no universal killer app. There are many handy apps that one could easily live without. As with all technology, everyone draws the line differently. Although both my wife and I have and like iPhones, I consider them indulgences. Few people *need* an awesome smartphone.
ourbrooks
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by ourbrooks »

Screen resolution is something you might want to pay more money for. Higher resolution screens display the same size of text using more pixels; this makes the text more legible. If you want, you can use a smaller font on the higher resolution phone and still be able to read it, so you can get more readable text on the screen at a time. The Moto G has a 720x1280= 921,600 pixel screen; a 1920x1080=2,073,600 pixel screen could show twice as much text at a time. You'd be able to read email messages which were twice as long without scrolling.

Another place in which extra resolution is useful is in looking at maps. The 1920x1080 screen allows smaller text for street names so you'd be able to see twice as much of the map without losing detail.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend $700 to double your resolution. There are now a number of choices in the $150-$200 range which have that capability; brands to look at are Blu, Asus, ZTE and Huawei. If some of these names are unfamiliar, both Asus and Huawi make phones which are sold under the Nexus label. As a side effect, you'll get twice as much RAM, twice as much ROM, and a faster processor.
jackholloway
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by jackholloway »

I very much like my iPhone, and happily plunk down $800 every two years. Android friends say much the same. The data plan runs $120/mo for unlimited data for two lines.

Were I to cut back, I would probably get a $40/mo plan from tmobile, and a phone with less storage. That involves more work to trim needless stuff.

Not everyone sees the value, but I live on the thing.
hnzw rui
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by hnzw rui »

johnny wrote:Lately I've been kicking around the idea of getting an iPhone or one of the popular Samsung smartphones. Why? Well, they seem like pretty neat technology, and I'm kind of a sucker for shiny new toys.

But the Boglehead in me is having a hard time justifying this kind of purchase. I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos. :) It's a bit of a PITA to carry around two devices (sometimes I just leave the iPod at home) but it's not a great burden either...

For those of you who have an iPhone or Samsung phone -- Is there some kind of killer app that these devices have that I need to get? What's the best thing about them? Are you glad you spent the money to get them?
You already have an Android and iOS device. Whatever apps are available on higher end devices, you pretty much already have access to. The difference will mostly be hardware - bigger display, higher resolution, better cameras, fingerprint reader, etc. That said, I am curious why you need an iPod Touch for cat pics and videos. Is the Moto G not capable of showing those? :P

Full disclosure, each member of our family has their own iPhone and iPad. Me being the tech geek, also have a bunch of Android devices and am currently going back and forth considering a purchase of a Moto G 3rd gen (my last Android device purchase was in 2013). Probably should have funded my Roth instead of going all spendthrift a couple years back. I've seriously cut back on the tech shopping now, though. :mrgreen:

Thing I like most about my iPhone? I've had one since the original first came out in 2007. Upgrading has always been easy because I just restored from my old iPhone's backup using iTunes. Relatively quick too since I don't need to re-download all my apps. Android backup and restore was more miss than hit for me (circa Froyo to Jelly Bean). Not sure if it's any better now.
Last edited by hnzw rui on Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by cheese_breath »

johnny wrote:... I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos...
By your own admission you don't need it. But if you want it and can afford it without reducing your retirement contributions go ahead.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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mmmodem
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by mmmodem »

There's really no reason to carry an iPod touch and a phone at the same time. I would sell both and get an iPhone 5s or 6 on eBay for $200 or $400 respectively. If the Boglehead in you is insisting on being frugal, get the 5s. The sale of your iPod and Moto G will fetch the same $200. It's the same 4" screen size as your iPod so no adjusting needed. You don't need to do this. It just makes sense to carry one device.
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StormShadow
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by StormShadow »

Do I need an awesome smartphone?
Answers will boil down to some variant of either:

1. Yes, you need an awesome smartphone. Spend as much money as you can to get the smartest smartphone possible.
or
2. Don't waste your money. Get a sundial.
RoC
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by RoC »

Both Samsung and LG announced their new phones earlier today (Samsung's S7 and S7 edge, and LG's G5). If you wait a short period of time, their previous models (S6, S6 Edge, and G4) will drop in price. Still excellent phones, but at a more boglehead's friendly price.
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

OP here. Thanks everyone for your responses -- they're very helpful...
hnzw rui wrote:You already have an Android and iOS device. Whatever apps are available on higher end devices, you pretty much already have access to. The difference will mostly be hardware - bigger display, higher resolution, better cameras, fingerprint reader, etc. That said, I am curious why you need an iPod Touch for cat pics and videos. Is the Moto G not capable of showing those? :P
Well, part of the reason I wound up with an iPod touch has to do with that weakness for shiny new toys I mentioned in my original post. But the camera on the iPod is better than the one on the Moto G... it takes better pics and videos. And I find that iMessaging on the iPod is real handy. I have some friends and family members who have iPhones, and I find that I can send them bigger files (cat videos, of course) via iMessaging rather than e-mailing. There are size limits on what I can send via e-mail, whereas there doesn't appear to be a limit on what I can send via iMessaging.
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

cheese_breath wrote:
johnny wrote:... I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos...
By your own admission you don't need it. But if you want it and can afford it without reducing your retirement contributions go ahead.
OK, I admit it, I don't really need it. And since I'm retired, I'm not making retirement contributions anymore. But I can easily afford the phone so I just may buy one. The only danger is that my Boglehead credentials might get revoked... :P
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

RoC wrote:Both Samsung and LG announced their new phones earlier today (Samsung's S7 and S7 edge, and LG's G5). If you wait a short period of time, their previous models (S6, S6 Edge, and G4) will drop in price. Still excellent phones, but at a more boglehead's friendly price.
Thanks for this, I hadn't heard the news. I think I'll wait awhile and see what kind of deal I can get on a Samsung....
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
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cheese_breath
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by cheese_breath »

johnny wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
johnny wrote:... I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos...
By your own admission you don't need it. But if you want it and can afford it without reducing your retirement contributions go ahead.
OK, I admit it, I don't really need it. And since I'm retired, I'm not making retirement contributions anymore. But I can easily afford the phone so I just may buy one. The only danger is that my Boglehead credentials might get revoked... :P
If having an awesome smartphone gets your BH credentials revoked you'll have to wait in line. There are a few thousand folks ahead of you. :wink:
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
hnzw rui
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by hnzw rui »

johnny wrote:Well, part of the reason I wound up with an iPod touch has to do with that weakness for shiny new toys I mentioned in my original post. But the camera on the iPod is better than the one on the Moto G... it takes better pics and videos. And I find that iMessaging on the iPod is real handy. I have some friends and family members who have iPhones, and I find that I can send them bigger files (cat videos, of course) via iMessaging rather than e-mailing. There are size limits on what I can send via e-mail, whereas there doesn't appear to be a limit on what I can send via iMessaging.
Ah, yes, iMessage. Honestly, that's another reason I've stuck with the iPhone. Practically everyone I regularly stay in contact with have iPhones and it's a pain getting iMessage-based group MMS on Android.

And yes, I can easily understand the weakness for shiny new toys, too. I'm not really big on travel, cars, jewelry or clothes but tech is my splurge category. :D
navyasw02
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by navyasw02 »

I bought a Samsung S5 nearly 2 years ago and it's ok... too much bloatware I never use and can't remove. My primary reasons for buying it was the good reviews, removable battery, and micro SD slot. I'll see how the new S7 is, but I'm interested to check out the Nexus phones instead as they're stock Android.
hnzw rui
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by hnzw rui »

navyasw02 wrote:I bought a Samsung S5 nearly 2 years ago and it's ok... too much bloatware I never use and can't remove. My primary reasons for buying it was the good reviews, removable battery, and micro SD slot. I'll see how the new S7 is, but I'm interested to check out the Nexus phones instead as they're stock Android.
I haven't played with any of the newer Galaxy models. Last model I played with was the S4 and I've got to say, the older Galaxy Nexus with stock Android was far more responsive. I've never had a good experience with TouchWiz so I steer clear of Samsung and generally just avoid Android devices with manufacturer skins. Prefer to stick to Nexus and Motorola (post-Google acquisition).
Afty
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Afty »

My smartphone is my number one most useful gadget. Yeah, I pay a bit more than the bare minimum for it and for my data plan, but I enjoy it and can afford it. Sounds like you can also afford a better phone and would enjoy having one, so I would do it. Since you mentioned the camera, the one on an iPhone 6s is a huge leap over either your Moto G or iPod Touch. Another reason to upgrade. :evil:

I keep my Boglehead credentials by skipping cable TV and driving a used car. :)
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mhc
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by mhc »

Last Thanksgiving I went from a dumb 12 year old candy bar phone to a top of the line awesome smart phone. I love it. It is wonderful. I even like the way it feels in my hand. If you can afford it, buy the best. That is the boglehead way. You worked hard and saved up. Enjoy the fruit of your labors.
livesoft
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by livesoft »

I like the new 100% accurate lie detector app available on smart phones. I have to turn it off though when watching [deleted by someone] debates on TV.
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Toons »

"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
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lthenderson
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by lthenderson »

I'm another person who has no problem dropping money to purchase a new iphone every two or three years. For me, it has replaced other needs in my life. I don't need quite the computer in my home office anymore since I do quite a bit of everyday functions on my phone. It has revolutionized the way I approach vacations/trips. Gone are the days of trying to plan everything well in advance. Now I love the ability to not really plan and use the computer in my pocket (i.e. my phone) to figure out things as the mood strikes. It saves me a lot of trips to the bank by allowing me to pay bills, pay someone else, transfer money from where ever I am which isn't always near a computer. I can tell the weather where I'm heading, how to get there and how long it will take because it essentially replaces my Garmin now. In my area, we only have a local paper so my phone is my source for news outside the nightly news on television. Being a parent, it allows me to have face to face video conversations with my children when I'm on the road and they can show me their homework assignment or latest art project. I hate shopping brick and mortar stores so making shopping lists and ordering things via my phone anytime, anywhere is invaluable. I can now control lights, locks, thermostats, etc. from my phone, something I never could before.

In short, the possibilities are almost endless and I already consider my iphone a valuable tool that I couldn't do without in my life much like the personal computer was two decades ago.
takeshi
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by takeshi »

johnny wrote:For those of you who have an iPhone or Samsung phone -- Is there some kind of killer app that these devices have that I need to get? What's the best thing about them? Are you glad you spent the money to get them?
You can't just poll others. You have to use your needs/wants, priorities, etc to decide just as you would with any topic. These are all highly subjective matters.

If you're not sure and don't have the first hand experience to decide then purchase and make sure you have a return window. Decide before the return window closes.
johnny wrote:The only danger is that my Boglehead credentials might get revoked...
There are plenty of Bogleheads that use a current smartphone device. You have to determine if it fits in for you.
Last edited by takeshi on Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Youngblood
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Youngblood »

navyasw02 wrote:I bought a Samsung S5 nearly 2 years ago and it's ok... too much bloatware I never use and can't remove. My primary reasons for buying it was the good reviews, removable battery, and micro SD slot. I'll see how the new S7 is, but I'm interested to check out the Nexus phones instead as they're stock Android.
I hated bloatware too. My Samsung Galaxy 2 just died about two weeks ago and I have purchased the Huawei Nexus 6p gold for just $449 at BB.
Wow, a phablet that fits in my front pocket, great battery, and enough screen space to enjoy reading email. Without the bloatware you don't need to pay up for 64 gb.
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KyleAAA
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by KyleAAA »

They're really just faster and have better screens/cameras. For me, it's hard to go back to a cheap smart phone after using a shiny new state-of-the-art phone.

The Samsung Galaxy line is the worst for bloatware.
Last edited by KyleAAA on Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
bloom2708
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by bloom2708 »

Smartphones are awesome. The one lesson I've learned is it expensive to be at the "tip". If you have a Samsung Note 5 and need to be on the Samsung Note 6 you are going to take a good haircut selling and buying. If you have an iPhone 6 and have to have the iPhone 6S you are going to take a haircut and spend some $ staying at the tip.

What has worked for me. Keep your plan cost as low as possible. Cricket Wireless with 5 smartphones ($100) has worked awesome for our family. Don't sign a contract. Stay 1-3 versions back. You'll know when you are too far away from the tip.

An iPhone 5 or 5s is pretty reasonable compared to the 6 or 6s. The 4/4s are at the point where they are "too far from the tip". They still work, but are nearing the point of extinction.

I have a couple Samsung Note 2 that really still work very well. Screen, battery, apps are all still in the good zone. As the 4 or 5 drop in price, I'll be more convinced to move up. It won't cost much to move up.

Find a plan and strategy that works for you. If you love phones and have to be at the tip, that is great. Spend your money on things you care about and get the most out of. :beer
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The Wizard
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by The Wizard »

Your smartphone utility will depend on how good your near eyesight is.
Mine is OK and I use my Nexus 5 for almost everything online, including BH forum posting.
But I know at least a few people who have difficulty reading the small font size, so be aware...
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angelescrest
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by angelescrest »

docbrown wrote:I develop and sell iPhone applications as my only source of income.

Basically, I'm going into the 21st century kicking and screaming.
Huh? Sounds more like you're riding on the wave of the 21st century mobile tech boom.
arizonaslim
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by arizonaslim »

I don't know whether my smartphone is awesome or not. Quite frankly, I don't care.

It's a Motorola MotoG with a Republic Wireless WiFi-only plan. Meaning that I pay the princely sum of $12.50/mo. for phone service.
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midareff
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by midareff »

Interesting post...... I guess we are end of the line late adopters. Both retired so we are home when many others are at work. Three computers and three tablets between us. ... all wi-fi only. I changed to a smart phone a few years ago (Samsung clone) and then bought my own OEM Galaxy S3. Wife still using an AT&T flip. Nothing we need to do away from home requires data and it seems like everywhere we go there is wi-fi anyway. She talks to her daughters in Bangkok via an app (free) over wi-fi and calls her mom once a week over a calling card service @ 3 cents a minute.

Well, AT&T started demanding I take a $30 a month data plan because that's what my smart phone is designed to use, according to them. Have not had a contract in years and own our phones. Constantly receiving demanding emails and text messages on a text and data blocked phone saying they were adding the service to my bill, so I decided I would not waste any more time arguing with them and gave my wife the S3 and bought an new Galaxy S5 on eBay ($260) and changed to Consumer Cellular last week. Looks like our phone bill will go from $68 a month to about $42 after tax. .. perhaps less some months. Payback less than a year.

I use the smart phone for three things generally..... as a phone, as a calendar for making appointments without conflicts, and as a game player when waiting for a doctor's appointment. Seems like all the doctor's offices have free wi-fi now too so I can check an email if one comes in but who's kidding who..... what email can't wait a few hours?

If you have to constantly update your Facebook social status and tweet, I suppose an awesome phone (carried in hand, never in pocket) is for you. My S3 was plenty awesome for me but it went to the wife since she could use it's music player functions when she exercise walks and carry one device instead of an iPod and a phone, and except for that function she uses a phone even less than I do.

I have friends who can't wait to update to the latest and greatest Galaxy S whatever or iPhone + and do so almost every year. Between them, their wives, kids and so forth ... phone costs, insurance, data, etc., they are in for several hundred dollars a month. Lot's of these folks are paying interest on these phones (too) and wondering how they are going to retire.

Sooo, do you need an awesome smartphone?
reisner
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by reisner »

My Motorola from Republic Wireless does everything I could want it to. The bill last month for the two of us--phone calls, texts, data--was $23 and some change. I don't think a Boglehead could do better.
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JMacDonald
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by JMacDonald »

johnny wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
johnny wrote:... I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos...
By your own admission you don't need it. But if you want it and can afford it without reducing your retirement contributions go ahead.
OK, I admit it, I don't really need it. And since I'm retired, I'm not making retirement contributions anymore. But I can easily afford the phone so I just may buy one. The only danger is that my Boglehead credentials might get revoked... :P
A possible issue here is that one is very frugal before retirement, then during retirement it is difficult to change gears and spend money even if one can afford it. Just get the phone that meets your needs and move on. :beer
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smegal
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by smegal »

I have a ZTE android AT&T Gophone. You can get a highly rated one (ZTE Zmax 2 4G with 16GB Memory) at Best Buy right now for $79.99. I rarely use it as cell phone and have no data plan. I pay $25/3 months or $100/year which is 1000 min per year (10 cents/min). But I connect it to wireless at home and at work to get email etc. I use it for photos, audiobooks, podcasts, email, crosswords, etc. I often listen to podcasts when working outside or in my shop at my home. It works well for me and I don't feel a need for an iphone. It can be a pain when travelling to not have a data plan, but I don't travel that much and I can usually find wireless. So my answer is no. :D
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Toons
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Toons »

reisner wrote:My Motorola from Republic Wireless does everything I could want it to. The bill last month for the two of us--phone calls, texts, data--was $23 and some change. I don't think a Boglehead could do better.

Republic
Excellent choice :happy
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by pennstater2005 »

I bought a used iPhone 5c from eBay. I happen to have a Macbook and Apple tv and so it all syncs together well. Believe it or not I miss the days of my old flip phone. I could talk and text and it was all I really needed. I truly don't need constant access to the internet but now that I've had it for a few years I probably won't go back.

So you don't need an awesome smartphone but if you want one just get it. It won't change your life.
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson
fposte
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by fposte »

For me my recent upgrade to iPhone from cheap phone/iPod was a big deal. But the difference for me was that I didn't have a smartphone (technically it had internet, but it was too opaque to use and no decent apps) and the texting was horrible. It sounds like for you the advantage would lie merely in tech consolidation. I like that advantage a lot, but it wouldn't have been worth the change in its own right.
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Dutch
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Dutch »

What type of plan do you have, and how much does it cost per month?

Often, the cost of plan dwarfs the cost of the phone.

If you pay for a good/expensive plan with a lot of data, then you might as well get a phone that makes good use of it. If you have a cheaper plan with limited data, then your awesome phone is going to be somewhat handicapped (yes there's always WiFi, but still)
JLJL
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by JLJL »

lthenderson wrote:I'm another person who has no problem dropping money to purchase a new iphone every two or three years. For me, it has replaced other needs in my life. I don't need quite the computer in my home office anymore since I do quite a bit of everyday functions on my phone. It has revolutionized the way I approach vacations/trips. Gone are the days of trying to plan everything well in advance. Now I love the ability to not really plan and use the computer in my pocket (i.e. my phone) to figure out things as the mood strikes. It saves me a lot of trips to the bank by allowing me to pay bills, pay someone else, transfer money from where ever I am which isn't always near a computer. I can tell the weather where I'm heading, how to get there and how long it will take because it essentially replaces my Garmin now. In my area, we only have a local paper so my phone is my source for news outside the nightly news on television. Being a parent, it allows me to have face to face video conversations with my children when I'm on the road and they can show me their homework assignment or latest art project. I hate shopping brick and mortar stores so making shopping lists and ordering things via my phone anytime, anywhere is invaluable. I can now control lights, locks, thermostats, etc. from my phone, something I never could before.

In short, the possibilities are almost endless and I already consider my iphone a valuable tool that I couldn't do without in my life much like the personal computer was two decades ago.
OP,

I think this is clearly your best answer in terms of "what can an awesome smartphone do for me." I'm in the same boat as you almost exactly with a modest work phone and an iPod touch.

The question is, if you have the plan and the phone, will you do all these things with it? If yes, then go for it. I've personally held off knowing that even though a savvy person can make it happen, I probably won't. I think of all the clever stuff I read here that people do in their lives to be organized, backed-up, efficient, smart (all good things) but I don't seem to mobilize and execute on the options available.

My wife has a 5s (I think) that she recently bought used when she busted her 4. T-Mobile pay-as-you-go type plan I think, not really expensive. But I don't believe she gets all this out of it. Mostly chatting and surfing from home wifi, occasionally I'm asking "hey can you pull this up from your fancy phone?".

Anyway, I admire lthenderson's ability to make good use out of the technology. It is appealing. Some of his uses I hack with my devices, some I borrow from my wife, most I manage from home/wifi or on my ipad. For example, the iPod usually stays in my car middle console, and podcasts upload directly when in the garage on wifi, and the Bluetooth connects with my aftermarket Bluetooth in my car and I listen to the latest podcasts of interest as they come out. And I bring it places where I think I'll want to share pics with social media later over wifi. Otherwise my modest work phone has a pretty good camera.

I have one friend who I never thought would go "latest iPhone" as he is a mountain-man of sorts, but a hunting buddy showed him how he can manage hunts in real time with GPS and he immediately went out and bought one. It will probably take a specific app/tool like this to push me over the top, but I'm sure the day will come.
Naismith
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Naismith »

As others have said, it depends on your needs.

In our case, my husband's hearing aids are integrated with an iPhone app, so he will never give up the smartphone.

I thought I would give mine up at retirement, but we have Tmobile that is good all around the world, so now I think I will keep it until we stop traveling.
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

Dutch wrote:What type of plan do you have, and how much does it cost per month?

Often, the cost of plan dwarfs the cost of the phone.

If you pay for a good/expensive plan with a lot of data, then you might as well get a phone that makes good use of it. If you have a cheaper plan with limited data, then your awesome phone is going to be somewhat handicapped (yes there's always WiFi, but still)
I have a limited talk/text/data plan with Consumer Cellular; I pay about $28 a month. They seem to be a good and reliable service -- I haven't had any problems with them at all.

And that's another thing... I'm not too keen on the idea of spending 70 bucks a month for a service plan. I assume that's about how much I'd have to pay to take full advantage of that awesome phone. This may be a subject for another thread, but how much do y'all pay for service each month?
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
pochax
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by pochax »

johnny wrote: And that's another thing... I'm not too keen on the idea of spending 70 bucks a month for a service plan. I assume that's about how much I'd have to pay to take full advantage of that awesome phone. This may be a subject for another thread, but how much do y'all pay for service each month?
i would disagree. data (LTE-speed) is what will cost you the most. it really depends on what you would use the phone for. if you are streaming netflix, livesports, youtube, etc. constantly then i would agree you need a high-data plan which will cost you (although you can go lower than $70/mo). i don't know about consumer cellular but Cricket (AT&T network) would give you 2.5 GB/month for $35/month (with Autopay) and you could get more data for $45 or $55/mo as well.
lightheir
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by lightheir »

I'm struggling to understand what a MotoG can't do that an ipod touch can do. Is yours like a super-old-school Moto G that has no web browser or something like that? The 2012-2016 MotoGs are excellent devices with strong web and multimedia capabilities for an entry level phone.
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

JLJL wrote: I think this is clearly your best answer in terms of "what can an awesome smartphone do for me." I'm in the same boat as you almost exactly with a modest work phone and an iPod touch.

The question is, if you have the plan and the phone, will you do all these things with it? If yes, then go for it. I've personally held off knowing that even though a savvy person can make it happen, I probably won't. I think of all the clever stuff I read here that people do in their lives to be organized, backed-up, efficient, smart (all good things) but I don't seem to mobilize and execute on the options available.
I think that's a very good question. Evidently I'm much like you -- I see the shiny new toy and say "I've gotta have it", and then I get it and don't use it all that much. Or at least not take full advantage of it. There's no doubt lots of apps on my Moto G and iPod that I could be use, but I don't. For example, my iPod has Siri; well, I never use Siri....
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
TomCat96
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by TomCat96 »

johnny wrote:Hi Bogleheads -

Lately I've been kicking around the idea of getting an iPhone or one of the popular Samsung smartphones. Why? Well, they seem like pretty neat technology, and I'm kind of a sucker for shiny new toys.

But the Boglehead in me is having a hard time justifying this kind of purchase. I currently have a low-end smartphone (a Motorola Moto G) and it seems to handle my needs pretty well -- the occasional phone call, texting, checking e-mail, checking news sites, etc. And I've got a relatively new iPod touch, which is good for those all-important cat pics and videos. :) It's a bit of a PITA to carry around two devices (sometimes I just leave the iPod at home) but it's not a great burden either...

For those of you who have an iPhone or Samsung phone -- Is there some kind of killer app that these devices have that I need to get? What's the best thing about them? Are you glad you spent the money to get them?

I get a new smartphone every two years and it's one of the better decisions in my life.

If you're carrying two devices around, its going to be a tremendous convenience to you to get a single nice smartphone that can handle all that for you.
I also use Google Spreadsheets, and in my downtime, I perform some financial modeling. For example, I run different rebalancing scenarios.

These days, the high end smartphones have outstanding picture and video quality too--sufficient enough that I stopped buying digital cameras.
The fact that I no longer need to buy a digital camera/ palm planner, and GPS device means the device has basically paid for itself and then some.

Having a better phone keeps me abreast of newer technologies, which I find just generally advantageous in life.
A good smartphone will broaden your toolset and by extension your own capabilities.
The Wizard
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by The Wizard »

A smartphone is one of those things, I think, that GROWS on you.
I recently decided, for example, to put my grocery shopping list on my smartphone, so I found an app for that.
I expanded that to add a Home Depot list and a generic do-list as well...
Attempted new signature...
inbox788
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by inbox788 »

mmmodem wrote:There's really no reason to carry an iPod touch and a phone at the same time. I would sell both and get an iPhone 5s or 6 on eBay for $200 or $400 respectively. If the Boglehead in you is insisting on being frugal, get the 5s. The sale of your iPod and Moto G will fetch the same $200. It's the same 4" screen size as your iPod so no adjusting needed. You don't need to do this. It just makes sense to carry one device.
+1
Exactly what I was going to say. The iPod probably has a 4" screen and is a little smaller like the 5s. The Moto G has a 4.5 or 4.7 screen like the iPhone 6. I recently went from iPhone 5 to 6 and the larger size still bothers me in my front pocket. I'm considering going back to a smaller, lighter phone. Camera is a little better on the 6 vs 5s, but both are very good. Choose based on your current experience, but if you don't have a compelling reason, start smaller. Or if you must have a larger screen, go for a 6 plus or LG G3 or Samsung Note 4.
StormShadow wrote:2. Don't waste your money. Get a sundial.
Yeah, but what do you do at night? Carry a flashlight? That's two devices again!
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unclescrooge
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by unclescrooge »

I have a galaxy note 5, and I love the larger screen than most phones.

I bought it from Costco, for $275, with a $275 Costco card as mail-in rebate (which has yet too materialize even though it's been 12 weeks).

I would wait until the s7 comes out before upgrading.
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