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
azurekep
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by azurekep »

smegal wrote: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.
This looks better than many of the budget tablets/mini-tabletsI've been looking at. I wanted to confirm the last part that no data plan or cellular service is needed. (The specs say that a data plan is required but I imagine that's just for full-fledged users.) I would like something that requires only wi-fi.

I'm also curious if one can do things like Google Maps with wi-fi only....whether a separate app or in the supplied browser.

And if you're so inclined, any other comments on apps that would work with just wi-fi would be appreciated. Thanks.
The Wizard
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by The Wizard »

Well sure, practically everything will work with WiFi.
But when you're driving down the road, there's no WiFi, so then what?
I suppose you can pull over to a McDs and use their WiFi to query Gasbuddy or TripAdvisor for things.
And if a traffic jam happens up ahead, you won't get dynamic rerouting like Google maps users on Cellular get.
But that's OK; it's no fun if everybody got rerouted...
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azurekep
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by azurekep »

The Wizard wrote:Well sure, practically everything will work with WiFi.
But when you're driving down the road, there's no WiFi, so then what?
I suppose you can pull over to a McDs and use their WiFi to query Gasbuddy or TripAdvisor for things.
And if a traffic jam happens up ahead, you won't get dynamic rerouting like Google maps users on Cellular get.
But that's OK; it's no fun if everybody got rerouted...
My aspirations are much lower :wink:

It would be used simply as a second "computer-type-device" in the home...for light browsing and playing around with toys like Google Maps.

But knowing how these things go, I'll probably get sucked into it and use it for all kinds of things I can't anticipate beforehand. Thus the interest in knowing how useful the apps would be without a cellular/data plan.
Whakamole
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Whakamole »

The Wizard wrote:Well sure, practically everything will work with WiFi.
But when you're driving down the road, there's no WiFi, so then what?
I suppose you can pull over to a McDs and use their WiFi to query Gasbuddy or TripAdvisor for things.
And if a traffic jam happens up ahead, you won't get dynamic rerouting like Google maps users on Cellular get.
But that's OK; it's no fun if everybody got rerouted...
At least for the Android version of TripAdvisor, you can download city information for offline use (showing you nearby restaurants/hotels with some reviews).
feh
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by feh »

I also have a Moto G. It does everything I need it to do. No way I'm spending hundreds on a larger/newer phone. Complete waste of money.

I can't believe how much money people spend on their phones. Not just the device itself, but the monthly service plans. I have Ting for about $15 per month.
leonard
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by leonard »

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?
No, you don't need one.
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hyla
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by hyla »

I have an "old" iphone 4s and find it does everything I need it to - maps and navigation, email, internet browsing, scanning documents, online banking, games, photos, skype, even streaming videos and music. As far as I can tell, whether or not apps are compatible with your phone depends on the version of the operating system, not the phone itself. I did previously get ride of an older HTC phone with a really old non-updateable version of android because as apps were upgraded to newer versions I could not use them, but my iphone 4s, even though the phone is old, can run the most recent version of iOS so all apps I want run fine. As far as I can tell, newer phones are faster and have bigger screens and better cameras, but i'm perfectly happy with the performance of my 4s and see no need to upgrade. Also, I don't want an enormous phone that won't fit in my pocket!
likegarden
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by likegarden »

We are not getting any smart phones because their displays are so small, tough to read. We have cell phones for phone calls. Our internet interface is via pc with 23 inch display.
lightheir
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by lightheir »

feh wrote:I also have a Moto G. It does everything I need it to do. No way I'm spending hundreds on a larger/newer phone. Complete waste of money.

I can't believe how much money people spend on their phones. Not just the device itself, but the monthly service plans. I have Ting for about $15 per month.

Exactly - the OP still has not answered exactly what it is on his Moto G that he CAN'T do compared to an iphone touch (which is his 2nd device that he carries around.)
lightheir
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by lightheir »

likegarden wrote:We are not getting any smart phones because their displays are so small, tough to read. We have cell phones for phone calls. Our internet interface is via pc with 23 inch display.
Not that this is enough of a reason to go full-bore new smartphone, but I will add that I hated my iphone 4s for web/msgs, etc when it came out. The screen was just too small for me to ever feel comfortable with it.

I changed carriers over a year ago and moved to an Android Moto X just because it was what Republic wireless offers as an option. It's a current-gen premium smartphone, and the screen is markedly larger than the iphone 4s (similar in size to a new iphone.)

Gotta admit, that larger screen made a huge difference for me. It singlehandedly made my phone something that was a real annoyance to use for web/email/etc., to actually very functional for all of that, and even more surprisingly, it works extremely well for streaming video. I know, you ask 'why would you ever stream video on a phone when you can watch it on TV?" but I've been surprised at how useful this feature given that I have an inquisitive 5 year old who doesn't quite overlap with the Game of Thrones type shows I watch!

I'm not sure I'm all for going all 'phablet' (super-larger phones that bulge from your pocket') but I really found the larger screen size of the MotoX outstanding. Interestingly, I don't like my Android google tablet which is like a super-duper sized phone - it's TOO big and gets clunky and annoying to hold and type on, whereas the MotoX is a perfect size.
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telemark
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by telemark »

The Wizard wrote:Well sure, practically everything will work with WiFi.
But when you're driving down the road, there's no WiFi, so then what?
I suppose you can pull over to a McDs and use their WiFi to query Gasbuddy or TripAdvisor for things.
And if a traffic jam happens up ahead, you won't get dynamic rerouting like Google maps users on Cellular get.
But that's OK; it's no fun if everybody got rerouted...
Google Maps now lets you download the information for an area while you're connected and then use it offline. Obviously you don't get current traffic information that way, but it's still pretty handy.
The Wizard
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by The Wizard »

telemark wrote:
The Wizard wrote:Well sure, practically everything will work with WiFi.
But when you're driving down the road, there's no WiFi, so then what?
I suppose you can pull over to a McDs and use their WiFi to query Gasbuddy or TripAdvisor for things.
And if a traffic jam happens up ahead, you won't get dynamic rerouting like Google maps users on Cellular get.
But that's OK; it's no fun if everybody got rerouted...
Google Maps now lets you download the information for an area while you're connected and then use it offline. Obviously you don't get current traffic information that way, but it's still pretty handy.
It is, and I'll probably do that before driving to the boondock region of West Texas next month...
:)
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bloom2708
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by bloom2708 »

What I love about smartphones is that they are nearly fully functioning without a plan. On Wi-Fi you can do many things. You essentially have a smaller sized tablet.

With plans that are available from RingPlus.net you can quite cheaply have a "free" phone. Buy a Sprint Samsung Note 2 on eBay for ~$100. I bought a really nice one for $85. Slap it on RingPlus with a "Free" or "Top up" plan, turn off MMS. You have a $0/month phone solution. MMS are 4 cents each if you like to swap photos via text message.

The "Note" series have a nice sized screen and come with a built in stylus. I just used that phone as an example. <Insert any size or brand phone you like.> Sprint coverage isn't the greatest, but in most metro areas and along the major roads you have good 4G coverage. How can you complain for $0/month? It is also hard to say you don't need a smartphone when it is $0/month. :moneybag :sharebeer
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Locutus
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Locutus »

Buying cheap tech is counterculture now and people are having a LOT of fun with it. Some of the young bucks I work with take great pride in having the most basic, cheap, crappy, un-cool phone they can find. My 68-yr old co-counsel is probably the cheapest bastard (in a nice way) I have ever known and he waits for older Samsungs to go on sale. My 85-yr old father buys a new iphone every two years so he can be on a tech level higher than his grandkids.

I need my phone for work. I wait until a model has been on the market for a year in order to buy cheaper and avoid software bugs. I do this every 2-3 years and pass the old phone on to one of the kids. Unlike my kids and wife, I do not spend my time on data intensive activities like facebook or looking at youtube videos. Mostly boring things like email, text, viewing Adobe documents, and accessing company network using Citrix. I was a devotee of blackberry for years, but for time being am an agnostic iphone user.

Query whether you would really be buying something "basic" anyway. Most of the "basic" phones available out there today were the new/shiny/fancy 3-5 years ago.

Delta to focus on is how a phone increases data usage. Unlike sci-fi movies where technology moves us into a glorious optimized future, each new generation of phone gobbles up more data and battery power than the last. It is insidious. You can use wifi to mitigate some of this cost but you still need to know how to go in and manually turn off all the new features that increase data and battery usage. Look for improvements in lithium-ion batteries coming on the market in a few years with better battery life. Of course by then phones will have increased battery usage to cancel out the tech advance!

Enjoy, my friend!
'Livin right and 'bein free
Xpe
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Xpe »

Lately I've been relying less and less on my smart phone. Basically just have 3 requirements now: email, gps, calls. I think once the novelty of having a nice smart phone wears off you'll chill out about it. I've been due for an upgrade forever, my screen is cracked, but my email gps and calls still work so here i am...

So in short, my vote would be no you don't.
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

This is your OP checking in again. Most of you seem to think that I shouldn't upgrade to an awesome phone. Well, I've decided that you're right -- I'm not gonna upgrade. Boglehead-ism has prevailed! :sharebeer My Moto G does everything that I need it to, and I'm gonna invest some energy (this forum is all about investing, right?) in checking out more of its various apps.

If I paid up-front for a new iPhone 6 thru Consumer Cellular, it would cost about $750. My Moto G cost me 150 bucks. I doubt very much that the iPhone is five times better than the Moto G....

And if I bought that awesome new phone, I'd feel obliged to get an expensive data plan to go along with it. Kinda like buying a fancy new house and feeling obligated to buy expensive new furniture for it. And of course you can't park a beat-up old Toyota in front of that fancy new house -- you've gotta go out and buy a nice new car. It's those complementary purchases that kill you.

I may re-visit this issue down the road. Maybe when Apple comes out with an iPhone 7, I may see what kind of deals there are on a low-end 6 (I wouldn't want the big-screen version)...

Thanks, Bogleheads, for your feedback on this... it's much appreciated.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by pennstater2005 »

Good thought process. Buyers remorse is a very real thing. You've avoided that. The iPhone 6 will still be a great phone if you decide to get it, and it'll be at a much better price.
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noco-hawkeye
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by noco-hawkeye »

My (teenager) daughter has a Moto G, and she has been completely satisfied with it. I think you are making a smart / Boglehead move in sticking with the Moto G.
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ClevrChico
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by ClevrChico »

Flagship phones get your an awesome camera, lots of cpu power, excellent screen, and the latest other features. For example, I can pay with Samsung Pay anywhere I can swipe a card. I seamlessly video chatted with family while on a bike ride last weekend. I'm not sure a lesser phone could do it.

It's like owning an S-Class Mercedes.
Cmpliance
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Cmpliance »

Samsung just announced their new flagship phones (Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge). I am still on a Note 3 so I'm looking into either a Note 6 or S7 Edge Plus when they are announced.
sarahjane
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by sarahjane »

These are not "phones". These are "devices" that ultimately take control of your life. How did you survive 10 years ago without it?
Personally, I refuse to have a "device" smarter than me (an admittedly low threshold).
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catdude
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by catdude »

noco-hawkeye wrote:My (teenager) daughter has a Moto G, and she has been completely satisfied with it. I think you are making a smart / Boglehead move in sticking with the Moto G.
Thanks. Your teenage daughter is satisfied with her Moto G? Is she an aspiring Boglehead? I thought kids always had to have the latest and greatest stuff. My brother is the beneficiary of this.... Whenever Apple comes out with a new phone, his daughters (my nieces) immediately upgrade; they are compelled to do so. He buys their old phones from them at sweet prices. That's how he wound up with his iPhone 5... and my sister-in-law snagged an iPhone 4 the same way. Someday I may wind up getting an old iPhone from one of my nieces for next to nothing.
catdude | | "I yield to the gentleman for a few feeble remarks." (Congressman Thaddeus Stevens)
Afty
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by Afty »

sarahjane wrote:These are not "phones". These are "devices" that ultimately take control of your life. How did you survive 10 years ago without it?
Personally, I refuse to have a "device" smarter than me (an admittedly low threshold).
It's funny you say that. My 5 year old asked me a question the other day. I told her I didn't know the answer. She said to me, "Let's ask the phone. It's smarter than you."
noco-hawkeye
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Re: Do I need an awesome smartphone?

Post by noco-hawkeye »

johnny wrote:
noco-hawkeye wrote:My (teenager) daughter has a Moto G, and she has been completely satisfied with it. I think you are making a smart / Boglehead move in sticking with the Moto G.
Thanks. Your teenage daughter is satisfied with her Moto G? Is she an aspiring Boglehead? I thought kids always had to have the latest and greatest stuff. My brother is the beneficiary of this.... Whenever Apple comes out with a new phone, his daughters (my nieces) immediately upgrade; they are compelled to do so. He buys their old phones from them at sweet prices. That's how he wound up with his iPhone 5... and my sister-in-law snagged an iPhone 4 the same way. Someday I may wind up getting an old iPhone from one of my nieces for next to nothing.
My daughter doesn't really identify as Boglehead or not, but she does know that she can customize her MotoG as much as she likes, and have the latest OS / features and a ton of apps. That, and plus the battery life / responsiveness are still pretty good. Those are the main things that matter to her, and probably most people. She has friends with the latest iPhones etc too, but I guess she knows when she has something good enough. I hope this pattern continues (knock on wood).
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