In 2018, the cellular phone aka the cell phone is more than a tool to stay in touch while on the go. Now, cell phones are the primary accessory to actives and in-actives alike. The national average of cell phone users in the United States has climbed from 62% in 2002 to 95% in 2018. Smart phone users account for 77% of the aforementioned 95% of Americans who carry a phone. What does it all mean?
The short answer is that smart phones are inexpensive enough to be easily acquired. But be warned, not all smart phones are created. This cell phone user has learned the hard way that even when you think you need less, sometimes you need more than that. Now we will take a short journey down a path of discovery – learning why you should never cut corners when selecting your most valuable electronic device.
The story starts in 2015, as a Sprint employee at the time, I was given a free cell phone line and all I needed to pay was the cost of my device, roughly $35 + tax. My roughly $40 per month was happily paid and life was good, in spite of the poor service being offered by Sprint in some areas. A year later, I separated from the company but retained their service along with my $35 per month device. Fast forward to 2017, 18 months into my device contract and suddenly my phone goes crazy, along with my bill. (After leaving Sprint, my ‘free’ service went away and my monthly service charge was hiked up by $60.) I experienced erratic behavior and the dependability of my Samsung Note 4 went into the can. As I was a full 6 months away from paying the device off, I was trapped in a contract, tied to a failing device. At the 20th month, the phone became useless and I purchased a replacement from a friend, a stop-gap. The HTC device was not the best, but it was reliable at a minimum and would walk me to the finish line of my 24 month agreement.
When that glorious day arrived, I began my search for a brand new replacement. Being an Android loyalist, my choices were narrowed to a couple of brands including Samsung and HTC. Samsung won the coin toss and my next mission was to find the specs I found necessary to answer calls, send text, and manage my social media accounts – and one other thing, play Madden Mobile. Samsung users will know that the S series is the biggest and best line of Samsung phones, you cannot go wrong with any S series phone. Much like the Jordan brand of sneakers and clothing, there is always a B-team, available to the cheap and fiscally challenged. The J series (insert sad emoji here). This ‘namebrand’, semi-knockoff looks the part but the buck stops there.
Where the Samsung S series is fast and agile, the J series is often slow and confused. If the Galaxy S is Lebron James, the Galaxy J is ZaZa Pachulia. Both are pro level, but one just blows the other away head to head. I found this fact out the hard way. Within a month of purchasing the device, I discovered every bug from processing power to touch-screen sensitivity. The only saving grace was the $8 per month device fee. The phone is unusable most of the time and storage space has now become an issue. I am currently 1 year into the purchase of the device and I am strongly considering an early pay-off to get a new phone.
The moral of this story? Don’t buy cheap cell phones, no matter the factors! This is a situation where I wish the in-store employee had warned of the poor performance of this device…oh well. I can see myself biting the bullet and paying the device of in the coming weeks. Or considering the recent merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, I could just wait for a ‘special offer’ to get into something sleek and new!