Saturday, November 09, 2013

Upgrading to a smartphone before 2014

I've had my Nokia 1208 hockey puck dumbphone since December 2008.  I had just dumped Virgin Mobile for hiking their rates and cutting back on the expiry of air time credit and switched over to SpeakOut 7-Eleven Canada.  It's been a solid five years that I've been on their pay-as-you-go plan and I've been really happy, both with the phone and the service.  SpeakOut piggybacks off the Rogers wireless network.

Here's my phone as of tonight:

My good ol' Nokia 1208, bought from a 7-Eleven.

Side by side with a Kinder suprise egg capsule for comparison.
I've been thinking of upgrading my phone more seriously ever since coming back from Romania last year, where I met senior citizens from the countryside who had better phones than me.  Also, there are a few key things that a smartphone would have that would make life a bit more convenient, namely a camera and maps/GPS.

Once upgrading to a smartphone however, I will miss being able to brag about having the crappiest phone amongst a group of friends.  Every now and then, different people will pull out their phones to compare cases or something trivial and I'll pull out my trusty, sad looking 1208 and throw it in the mix (sometimes literally).  The comments are always amusing, usually more so with teenagers who barely remember phones like mine.  I will miss the flashlight that's on the top of the phone.  I use that a lot.  I will miss the battery life, as a single charge (2 hours or less..maybe faster? I'm not sure) can last me several days (~5 or so, but it used to be longer, though it's gradually been decreasing in the past year).

I will also miss the cost in savings.  It has been costing me 25¢/minute to speak and 10¢/outgoing text messages and because I more or less still use my phone like a pager, I've been averaging a total cost of about $100/year (before tax) in the past two years.  I've challenged kids at our church's youth group to throw my phone across the gym to show how durable it is, I've dropped it countless times on cement/hard flooring when my friends make comments about accidentally dropping their own smart phone and cracking a fragile screen, and I've stick handled my Nokia 1208 during ball hockey, just because.  It's been a good run.

Lumia 520 photo
Nokia Lumia 520 courtesy of:
Nokia Lumia 620 courtesy of:
I've been leaning towards getting a Lumia 520 or 620 because I feel loyal to Nokia, as their phones have served me well in the past 8 years and I also have fond memories of playing "Snake" on my cousins' Nokia phones way back in 2000, when it seemed like everyone ONLY had Nokia phones.  The Lumia 520/620 have been called budget smartphones and entry-level smartphones and with the cost of the phone being ~$150 or less, depending on where you get it from, it looks to be very reasonable with the features offered.  I don't need anything fancy.

I am undecided on what plan and provider I will be using as there are SO many choices and combinations to look at.  It's been slightly overwhelming because I want to get the cheapest plan possible, with the most value.  The only thing I know for sure is that I don't plan on paying for data because I don't want to turn into the person who's always checking their phone.  I don't want to be constantly reliant on my phone either, but I guess I'll only know that about myself once I upgrade.

EDIT - November 30, 2013:  So after much consideration, I have tentatively planned to go with WIND Mobile on their $30/month plan where I would get unlimited province-wide talk (airtime/minutes), unlimited Canada-wide text (including picture and video), and unlimited data, without a contract.  However, both the Nokia Lumia 520/620 are not compatible with the WIND frequency in Canada.  There is however, a US-specific Lumia 521 (under T-Mobile in the US) which IS compatible with WIND and sells for for $99 USD (without contract), but if I bought it, I'd have to unlock it to be able to use it in Canada for an extra estimated cost of $40, plus the purchase of a new WIND SIM card (another $25).  Interestingly enough, Future Shop, as a part of their Black Friday sale, is selling the Lumia 520 (under Telus, without contract) for $90 and the 620 for $80.  The Lumia 520 and 521 are essentially the same phone.  Fun fact: I originally paid ~$100 for my Nokia 1208 way back in December 2008.  Sigh. Too many choices and variables now.  Also, Canada once again getting shafted by the wireless telecom industry.


In other Tim-news, a few weeks ago I started ending off my showers with a sudden switch to cold water.  Just before I'm about to finish bathing, I'll switch from a warm, luxurious hot to an ice cold rinse for about 30 seconds and then shut everything off.  I find that my extremities and face tend to get cold fastest.  It's so invigorating.  Apparently it's good for the skin and for improving circulation.  It's quite fun.

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