I did it. I bought a smart phone. I’ve been on my basic $35/month Virgin Mobile plan for years, but it was time to join the future.
But my momma ain’t raise no fool. I did my research.
I sat down one Saturday afternoon and scoured the web for all the resources out there. As it turns out, any article about “how to buy a smart phone” was likely written in 2007 – back when everyone else first made that choice. Now, they’re too ubiquitous. Everyone knows the advantages. Most places and most people just assumed I’d get an iPhone and be done with it.
So I started that direction. User surveys and friends agreed that getting an iPhone with Verizon was the best option: coverage, ease of use, customer service, everything. But even when I played around with Verizon’s site, even with the cheapest plan I could get, I was still paying $90 a month – plus being locked in to a 2 year contract. (And contracts make me feel icky.)
I looked at other major carriers. I looked at simpler, no-contract plans, like Straight Talk. I looked at buying an unlocked phone, but that seemed sketchy.
When it came down to it, I had to evaluate what I really wanted:
- Email access
- A decent camera (i.e. Instagram)
- No contract
- Not much more than I was paying already
I debated for a long time about how important coverage was. On Virgin, I get great coverage most places, but then none anywhere somewhat rural (like my parents’ house). But I’ve been getting along fine with that. I spend most of my time in DC and coverage here is great. When I’m at my parents, I’m doing other things, so a phone’s less important.
I ended up back where I started – with Virgin Mobile. I could have gotten an iPhone there, but it’d be $350 and locked to Virgin. They have lots of other smart phone options now, though, so I compared and read reviews and compared again until landing here (ba ba ba baaaa) the HTC One V. It got great reviews everywhere I looked and has all the features I needed. It was $120 on Virgin’s site, but a quick Amazon search got me the same phone for $109 (the price has since risen). Done. Then I cruised around for cases – nothing fancy yet – and got an OtterBox.
I don’t care much about Android versus iOS or Windows or whatever (this one runs on Android). I still just need it to do those basic things. And I don’t want to become one of those folks who cannot sit in stillness without fiddling with a phone, so not having anything fancy gives me boundaries.
And how have these last two weeks been? Fine. I’m sure I’m not getting the most out of this machine, but I know how to work Instagram (mostly) and check my email. I downloaded a word search game and a Mint app. I’m good on that.
But best of all? I’m still only paying $35 a month – unlimited data, text, everything. Who’s smart now? #winner