By: Revanche

My devices vices

March 29, 2013

When I look around, it occurs to me that I have a techish problem. A plethora of devices and some strange habits to go with them.

I have:

2 PCs, one personal and one work, though the personal one gets impressed into work relatively frequently and is about to quit on me with a screen that’s been going black;

1 netbook;

1 tablet;

1 smartphone that drives me nuts w/how crap it is (Tmobile MyTouch).

Also no charger, since I managed to break mine a few months ago. PiC and I are sharing because I have (vice #1) this insane prejudice against buying replacement chargers since PiC’s “losing chargers since 2003” spree.

With some upcoming business travel, travel being kind of always the impetus for my realizing that broken down tech is probably going to be limpingly pathetic (vice #2), I panicked and shopped for a new phone and a pay as you go internet hotspot I’d meant to test.

The Phone

After some research and asking for recommendations from good friends, I decided that the Nexus 4 made sense.

Some specs

It’s a well-reviewed phone, though it has two major flaws in the eyes of the reviewers: lack of LTE and it seems to be built in such a way that you can’t use it on other carriers (T-mobile only, it doesn’t work with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T).

Major pluses:

it ships unlocked so theoretically I could change to being carrier-free with just a purchased SIM. (of course, not working on other major carriers is the drawback that sort of negates this a little)

it works internationally (as verified by a military friend overseas)

it has good expected battery life (maybe not quite as good as my original model iPhone but still more than 24 hours with use)

the OS looks to be user friendly and fast.

The price

It cost (ulp!) $380 after taxes and shipping direct from Google Play.

I had my reservations about the fact that they not only charge a 15% restocking fee, they charge MORE if you return a damaged phone. So you get punished if the phone arrives to you damaged??  Customer service, not so much Google.

Still they were $60-100 cheaper from GPlay than anywhere else so I bit that bullet after being two nerds for 2 days.

The phone plan

At the same time as the shopping, I dropped into a conversation with @singlema about our cell phone plans and how much we’re paying. We realized that Tmobile had these new Simple Choice plans that were MUCH cheaper for pretty much the same services.

+ Unlimited text / talk / data (first 500 MB at high speeds)
+ A Tmobile hotspot
+ $80
+ Applies to first two lines; additional lines for $10

A couple of our phones are still on contract this year, those will just lapse and carry on as contract-less phones.

The things that drive me crazy about T-Mobile:

– Until this year, they refused to allow fee-free line cancellation for my mom’s line despite the fact she’s been deceased for over a year.
– They had a password associated with my account that I did not set, could not remember, and prevented me from talking to the CSRs about anything on my account. And said that I couldn’t reset it in any way except by going into the store. Sheer insanity. Until I realized I was talking to incompetent people who didn’t know what they were doing and wouldn’t ask anyone. Even their twitter help insisted that you had to go into the store. MADNESS. I got the best CSR ever, Greg, who actually knew what to do to give me access after 3 very frustrating hours.
– Their idiotic voice response system kept resetting my own website password when I was calling to reset a password for another account.
– If you can’t remember your password and do the password reset, even entering the temporary password they give you counts against your number of allotted tries and locks you out for 24 hours (unless you call) (wasting more time). Thereby rendering the Forgot Your Password function totally useless.

I was ready to tear my hair out and I’m still hating on most of their customer service.

But I was able to change our plans from $140 before tax ($160) to a new plan for $100 before tax (guessing, $120?) for four lines. When the paperwork to cancel Mom’s line goes through, that’ll be $10 less.

It’ll take about ten months to offset my new phone. And another ten if PiC decides he wants the Nexus too.

The Hotspot

I’d been planning to try this hotspot thing to review on the blog but I was dawdling on the ordering it thing. Finally I realized that I had to order it if I was going to take it to work with me.  And lo, I ordered a day too late so that it’ll probably arrive when I’m already gone. And worse, the new T-mobile plan has this hotspot feature thing but I didn’t know about that when I ordered this device.  Rather annoying.

Still I suppose it’ll be worth trying, though I won’t truly need to have access for more than myself in the upcoming months.

Put me down for another $85.

The Computer

Please, oh please don’t make me research, buy and configure yet another computer.  There’s only so much patience in my life and it’s going to be severely taxed  by the above new stuff. Also, taxes. Because those need filing.

Perhaps my IT friend can take a look and magic up a few more months (years? heh) of life out of this machine.


:: What are your thoughts on devices that keep you plugged in?
:: Do you have anything good to say about the Nexus 4 that’ll make me feel better about paying nearly $400 for it?

10 Responses to “My devices vices”

  1. mochimac says:

    Yes. Macbook Pro 17″ is my lifesaving laptop. I can’t imagine using anything else unless I have to when I travel (Macbook Air).

    Otherwise, I hate almost every PC I have ever touched. Scratch that. I hate them all.

    • Revanche says:

      If it weren’t for the weight consideration I might have tried the Macbook but I’m still worried about having to lug any extra poundage around right now.
      Wouldn’t mind trying a Mac if not for that …

  2. Sorry, never tried any Samsung or Google Android products before so I can’t make you feel any better. But I love my desktop and iphone very dearly so I understand the troubles.

  3. Morgaine says:

    My hubby just bought the Nexus 4 on Monday. He hasn’t told me one way or another if he likes it but it does seem fairly user friendly. It helps that his previous (and my current) phone is the Nexus S so we’ve already gotten used to how Android works. If you’ve had an Android in the past, or currently, its not much different.

    • Revanche says:

      It’s been about five days and I’m liking it so far! You’re right, it’s not terribly different from the previous Android but I am still a bit slow on the uptake with the little quirks. Like having to hold and slide to pick up / reject a call? I had no clue why it wouldn’t let me pick up by just hitting the screen when a call came in. I was like a old fogey yelling at the phone.

  4. Matt says:

    My iPhone keeps me plugged in, I’ve managed to get all of my email accounts on it and I use it more than anything else. We had an IPad that we used a lot but my daughter decided to test out the law of gravity and gravity won so until I get the screen fixed the iphone will have to do.

    I think your approach to researching the phone is a good – I like my iPhone and I think that my next purchase will be an iPad Mini

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