By: Revanche

That time I spent $600 on a phone

June 27, 2016

I had to replace my phone and return to the Apple fold. Terrible or great?Like a scab, I keep picking at it reminding myself how much money we just spent to see if I’m over it yet. (Nope.)

My 3.5 year old phone was slowly spiraling down the drain, losing capabilities as the months ticked by, and I stubbornly refused to replace it thinking that I’d miraculously figure out how to revive it. Part of this was money stubbornness. I didn’t WANT to spend the money, period. Part of it was the fact that my research on replacement phones has yielded nothing but frustration.

My priorities in no particular order: cost, lots of memory, great camera, can consistently make calls and send texts, the right size.

That last one was shockingly hard to manage. This trend of ever-larger phones is tough on my small and rickety hands. I didn’t want a tiny phone, my eyes aren’t 21 anymore, but it also couldn’t be enormous.

I’ve loved my experience with Android phones. It’s been six mostly happy years on Android, and six years post-iPhone, so I really didn’t want to change back to the iPhone.

But all the Androids suffer from giantitis, alas. The shockingly few that don’t were well out of my desirable price range. They also felt like a more risky purchase because I had never used those brands before, and the smaller handsets were brand new designs. I had what felt like premonitory (but probably weren’t) flashes of paying for a lemon that couldn’t be replaced.

Apple, however, had just released an iPhone that was 4 inches with plenty of memory. For $500. Oh lordy, I couldn’t face the thought.

I kept browsing, putting off the replacement, and the inevitable.

Well, I was asking for it. Sure enough, the plan to buy well before my old phone died to give myself some options became the “oh crap, buy a replacement phone tomorrow!” quest.

In one of those Monty Pythonesque moments, JuggerBaby grabbed my hand at the park, dragging me to the exit with all haste. Between saving hir face from abruptly meeting the cement, and catching myself from being swung into the brick wall while saving hir face, my phone popped out of my pocket. It fell screen first, of course, like a piece of buttered toast always seems to land butter side down. A terrible victim of gravity and circumstance, it landed on a most-unfortunately placed rock at the park. At first I thought it was only chipped, but the damage was done. Within days, the screen responsiveness was nil and I was at my computer placing an order for in-store pickup.

Going to the dark (Apple) side

You wouldn’t think that after ponying up nearly $550 for the phone itself that I would balk at another $30 for shipping, or an additional $20 for a SIM card but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t.

I could have ordered from T-Mobile if I wanted to pay in installments rather than taking the hit all at once. It was tempting but why pay an extra $50 for the privilege of paying over time? If I had a place to stash that cash where it would generate some serious returns, sure, but I don’t and I didn’t want to think about this for 36 months.

Instead, we planned a family outing into the city and took JuggerBaby on hir first subway ride into San Francisco and Union Square.

iPhone, with tax: $542.66
Otterbox case: $10
City adventure, BART: $15

We toured the brand new Apple store, (only 2 weeks old!) and enjoyed a snack-lunch on the lovely outdoor porch attached to the store. Inside, they were prepping for some presentation with a floor to ceiling screen and before heading back to the BART, we lounged in the lounging-type room on the clearly kid friendly furniture.

We watched as a small pack of kids, JuggerBaby included, constructed a tunnel of chair blocks to crawl through. One odd and creepy little girl, dirt smeared all over her face, ignored by her dad, took it in her head to try bullying JuggerBaby. She kept bringing chips over and leaning in close to JuggerBaby’s face to say “MMMM!!!” while holding the chips out of JuggerBaby’s reach. I’m not sure what that was meant to accomplish, JuggerBaby was confused about why this kid was being such a jerk because ze is used to kids who share and aren’t jerks.

Perhaps ze is a little spoiled by the people in hir world right now. In daycare, ze loves sharing hir food and snacks with everyone, and generally assumes that others are similarly inclined.

The weekend before, ze smiled to a little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old, hanging out by the deli with a bag of chips, and waved at hir chips. We chided hir, “those are her chips, come on, let’s go.” But the girl quickly hopped off the wall and came over to give JuggerBaby a chip. It was awfully cute, but also a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, the phone. It was successfully retrieved and even came with equipped with a SIM card that was prepared for T-Mobile for no extra charge.

So, what do I think?

I deeply appreciate a phone that works. Being able to make and receive calls when needed, send and receive texts, check my work email from the road, being able to navigate the phone’s touchscreen relatively reliably? AMAZING.

After a couple weeks of it, I can say that I’m not in love but I am definitely not unhappy that I bought it.

I know. Resounding endorsement, right?

  • The camera quality is great. Especially compared to the not-quality of my last phone. Both photographer and subject had to stay perfectly still if there was a hope of the photo to maybe come out clearly. Clearly that was ideal for my fast-moving child and dog.
  • I detest the inability to attach photos from anything but iCloud. We primarily use Google photos to share photos but iOS and Gmail are simply not compatible in the way they were on an Android. I hate having to find workarounds to attach a file from my phone.
  • Some apps are clunkier for iOS. This was a surprise.
  • I miss being able to toggle between apps on screen without exiting them officially by hitting the Home button which I have to do on iOS. (If I’m wrong, please tell me what I should be doing instead!)
  • The native Health app is both creepy and helpful: it automatically tracks my steps so now I’m obsessively checking my metrics. Before I couldn’t be sure how low my activity was on high pain days, now I have metrics. It may not be good for a mind that has a tendency to obsess over data, but it is satisfying to set a goal of hitting at least a mile every day and see how activity correlates positively with more manageable days. I wouldn’t say low pain, those are rare, but when the pain is not in my spine or more than two limbs, it’s possible to push myself to hit that minimum activity level.ย  (Yes, I know a mile is nothing for a normal human but I have to start somewhere when most days it feels like I’m wrestling a sack of decrepit bones and overtaxed sinew out the door.)

I may never be an Apple cultist, never have been, but I am a great fan of having functioning electronics. Cross your fingers that I didn’t just jinx myself again.

:: Do you have brand loyalty when it comes to your phones? Have you had a great experience with either Apple or Android? Should I spring for AppleCare or is that a waste of money?

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Money Can Buy Me Happiness

23 Responses to “That time I spent $600 on a phone”

  1. I use Android phones pretty much exclusively, though I will say I am extremely impressed by the mobile security on iOS devices, if that is any consolation for having to deal with iCloud. I do have a macbook for which I have found Applecare very useful. Not sure I would bother for iPhone given the price.

    • Revanche says:

      That’s a good point – I wasn’t looking forward to writing up the If you lose your Android guide, and I guess this gets me out of that?

  2. I had an iPhone for work several years ago and hated it. As soon as I left that job I went to Android. We went with cheap Cricket Android phones last year, and I wish we’d spent a bit more. Basically, the OS, Facebook, and Twitter take up 80% of the memory and the camera is disappointing enough that I keep my last Verizon Motorola phone around just to take decent pictures. The phones are usable so we won’t upgrade for a while (barring breakage) but this is an instance where we went too cheap.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…What Would You Do? I Can’t Decide How to Spend My Amazon CreditMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Our experiences were similar! I only had the iPhone for work years back, wasn’t impressed at all, and went to Androids. My last one wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t big on memory (which is fixable) and the camera was shoddy (which wasn’t fixable).

  3. Leigh says:

    I had the exact same problem trying to find a new Android phone and ended up with an iPhone 6S last year. I’ve been mostly happy with it, actually.

    You should be able to download Google Photos and set up auto-sync’ing from your phone.

    You can toggle between apps:
    1) You double tap on the Home button.
    2) If App A took you to App B, then there’s a “Return to App A” thing you can tap on the top left of the screen.

    Things I love about my iPhone: iMessage to people who use iPhones is far more discoverable than any other non-SMS app, Stylebook (paid app), reminders on the lock screen and with reminders, Deliveries (paid app), Touch ID, Apple Wallet, Voicemail being integrated, and how precise you can be with your Notification settings.

    Things I miss about Android: widgets on the home screen, easier to track cellular data usage, ability to turn on/off background data on a per-app basis, tight Gmail/Google integration. (I’m sure I’m forgetting other things.)
    Leigh recently posted…Pre-nups and marriage: the future of shared financesMy Profile

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I’d be pissy about $30 shipping if I’m already paying that much for a phone. And $20 for a SIM card? Seriously?! Whatever.

    I have no cell phone, so I have little say in this. But I tried an Android phone for a bit when we were trying out Republic. It was a bit of a change from our iPad and iPod, but it’s really not that bad. So I always stifle a laugh when I mention Republic and Apple users immediately say, “But I don’t know how to use Android.” Um… well yes, it’s a shame that that’s a lifelong condition.
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…Avoiding the “Oh well” mentalityMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s good to know I’m in good company!

      I guess it’s kinda fair that Apple users don’t feel like Androids will be immediately intuitive because there’s such a wide variety of them (as SP rightfully points out below), but it’s silly to assume that you can’t figure it out. Because you CAN.

  5. “iOS and Gmail are simply not compatible in the way they were on an Android. I hate having to find workarounds to attach a file from my phone.”

    It doesn’t get you to your other photos–but I use Gmail on my iPhone and have no trouble attaching photos. You just have to go about it in a way that seems backward to me; you open the photo and then choose to share it via mail, rather than opening an email and attaching a photo to it.

    I held off for a long time not just because of the phone cost, but because of the data plan and connection charges. But one Thanksgiving I realized how much easier it was for everyone else in the family to share photos from their various phones, and I got an iPhone for New Year’s.

    • Revanche says:

      That does seem backwards indeed – I dislike having to attach photos one at a time. Ah well.

      Are you using iCloud to share photos?

      • You can select more than one photo, although the size you choose will affect how quickly the email sends.

        I use Airdrop or share via email or text, depending. Airdrop is good for a larger number of images, but you have to be in proximity to the other person.

  6. SP says:

    I was slightly anti-apple (i like the idea of a more open platform), but my first android phone as terrible compared to my first iPhone…. which was an iPhone 5. Last fall, replaced my iPhone 5 with another iPhone 5 after a screen crack issue (it also had a brief water dunk – but seemed fine for the moment). I think it was about $200 – but it saved me from having to buy the latest iPhone. Now I have a macbook air (home, have had for quite some time) and am all Mac’d out at work (macbook pro, thunderbolt moitor). Sometimes I wonder if that was a mistake, because there are some softwares that I need that is still windows only. But i love how light and portable my laptop is compared to my last company issued PC laptop.

    I don’t use AppleCare… so I can’t say if it is worth it or not.

    Apple vs Andriod isn’t really fair (IMO), because Apple is one thing where there are a wide range of android products. Same for Apple vs PC/windows. But… it also simplifies decision making. If you decide to go PC/android, you still have more decisions to make.
    SP recently posted…June UpdatesMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      “Apple vs Andriod isnโ€™t really fair” – you’re absolutely right, I was being too general there. And that was actually one of the confounding factors in my research that left me limp-noodle resistant to the iPhone. There was something about it being the path of least resistance.

      • SP says:

        Totally – you know you’ll get a good product without having to continue to research and compare options/features. That is a big reason I’ll likely continue with apple in the future.
        SP recently posted…June UpdatesMy Profile

  7. i wish you had written this a day prior. ๐Ÿ™ after about 3 months of debating b/w apple and andriod, i finally ordered an iPhone today. have never used any of that but i hope i eventually like using i one.

    • Revanche says:

      Sorry it was too late for you but I think the conclusion would have been the same! Hope you like your phone!

  8. Sharon says:

    I have the Samsung Note, and it is huge and annoying. I will be switching back to the IPHONE, mainly because I work on a MAC and I love the connections that I can have with both. Yep, price sucks. But if you need a phone for work, home, kids, etc. I guess it is worth it, especially for how much we use it. I’m not sure if I should wait for the new phone that is supposed to come out in Sept/Oct. or switch sooner.

    In any event, ENJOY your new phone. It is money well spent (even thought it doesn’t appear so… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    • Revanche says:

      That’s good to know! I was second guessing myself for a while there because I hadn’t done much more than a cursory look at the Notes.

      But I do use it all day for work, home, kids, dog, etc.

  9. I’m pretty solidly in the iPhone camp, but I have some frustrations as well. It seems like my last couple of phones haven’t lasted as long as my old brick or flip phones used to. Do I sound like a dinosaur yet? “In my day, phones lasted for longer than 2 or 3 years!”

    I have debated switching away from the iPhone, but as much as I hate to admit it, I’m hooked now. I like the way the apps work, and I love the camera, which is pretty much the #1 thing I was looking for when I bought this phone.

    Size also matters. I have big hands, but women’s jeans have smaller pockets, so while my husband can cart around his enormous Windows phone, I can’t even come close to wedging that thing in my pocket.
    Pia @ Mama Hustle recently posted…What Financial Health Means to MeMy Profile

  10. Mrs. CTC says:

    Haha! I just left the dark side a few months ago and now I’m rocking a wonderful LG of around 200 bucks. It does everything I want it to do, but the memory kind of sucks. I’m considering spending a few euros on an SD-card to solve that.

    And photos did look a bit better with my old Iphone, however not worth a few hundred euros more.
    Mrs. CTC recently posted…Free Investing Advice – Lifelong Returns Guaranteed!My Profile

  11. SP says:

    My iPhone 5 suffered a weird death (stuck in recovery mode, apple store basically did nothing that I didn’t already try with my Googling efforts). Despite the failure, I might be joining you with the SE. The specs are rather impressive compared to the 6s and the 6s price point. Not bad at all. T is trying to convince me living with 16 GB is enough….. Hmm…

    Are you liking it so far?
    SP recently posted…Settlements, cars, house projectsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I am, to my great surprise. There are quibbles of course but for the most part I am pretty satisfied that I’m getting good use from it and am glad I’ve caught some precious memories with a good camera.

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