As someone born at the tail end of Generation X, I have a love affair with technology. In particular, I am reliant on my smartphone. It keeps me in touch with my family and work. It allows me to keep track of my kids, it allows me to access my work computer via tethering. I can play games, keep abreast of news, take pictures of anything.
The first smartphone I can remember owning was a Samsung Blackjack. Running Windows Mobile, in some respects I miss it. A physical keyboard, decently sized, it was very nice. I then had another, an AT&T 8525 made by HTC. These two were pretty good smartphones for the time, more like PDAs than what we would associate today. Then came the iPhone. The first one was a hand-me-down that I sold shortly thereafter to get an iPhone 3G. Then my wife got the 3GS. Then I got the 4. The 4, to this date, probably remains my favorite phone of all time. The design, the timing…it just all came together perfectly.
It might have been partially due to that reason, the relative perfection, that I decided it was time to try something new. I was tired of iOs, and more often than not wanted to jailbreak the device to add functionality and form. That, and the size was becoming cramped in an increasingly expanding market. The keyboard was becoming uncomfortable to use, and I was fat-fingering letters all the time.
Apple wasn’t going to increase the size (yet), so I switched over to a Samsung Galaxy S3. Android was a completely different world, as was having a removable battery again and expandable storage. Both of those things were important to me at first, but faded over time. I went through a different device what seemed like every few months. The glass cracked on the S3, and unlike the iPhone, was nearly impossible to replace on my own. So when the HTC M7 launched, I had one. Then I had a 2014 Moto X. This might be a tie with the iPhone 4 as my favorite, because I could customize it and it had software modifications that made it indispensable. Unfortunately the updates were a bit slow, and I wasn’t impressed with the direction Motorola was going down. I wanted another stock Android experience, so I went with the Nexus 6P.
It wasn’t long before the iPhone 7 launched, and it gained my interest. The hardware was sleek, and although I think iOS isn’t as good as stock Android, I can’t lie and say the experience inside the apps is worse. The accessory ecosystem is also better. So, I ended up buying an iPhone 7+ last month. I sold my 6P, my Nexus 7 tablet, and my Moto 360 smartwatch and earned enough to pick up an iPad Pro 9.7. I officially am back full time with iOS.
Even though the experience hasn’t changed much in the three or so years since I left, it still feels like a new experience. I’m getting back used to things as I was before, and I do notice some of the limitations, like assigning default applications. But I just got back from a trip to the Orlando theme parks, and I was extremely happy with the battery life I got, thanks to a bit more strict resource management iOS employs. I also enjoyed how well the camera just worked, something that really disappointed me about the M7 when I went to San Francisco. I kept finding that Android devices would do a lot of things well, but would always fall short in one area. The 6P probably came the closest to fixing that, but I would still occasionally burn through battery too quickly. The Moto X and M7 had horrible cameras. The S3 had horrible software, TouchWiz. Whereas it seems like the only downfall to the iOS devices is the simple nature of the layout. I decided I could deal with that again, so I switched. So far, I’ve been happy.
Change for me lately doesn’t just end with my device choices. After seven years with Comcast as my internet and basic cable provider, I switched to AT&T Fiber. Even with a 1TB cap, I had come close in December to breaching it. I also felt I was paying too much, particularly with the TV recovery fees attached to my “free” local channels. Unfortunately with the cap I couldn’t stream a whole lot more to ditch the locals, so the solution was to sign up for fiber when it finally came available. I’m getting better speeds, no cap, and a cheaper price. I bought a flat antenna to help replace the local channels, but I’m still looking for a foolproof solution there. Perhaps a big outdoor antennal at the roof line. This change is saving me about $13 a month.
I also changed my cell provider in the last two weeks. I had been with AT&T since 2005, but just switched over to T-Mobile with their newest promotion. I was paying $135 for three lines of 15GB shared internet, but now I am paying $112 for unlimited internet for those same three lines. I will also be adding a fourth free line this weekend. That’s an additional $23 in savings a month, even more if I wanted to count that fourth line, which would have been at least $20 more on AT&T plus less internet usage. The combined savings of home and mobile internet/phone nearly pay for my new phone. EDIT – I just got my first T-Mobile bill and it’s actually $92, because you can get $10 back for each line under 2GB of usage. So this month, my brand new phone is paid for vs what I was paying before just off the cell bill.
What the moral of this is to not be afraid to make what might seem like fairly big changes, particularly when there really isn’t any consequences. I am under no contract with either of my phone or internet changes, and only am locked into a monthly payment on my phone, but it can travel to almost any network. The payment is also no added cost to paying it in full, and I can do so at any time. I am also subscribed to a few streaming services that I could drop on a month’s notice, should I need to. I’m on the lookout for what gets me the best deal, and am no longer afraid of what the alternative would be. It suits me best to get the best deal as a free agent for all of my services, and so far it’s working well.