In the spring of 2012, after enduring years of gentle mocking, I finally upgraded from my trusty flip phone and entered the modern world. One of my college tech-head buddies had semi-regularly bashed iPhones over the entire span of our friendship, and his advice and my childhood love of Star Wars ultimately convinced me to settle on one of Motorola’s Droids.
I warmed up to it pretty quickly. Web surfing on the go; updating Facebook at any given moment when witty statuses came to mind; the glorious, awe-inspiring miracle that is Dropbox… Why am I giving examples of how wonderful smartphones are? You have one too. You might even be reading this article on it right now. You understand.
Within three weeks, I found myself wondering how I’d ever managed to live without the thing, and cursed my tendency for late adoption of new tech. Since then, I’ve downloaded and deleted more games than I can count. Soundhound changed the way I keep track of music I want to download. Snapchat has provided a lot of laughs in the last couple months. Tinder… well, let’s just say I can’t flirt through text to save my life. It’s a fun ego boost, if nothing else.
But as my two year contract with Verizon winds down, I’m leaning toward going back to the flip phone.
I know, I know. I can already see the storm of rage and dismay approaching. Accusations of being a Luddite are about to start flying through the air, and at least one acquaintance will call me something along the lines of “uncool, out-of-touch dinosaur”. They’re probably right. I’m in bed by 10:00 most nights and care about saving for (early?) retirement — not exactly the conventional definition of cool.
But I don’t see the point in owning a smartphone anymore. As the novelty has worn off, I’ve realized that the only things I really use it for are checking emails and killing time entertaining myself. It doesn’t seem worth it to be paying for those.
Not that it’s an issue of money. To my eternal shame, I’m still on my parents’ family plan. The data only costs $30 a month on top of paying for talk/text — trust me, I can afford the damn phone. However, I don’t think that being able to afford something means you necessarily have to have it. Remember the uproar a few months ago when it came out that the owner of the Dallas Cowboys still uses a flip phone? Jerry Jones can obviously afford a smartphone, but he chooses not to have one. I’m not nearly stupid enough to attempt any claims of correlation and causation, but I do think it’s interesting that a man worth roughly $3 billion doesn’t bother keeping up with the newest tech. Meanwhile, some of the smartphone’s most ardent, diehard customers seem to be broke, underemployed 20-somethings.
Your monthly cell phone bill is more expensive than Jerry Jones’. That’s worth thinking about for a minute or two.
For me, it comes down to the issue of value: I don’t think I’m getting $360 worth of value out of my data plan every year. $30 a month isn’t much, but my budgeting skills are SOLID. I could make that $30 way more useful than it currently is. Put it toward a gym membership, or increase my grocery budget and eat a little healthier, or maybe just throw it in a savings/investment account and watch it grow.
The only thing of actual value that I get from my smartphone that a flip phone can’t deliver is access to email, and I don’t even need that.
I’ve never received an email that would have seriously messed up my personal or professional life if I’d waited 12 hours to open it. I’m not that important. I understand that some of you need that constant, instant email access for your jobs, even during off-hours. One of my friends is a small business owner who’s responding to emails and putting out fires until 8:30 or later most nights, even if he’s been home since 4:00. If I’m being honest, that looks stressful as all hell. Maybe my next job will require it, but my current one doesn’t, and I enjoy disconnecting in the evenings. I’m not opposed to longer hours in the future, but it would be pretentious to think that my ability to instantly access an email is a NEED at this moment of my career.
Everything I need to do online can be done on my laptop. Sure, banking on my phone is convenient, but it’s not necessary. As much as I like Snapchat, I can live without it. Every game I’ve ever downloaded has been a fantastic waste of time, and I’m not nearly cool or entertaining enough for Twitter and Instagram.
I don’t want to be completely connected every moment of every day. I recognize the importance of a cell phone in today’s world, but all the bells and whistles that we pay this extra money for simply aren’t worth it to me.
I’m more excited about a phone that I can drop without worrying about steep replacement costs. Do you remember being able to chuck our phones at walls without any consequences beyond needing to reattach the battery and cover after it exploded apart? Damn, could those things take a hit. And the battery life… A few hours of browsing on my current phone, and I’m down to 30% by noon. My last flip could take four days of heavy use on a single charge. That alone is worth the switch.
So give me the weird looks when you see my phone. Call me a Luddite. Judge me for being cheap. Pity me for all the amazing things you think I’m missing out on.
I’m going back, and nothing you can say is going to stop me. Sorry, Android.