Despite being an utter geek as regards computer hardware I’ve never really done phones. As long as you can call people, and read and send email I’m happy. Twitter and skype are nice, but not essential.
In fact I’m a complete luddite - in pre smartphone days I kept the same basic tri-band Nokia for six years, and was reasonably pleased with my Nokia E63 with its QWERTY keypad - if it wasn’t for the fact it didn’t work properly in the US, and that my service provider of the time never provided a decent roaming service, I might have it yet.
I’ve also never liked Apple phones, not only are they shiny things par excellence you’re buying into an upgrade cycle whereby you have to replace your phone every couple of years to get the best out of the latest OS etc.
So three years ago, I ditched the Nokia and bought myself a Samsung Galaxy SII. And I’ve got to say it’s been a nice experience. Things have more or less worked, and being unlocked I’ve swapped the SIM overseas for a local one with no problem.
But recently it’s started running out of space. Application bloat and too many pictures I guess. So the pictures went - they were all backed up on Dropbox anyway - and some of the apps installed on a whim and never used. And all was well - for a bit.
A few more updates, a bit more bloat, and here we were back again, running out of storage, an this time email stopped syncing reliably, which was a major pain.
Looked like it might be time for a new phone. Now, my contract has quite a good deal on data, so staying on my current contract made sense, especially as, with an overseas trip planned, having an unlocked phone was useful. So I checked my service provider’s website and basically I was looking at six hundred bucks for a new phone and to stay on my existing contract - jumping ship and going elsewhere was going to be at least a couple of hundred bucks more, which made even less sense, even if it did mean I could spread the cost out over a twelve or twenty four month period.
I also took a look at buying a grey market XiaoMi phone - they’re not officially on sale here but you can buy them from importers who get them from overseas distributors and they’ve had very good reviews, and they’re dual sim which is a definite advantage for travel.
However, I’d still have been looking at around four hundred bucks, which is probably a fair enough price given cost of phones locally, but more than I wanted to spend, and at the same time I didn’t want to drop down to one of the no name $100 android phones you can find on ebay.
And then I had a revelation - my phone has an SD card slot. Check the phone specs on wikipedia and I found it would take a 32GB micro SD Card - and you can get these on ebay for under $20. Move some of the less used apps and pictures to the SD Card, and hey presto - email started syncing and the ‘you are running out of storage’ message disappeared.
Now this isn’t a permanent fix. Like upgrading the memory in an old computer it just gets you a bit more time. Time to wait and see if my (or another) provider comes up with a good offer, time to research some of the grey market and cheap phone options. I probably havn’t bought myself more than another twelve months, but on the other hand twelve months for twenty bucks is not a bad deal …
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