(Note: I have added a “notify me of follow-up comments” feature)
I decided it was time for me to emerge from the cave and get a personal mobile phone. I was going to text, access the web, and send excruciatingly cute and artsy photos and video to all my friends — from anywhere!
I went with a text and data plan from Verizon, because along with my work phone I get a 17% discount on all things Verizon Wireless. It was going to set me back about $30/month for unlimited access. In a pinch I could make a voice call, but it would cost $0.40/minute.
Take note: this was not for a smartphone. I had carved out a monthly allowance for this, my first personal mobile phone, by cutting back in a few other areas. The minimum plans for smartphones easily doubled that amount.
I went with the well-reviewed and nicely-priced LG Octane, and a royal blue protective carapace. After an online discount and the break I got, it was mine for roughly $40, and the activation fee was waived.
My first message was to my best buds, announcing that they now could reach me anywhere, anytime. Moksha and I even volleyed photos of our respective children as they prepared for bed one night. It was, as I predicted, excruciatingly cute.
I quickly became accustomed to the pop-out keyboard, and was surprised to find the phone doubled as a capable mp3 player. It also took 3.2-megapixel photos and tiny videos that were acceptable for a phone. Web use was clunky and a bit slow, but I could check favorite websites and manage my web-based e-mail accounts anywhere I could get a Verizon 3G signal.
Which is to say, everywhere except our house. If it had supported wi-fi, then this would not have been a problem. As it was, however, when I actually wanted to use the phone at home, functionality was spotty at best. At work the signal was phenomenal, but I certainly didn’t have time to use it there besides on my lunch hour.
I also found that most of my friends didn’t have time to sit around texting one another, and that the phone was not going to work as the portable writing device I had hoped it would be. For any amount per month, it just wasn’t worth it.
In the end I returned the phone and got a full refund. It felt strange to return a device that was genuinely fun and easy to use and was working fine.
For Christmas, however, I got a device that does much more than I ever hoped the phone would do, and carries no monthly fee. In fact, it has contributed to my recent desertion of this space. Now that the discovery period is over, I hope to remedy that.
More on that amazing little device in my next post.