diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 03, 2012

I left my phone at home yesterday morning.

I was three minutes down the road before I noticed. Something was missing from my pocket, a familiar bulge, not present. I could have turned around, nipped back indoors and picked it up, only marginally later than before. But I didn't, I thought what the hell and carried on. Unlike most people I can survive a day at work without my phone, no problem.

I knew what I'd done. I'd left my phone on charge overnight, out of plain view, and forgotten to pick it up. My battery only runs dry about once a week, so uncoupling's not a regular part of my morning routine. I hadn't felt the urge to check my phone the minute I woke up, nor over breakfast, as I'm sure many people do. Instead my phone would now lie useless on the floor all day, any urgent messages unseen. I doubt that the majority of Britons could have coped.

I survived my morning commute without feeling the need to tweet about the idiots I saw on the way. I lasted all morning without thinking to check if anyone had texted me. I survived lunchtime unable to check social media buzz in a private and portable manner. I headed home looking where I was going, rather than ambling along the pavement transfixed to a screen. And when I did finally get back, I completely forgot to look at my phone for a good two hours, so unimportant is it in my life. And when I eventually remembered to check, there were no messages, which is par for the course.

I'm not a big phone user, as you've probably guessed. I don't ring people up if I can possibly avoid it, and they tend not to ring me, for reasons that are probably related. I text, but not so often as to make a habit of it. I can send tweets, but I can't read any, which means you lot are occasionally shouting at thin air. I've sent a few dozen emails from my phone, when necessary, but never received a single one. I live in an entirely app-free world, because for me it's still 2007. And as for accessing the internet, that's not an outdoor experience I've ever had. You might call me behind the times. I might call myself unaddicted.

However, I'm aware that this cannot go on. I've had my latest phone for nigh on five years - five years! - which is an eternity for a mobile. It wasn't even cutting edge when it bought it, and it's well behind the curve now. Occasionally it falls unconscious and I have to take the battery out to revive it, and that's not going to work forever. There's so much my phone can't do which the rest of you probably take for granted, and people keep telling me I'm missing out. I fear the time for an upgrade is nigh.

But what to get? It's all got so ridiculously complicated these days. Do you want a telephone or a web portal? Should you get a camera that texts, or a hi-fi with wi-fi? Android or iPhone? 3G or 4G? Tablet or keypad? Unlimited or capped usage? Guess right and the world's your oyster. Guess wrong and you're trapped in a lengthy wallet-emptying contract with no means of escape. I've had conflicting advice, coupled with no advice at all, and I'm really not sure which way to go.

It'd be nice to have something I could blog from, occasionally, in the field. It'd be nice to have something that takes decent photos (because then I could bin the crap Samsung rubbish I bought recently). It'll be important to have something that fits in a trouser pocket, rather than needing a separate carrying case. I'm not going to be using it all day, so I don't need a wildly expensive all-you-can-eat contract. I've got used to paying as little as five quid a month pay as you go, that's been the recent limit of my mobile interaction, so I've no desire to lock myself into anything stratospheric. Something futureproof would be useful, to save me going through all this again soon. And I'm on Orange at the moment, and have been since 1998, so I'd need a big nudge to go elsewhere.

So I thought I'd abuse my online position and ask the experts. The cutting edge Londonfolk who exist only in a virtual world, and the everyday smartphone set, even the analogue naysayers. What do you reckon I ought to get? I reserve the right to ignore you. I reserve the right to wait a few weeks before taking the plunge. And I wholly and totally reserve the right to forget to take my phone to work just as I do now. But any advice, partisan or otherwise, will be gratefully received.

To help you, and to filter out the various possibilities, I've set up some bespoke comments boxes below. Please offer any thoughts or suggestions in the relevant pop-up. And feel free to use the usual comments box at the end of today's post for any overall recommendations, or thoughts, or whatever.

  • Android, Blackberry or iPhone? (33)
  • Which manufacturer? Or are they all much the same? (12)
  • Contract or pay-as-you-go? (14)
  • Touchscreen or keypad? (18)
  • 3G or not 3G? (12)

    I'll be fascinated to see what you have to say. I just won't be checking your thoughts while I'm at work today, obviously.

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