should I get a smartphone?

For the past couple months, I, like many of you, found the sultry iPhone 6 commercials very alluring. While my iPhone 4s is still in very good shape and serves me well, I immediately tried to calculate how many months I had until I could upgrade. Or, if I can’t upgrade, perhaps I can buy a slightly older model… or one with more hard drive space?

It was then I realized that I had been duped by smartphone fever. Smartphone fever is an acute illness brought on by unchecked consumerism. I’m sure many people may have felt this fever during Black Friday and Cyber Monday this holiday season. (I am happy to announce that I didn’t make a single purchase during that time period!)

The cure for this smartphone obsession was cured, somewhat, by seeing the price and the new wireless phone plans offered by Verizon, Sprint, and Ting. This led me to conduct research into whether getting a new smartphone is worth the money. The simple answer is basically, “NO!” Unless you don’t have a smartphone at all, in which I’d say, “how do you survive?!”

Wireless phone carriers have never been trustworthy, but the current market is appalling! I was absolutely livid with the new schemes which essentially force you to pay for a phone twice as Sprint’s ‘deal’ forces you to lease the phone for a monthly fee, or you can buy the phone for the full price; however, if you buy the phone outright, you will have to pay another monthly fee which may be more than leasing a phone. Basically, they are trying to screw over customers buy getting them to pay cash for no product and no extra service.

Of course, it should probably be no surprise since Sprint has always been the King of Thieves. I checked out Ting as well, which could offer cheaper service and no surprise fees. However, it only seems cheaper for those of you that don’t use your minutes very much. I actually still use the calling capabilities of a phone – which somehow surprises people in a world where FaceTime actually means ScreenTime. (Picture that guy at Starbucks rampantly texting on his iPhone while enjoying his scone to ensure that no one thinks he’s actually alone… so alone).

Finally, there is Verizon, who is my current carrier. Their offer is pretty much similar to what it’s been: buy the phone or pay for the phone over 24 months. As of late, they have a “new phone fee.” I don’t know how much they are extorting from their customers with that “fee,” but I’m not jumping to find out.

All in all, I long for the good old days of cell phones where pricing schemes were simple and straightforward. It seems like the obsession with having the latest gizmos and gadgets is allowing wireless service companies to fleece the public and charge insane data rates. Even updating your phone seems like a good idea, until you realize you are stuck inside another two-year contract.

Hence, I’ll continue preserving my iPhone 4s for as long as possible. Thank you OtterBox!

To those of you who simply must have the latest smartphone, just please be sure to read the fine print before you dish out cash and sign on the dotted line.


Happy Consumer-ing,

Nina Limardo

Author of I Am Mediaand Renegades Rising

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Below are people showing classic symptoms of smartphone fever!