All entries for Thursday 13 November 2008

November 13, 2008

Only the dotty buy into new technology

I bought a new phone on Monday. I didn’t have much choice. Sunday had seen me take it out in the rain shower to end all rain showers, and despite wearing a waterproof coat and, you know, trousers, it’s dead.

I went first to Argos. I hadn’t taken leave of my senses, but this was the geographically closest shop that sells mobile phones. They were, predictably, overpriced. There was also no chance of negotiating – buying a mobile is a lot like buying a car. Don’t pay the sticker price, or you’re a mug.

Then I tried the Orange shop, which helpfully seems to have a policy of not displaying its prices ANYWHERE. Not next to the phone, not on a poster, not even in the catalogue. As much as I love to strike up a conversation with a twenty-year-old man with a bit too much facial grease, I moved on.

I went next to O2, which happens to be the network I’m on. Here there are still prices on display (what an old-fashioned idea). I was courted by a very good salesman (i.e. he didn’t get told to bugger off like normal) and soon I was under his spell.

There’s just one thing… I had no intention of going on a contract. I didn’t want a Blackberry. I don’t need an iPhone, nor am I stupid enough to pay several hundred pounds a year for something that costs £80 to make.

No, instead I spent the grand total of £4.

Yes, there was a half-hour period where I thought “What have I done”? That quickly subsided. Not only was this a financially miniscule gamble, but the Nokia 2630 (right) is, for £4, an absolute miracle.

First, I should explain how I came to pay £4. You see, the phone costs £30 on Pay as you Go. But thanks to my loving relationship with O2, I got a £26 discount on any phone I wanted. Naively, the shop assistant was hoping this might help trim a little bit of money off a Nokia N96. No, not so stupid. I bought the cheapest phone they had.

And yet… it still does everything! More, in fact, than the £120 phone I destroyed while doing a raindance.

I can check my e-mails on it by pressing one button! It doesn’t push my e-mail like a Blackberry does, but I can get it to check it every 5 minutes if I’m feeling especially lonely. Two buttons gets me to Twitter or Facebook applications. I can read blogs through Google Reader too.

It has an FM Radio which the dearly departed phone couldn’t even manage.

True, it doesn’t have an MP3 player. I, on the other hand, do. I actually saw someone with one of those Nokia Xpress Music phones the other day. She was texting with it while listening to her iPod. There’s a lot of wasted electronics going on there.

What I’m saying is, while I love new stuff, a) do I need it? and b) is it worth paying 5000% more for?

When I eventually ruin this phone, I’ll shed a brief tear for the £4 it cost me. And then go and buy another one. For roughly the same amount. Give it a year and that £4 phone will probably levitate.

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