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Are smart phones worth it?
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Are smart phones worth it?

  #11 (permalink)
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I don't have one. The only time I need one is if I am out and want to look something up, which isn't very often. But then I just call someone on my regular phone and have them look it up for me. Equally effective.

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  #12 (permalink)
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I've got an Iphone 4S and wouldn't give it up. I mainly use it for web browsing, GPS, calls and itunes. It just beats having a separate phone, GPS ipod/mp3 and it means I can look something up on the fly when I'm out. Just convenience more than anything as with most things in modern life.

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  #13 (permalink)
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vegasfoster View Post
I don't have one. The only time I need one is if I am out and want to look something up, which isn't very often. But then I just call someone on my regular phone and have them look it up for me. Equally effective.

Well said ,

I bought this type of phone but one of the older version which has nothing in it only the basics + torch

Doro PhoneEasy® 510 | Doro - Easy to use mobile phones and telecom products for seniors

and the battery lasts nearly 3 weeks if you don't talk that much

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  #14 (permalink)
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lrfsdad View Post

I'm assuming a large part of the community here has a smart phone. I'm wondering if they are worth the cost vs. a regular cell phone. I don't have one, but my wife does. I use hers to mass delete my emails and that is about it. I have had my own business for a couple of years now, and I havent come across too many situations where one would be necessary. I'm also not on facebook, and I consider emails mail, meaning they don't need to be read instantly.
I guess I consider them more handy then necessary, more like a toy. Please comment on your experience.


1. Email, calendar, alarm
I agree that you should not try not to read your emails instantly when you're at your workstation, as it tends to interrupt your train of thought and result in poorer time management. That said, I've found it extremely useful to have the ability to reply to emails or check my schedule instantly at certain parts of the day, e.g. when I'm commuting, waiting for the plane to taxi, at lunch or dinner etc. - that's when the smartphone comes in very handy.

2. Browser, map and GPS
These have made a huge difference when I'm moving from commuting from place to place. I have to make work-related trips about twice per day and can't live without these.

3. Tethering
Tethering (USB, bluetooth, or carrier/hardware) is also extremely important if you fly very often. I've found about half of the domestic airports to have unusable Wi-Fi networks, including major hubs like JFK, ORD, DFW. It doesn't seem to be a problem on the west coast, nor BOS (which is unreliable maybe 10~20% of the time), but still a major time sink when you spend 15-30 minutes of your life each time trying to get a Wi-Fi signal.

4. Apps
I'm not sure about Milwaukee, but if you live in a large city like San Francisco, apps like Flywheel and Uber are very useful for transportation. The Bloomberg app is useful too. Any train, shuttle schedule or note-taking app is also hugely important. Honestly, that's about it. I don't use Facebook on my phone either - but that's because the Facebook app has been crap. It's slightly better on iOS but it's still crap.

rmejia View Post
Are you asking if the device itself is worth it or the additional $ for a data plan. I definitely would never go back to 90's dumb phones. I love the iPhone but it's expensive without a contract. The Nexus 5 seems to be reasonably priced, unlocked. You could just have the regular phone plan and use wifi for data.

Like most things, technology (smart phones) are probably not necessary (like food & water) but they are nice to have, it's a convenience for me. Though "worth it" is very subjective. $100 monthly for one person can be a lot, and for another not so much.

Big Mike View Post
You can get prepaid plans pretty cheap, I stopped using contracts a while ago and started buying my phones outright and using a prepaid plan, because it was far cheaper in the long run.

I am using an LG Optimus G Pro which I bought several months ago for $450 or so (much cheaper now), and a $40 a month AT&T pre-paid plan or so w/unlimited minutes and 2GB data. Plenty of data for me since I am on wi-fi 99% of time.

$100 a month plans are just expensive financing. If you plan to keep the phone for 1 year or more, it's cheaper to buy it outright, then sell it on ebay in a year for 50% of what you paid for it. You still come out ahead by not having a carrier based $100 a month plan.


Big Mike View Post
Looks like it is $60 a month now for unlimited minutes, texts and 2GB data on AT&T:
Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, GoPhone Plans, & Prepaid Smartphone plans from AT&T

Verizon also has $60 unlimited/unlimited/2GB:
Prepaid Phones & Prepaid Plans: Cell Phone Plans - Verizon Wireless

For data keep in mind you should be on wi-fi pretty much everywhere so 2GB should be enough for most people.

You can find better deals, check sites like Coupons and Deals: The hottest coupon codes and cash back forums where people post limited time deals. There are some special plans like as a "Wal-Mart" customer for example, etc, that you need direct links for.

Last, if you have a day job at a big corporation, many times there is special corporate rate pricing you can get, even just as an employee.


I'm considering the unlocked Nexus 5 with a prepaid plan too, but what I hate most about Android phones are their keypads. It's been annoyingly inaccurate even after years of practice. I don't use an iPhone but I've found it very easy to type on as soon as soon as I get my hands on one, without any practice. I can't tell if it's the hardware latency, the software latency difference between the Objective-C and Java native code, or the predictive algorithm on iOS vs Android.

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The prepaid plan is about $38.20 (200 MB) or $18.20 cheaper per month, and the phone is $250 (Nexus 5) to $450 (iPhone 5S) more without a contract, ignoring that you can resell the phone on eBay. This amounts to a $666.80 (Nexus 5), $466.80 (iPhone 5S), $186.80 (Nexus 5) or -$14.20 (iPhone 5S) savings, meaning that you are generally better off getting the plan anyway unless you make do with 200 MB. I'm willing to pay that $233.40/year differential for a keypad...

I'm still on my plan from a previous employer, I guess it saves 23% off the plan. Sprint has slightly better employee discounts than AT&T or Verizon, but the former has worse connectivity and coverage on its 4G network than AT&T/Verizon 3G.

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  #15 (permalink)
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thanks all for the discussion.

IMO it seems that people don't want to pay the additional monthly charge until they find that one app that makes it worth it for them. EX: my dad works outside and is an avid sporting clays shooter, once he found out he could get weather on his phone with radar, he was sold.......What is it with old guys and weather????

My wife takes alot of pics of our kids and can upload them to whatever site it is she uses to organize them. SHe also has a small glowing object to stare at while nursing at 11pm and 2am and 4am.......

My brother got one and says it's just a toy, and not really worth it, but he does like his facts and chicks app as well as chive

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  #16 (permalink)
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For about a year or more I patiently (and politely) hounded friends/associates for a hand-me-down (Sprint/Ting) smartphone because I didn't think I needed one. A generous person finally gave me and my mom their old phones and I proved to myself that I still didn't need a smartphone.

But I really do enjoy using it on WiFi: watching videos, browsing, radio (TuneIn), checking email (easier/lazier than using a computer).

But 2-year service contracts and "unlimited" data costs are not worth it to me.

This is where I highly recommend switching to Ting if you have decent Sprint coverage in your area. You pay for what you use. I pay $12-$15/month for my low usage. Find a free used Sprint phone, or cheap Samsung Galaxy S Epic 4G (Android Gingerbread, SPH-D700: $75) or low cost Samsung Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch (Android Jelly Bean, SPH-D710: $120). Prices are from Swappa. Model numbers mentioned are for Sprint/Ting only. Ting is now accepting certain Sprint iPhone 4/4S models.

Here's a $25 credit toward service or a phone! Feel free to ask any questions.

EDIT: Sprint is in the middle of a major network upgrade and will be turning up their 800Mhz spectrum any day now. This will greatly improve coverage and building/tree penetration for voice/text/2G/4G LTE (not 3G as of yet). Most all current Sprint phones being used support 800Mhz. If anyone is considering purchasing a brand new phone then I highly recommend Tri-Band LTE (Sprint Spark) phones: LG Nexus 5, LG G2, HTC One Max, Samsung Galaxy S4T, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, and Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3

Last edited by MrYou; November 7th, 2013 at 01:14 AM.
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  #17 (permalink)
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My main reason for having a smartphone is I can check prices and trade when I can't be at the computer. Trading apps are great now.

But weather and maps are much used things too.

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  #18 (permalink)
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  #19 (permalink)
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I just upgraded my hand-me-down 3 year old Sprint Samsung Epic 4G to CyanogenMod which is a community developed Android Jelly Bean variant. Man what a difference! Its like I got a new phone! I can't wait for Android Kit Kat!

CyanogenMod is making news recently with their Windows-based installer. Be very careful before taking the leap. Depending on your phone not all carrier functions may be available. But if you have a really old Android Gingerbread phone or tablet I would put some effort into researching it.

Last edited by MrYou; November 18th, 2013 at 02:34 AM.
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  #20 (permalink)
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The Big Picture Question is

A full-featured Android phone can now be bought on Alibaba for $35. Given the price trend, that means that within a couple of years all 8 billion humans will have a fully-Internet equipped, sensor enabled mobile computer within reach. What will that mean for humanity?

Personally, as traders, I believe we should strive to be early adopters. We should be ready to shake off our fossilized notions about technologies, even ones that we are attached to, and turn on a dime to embrace the new.

I am not an early adopter by any means, and my first iPhone was my fourth smartphone. Now I have an iPhone5, and although I love it dearly, it's practically perfect, nevertheless I wish I could upgrade to a 5S, because I need to understand the implications of the several new groundbreaking mobile technologies the 5S contains.

That is, I believe it is very important to understand mobility.

The way you understand is by getting skin in the game.

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