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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cell Phones, Smart Phones, Old Flip Phones...Oh My! - Which Is The Most Useful?

The "Entertainment Center"
    Well, the time has finally come for me to replace my aging Motorola cell phone. I've had it for about 6 years(!) and it's beginning to have difficulties with the latest apps and shortened battery life. Since the battery isn't easily replaceable (not impossible though) and I would like a slightly bigger screen for reading, I have decided now is the time to find a new phone. As many of you have guessed, I tend to research things to death before making a decision. My search for an RV took 2 YEARS! Back in the distant past, I had every model of StarTAC flip phone up to the last 7768 model. I would still have it but for the fact Digital911 services weren't compatible and I got forced to swap. I had a couple of tiny semi-smart phones then settled on my next phone (a Windows Mobile HTC Imagio from Verizon) that lasted until 2012, "only 3 years." Here I am again looking to switch. Since I have been boondocking a lot and seldom (if ever) have hookups or WiFi, I rely on my phone to be my internet connection, so it has to be the right one. How to choose??? (No More Dongles!)

The New Phone!
I freely admit I am a technology aficionado. I got used to having a smart phone. A smart phone is really a tiny hand held computer. There are so many useful applications that I use, I would be lost without it. Literally! I use the GPS that's built-in on a regular basis. It navigates great and the maps are always (mostly) up to date as they usually come over my cellular data link. I also connect via Bluetooth to my RV stereo and use it for speaking the directions and phone calls through the stereo system. Did I forget to mention music too? I've seen folks watching movies and TV on them, not my cup of tea as I prefer a BIG screen when I can get it. Oh, and books too! I keep a building-sized library worth of books on mine...wonderful! So what about this new phone? Is it going to be able to take the place of my old Motorola Razr M?  The short answer is YES! It's got a much faster processor and much better battery life, but the biggest trick is the 5.7" edge-to-edge screen. Amazing! Its resolution and clarity are fantastic and it's only 1/4" wider and a bit taller than my old phone...it's thinner too!

My Old Phone On Top Of My New One
Since I do a lot of reading on my device the jump from 4.3" to 5.7" screen is fantastic. And since the resolution is way better, things look crisper than before. This phone may let me stave off buying reading glasses for a bit longer. How's that for an unexpected bonus!

So who makes this modern marvel of technology? Well, if any of you are Android fans (no, not the robot kind...the phone OS!) you may be familiar with a guy named Andy Rubin. He essentially invented the Android OS while working for Google. He's left the company and started his own. They design and build (well the China factory does at any rate) their own phone. Called...well...the Essential Phone PH-1. Not a great name, but what's in a name anyway? Originally it was around $700, but has dropped to $449 lately and Cyber Monday had them for only $399. A lot to pay for a phone, but I don't upgrade mine very often so the finances work out fine. If you are/want to be a Sprint customer they have a deal for as low as $145! That is truly amazing for a device such as this.

Edge To Edge!
Since it isn't branded by any one carrier, it will work on all of them, Even Verizon's CDMA oddball network. GSM, TDMA, etc... They all work fine. For those of us that like tech, you can Unlock the Bootloader at will and have Root access to make changes to the OS. If that sounds like Greek to you...no worries, it works just fine without any tinkering and the company has been sending out updates in a timely manner. I've managed to move all my favorite applications and data to the new device and I am quite happy! I know, you can probably tell. Next, after I play with it for a while and get it just the way I like, I'll begin experimenting with the accessories that attach to the back. I've already bought the first one, a 360 degree spherical camera. I can't wait to take some photos for my article using that!  Stay Tuned!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"
www.thewanderman.com