Smartphones are great! Betraying my age I would even say mobile phones are great! Being able to make calls on the go! And sending texts! My 20 year olds mind was blown away.
Let us not forget where we come from and take a little trip down memory lane with me.
I bought my first mobile phone when I was still a student because being a student in Belgium meant you had to go out in the rain and from a payhone call your mom at least once a week. Since all students had to do this this usually also meant waiting in line (did I mention the rain?) for other students to finish their call home. This at least gave you the excuse to keep the call short. After two years of this I was tired of the whole process and as the first one among my friends I bought a mobiel phone. Students didn’t have mobile phones in 1998! Hell, most students didn’t have a laptop back then. Some lucky ducks got an older model laptop from their father if that father was lucky enough to buy his own laptop from his work when that work upgraded to a new model. For all your computer needs the university had computer rooms.
I didn’t used that cellphone (a nokia 5110 which for the life of me I can not remember how much I paid for it) a lot because phone calls and texts were prety expensive back then. So I stil had an excuse to keep those calls to home short!
That Nokia 5110 lasted me until I went to work for a mobile network operator. Let me tell you, having access to free handsets an virtually unlimited network acces was a pretty nice company perk back in the early 2000’s! I stayed with that mobiel operator till 2006 and they did try to expand the capabilities of the phones/network but with very limited success. It just was all so cluncky… And then came the Iphone in 2007.
The birth of the smartphone era
The Iphone made a big splash believe me. Not immediately available in Belgium people asked other people going to the USA to bring them back one. I had a friend goind to the USA and she had like 6 orders for Iphones on her first trip and 8 or so on her second trip.
You might think I was among those ordering but no. I was actually pretty late to the whole smartphone revolution. One reason was that smartphones were really expensive back then (around 500 euro) another was that I really didn’t see the use. At home I had a desktop with a nice big screen which gave me access to the internet at ADSL speed. At work I had a desktop with a nice big screen which gave me access to the internet at even faster speeds. A smartphone had a small screen and the mobile network speeds were very slow then.
My first smartphone would be a refurbished Samsung Note 2 because it had a really big screen size and with edge/3g the mobile networks finally offered a somewhat decent speed. I think that phone cost me around 300 euro way back. Loved the big screen, never used the stylus.
I was hooked! I mean, I was already hooked to the internet and finally a truly mobile way to access the internet was available. I was so hooked that for my next smartphone I even bought a brand new flagship phone in the form of Nexus 6 from google and the price of 600 euro
It was a great phone and I enjoyed it a lot. When the battery started to falter I even thought about replacing the battery myself and coaxing another year out of the phone. But the headphone jack was already broken for a few months, the charging connexion only half worked and the volume button was starting to become pretty loose. It was time to look for a new phone. And altough the Nexus had been a great phone I felt 600 euro to expensive for a piece of tech that you will only use for 3 to 4 years.
Inflated flagship phones
The phone landscape had changed over those last few years. Where flagship phones used to be 600 euro, they had jumped up to 800 euro end then, finally topped the 1,000 euro! Honest to god, these are crazy prices! Especially because there are now a whole range of mid prized phones (and with mid-prized I mean around 300 euro, the Moto G range comes to mind) that are more than adequate for most peoples needs. Most people use their phone still for calling, texting (via whatsapp now, no more SMS,) some facebook and instagram and that is it! Most 150 euro smartphones are great for that. The 300+ euro smartphones are already hugely over spec’ed for most peoples uses.
And if you do need heavy duty spec’s beacuse you use your phone for a lot of stuff there are a lot brands challeging those flagship phones in spec’s at a lot lower price. Thing is, they do not advertise them all that much.
Huawei for example has a subbrand Honor that is a lot more affordable but is hardly advertised in Europe, although it is easily available in Europe.
You have to remember advertising is something compagnies do for the things they make the most money on. Which is never the thing that will give you the best value for your money. So look at the stuff they are not advertising. Like the Huawei honor series.
Now I am a pretty heavy user of my phone: listing to music via soundcloud or plex, managing my synology Nas from the phone, keeping tabs on our finances, reading books … So I had my eye on the pocophone 1 when it appeared on the smartphone scene because it offered incredible technical spec’s at a pretty low price. So I was on the look out for either the pocophone 2 or an even lower priced pocophone 1 because of the launch of the 2.
But Xiaomi decided to kill off the pocophone subbranded and released it as the Xiaomi Mi9 (named Redmi K20 in the rest of the world I think). Luckily for me they also launched a slightly cheaper version with the Xiaomi Mi 9t (I really couldn’t justify the pro version even if it was only 50 euro more expensive).That is what I ended up buying for 353 euro. With a great battery life, brillant screen and already three camera’s on the back I really can not think of anything more I would want from a phone. Yes, perhaps an even bigger screen. But if I need a bigger screen it usually means I am going to do some work and then I still rather use the desktop than my phone.
Different levels of frugal
All of this goes to show there are a lot off different levels of frugal. For me, with all the use I get from my smartphone a 350 euro phone is pretty frugal. Especially compaired to the current 1,200 euro flagships out there. Others will consider this still an extravagance and stick with more basic smartphones for a 150 euro’s. And then you have the true weirdo’s who will go without a smartphone completely! But that’s just crazy 😉