To Smartphone or Not to Smartphone?

My Verizon contract expires this month, and I get the New Every Two credit.

I really want a smartphone.  I have no need for a fancy phone, but there you go.

Pros
+ Sometimes, I really want to look something up, and I can’t because I’m not near a computer or I don’t have any internet. Problem solved!
+ It would be good to have a backup in case something goes wrong with my computer again.
+ The Palm Pre Plus – which is on the very short list of phones I’m considering – has the capability to be a WiFi hotspot.  Which means that I’d never have to worry about finding a place to connect when I’m traveling. (There is also the possibility of it replacing our cable internet, but probably not until Chad starts working.)
+ I’d pretty much get the actual Palm phone for free with the NE2 credit.
+ The New Every Two program is sort of a ripoff if you don’t upgrade your phone as soon as the contract expires.

Cons
– You have to get a data plan, which would effectively double my $35/month bill.
– My current phone still works, and I don’t really use it that often anyway.  I’m just not a phone person.
– I’m not allowed to bring my phone into work, which means that the usable time is pretty small (unless I give up sleep).
– I don’t usually go outside my home in order to surf the internet, so having that capability isn’t going to be life-changing.
– I already have an iPod Touch, which would probably do all the cool stuff the phone would do if I paid $9.99 to be allowed to get apps.  I still would need a WiFi connection to take advantage of some, but $10 vs $700 is not chump change.
– Surfing the internet on small screens is incredibly annoying.

Logically, I know that getting the smartphone would be a financially impruent move (committing myself to $700 in payments over the next 2 years).

Still, I want shiny and I think that the benefits, while probably not worth the cost, might be worthwhile.  I’m on track to exceed my savings goals for the year, and $300 per year isn’t going to make or break anything.  In fact, I need to scale back my 401K contributions again, and that would probably cover the difference.

I’m looking for someone to talk me into – or out of – this upgrade.  Just don’t be offended if my lust for shiny toys outweighs your logic. 😉

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18 Responses

  1. Oh man, I feel you on this!

    I’ve been wanting an iPhone for years, but could never bring myself to get one.

    I have AT&T, but their service sucks (those commercials are bogus) and my contract is up.

    I’m thinking of switching to Verizon and getting a Droid. I hear the Droid Incredible is an iPhone “killer”.

    As for the cost, if you can afford it and it will a convenience, go for it!

    • I loev Verizon’s network, and my little sister had the Droid and just loves it.

  2. You wouldn’t be committing to $700 for just two years….you’re committing to a lifetime of it!! Because from what I hear, once you get a smart phone there’s no way you’ll want to go back to a lesser-intelligent phone!! Don’t do it! lol

    (To be honest, I’m just trying to make sure I’m not the last person on earth without a smart phone…I don’t have the heart to spend that much a month on a phone. Although your area seems to be way cheaper than mine. I’d love a $35/month bill!)

    • Well, I get a discount through work, so I think that takes $10 or so off the total.

      I also don’t want to be the last person without a smartphone! I feel like everyone I know has one already!

  3. Once upon a time, I thought that flashy smartphones weren’t worth it. Then I bought my first blackberry and seriously? LIFE. CHANGING.

    haha. well that’s probably dramatic, but I honestly use it enough to merit the extra data fee. It’s so convenient to be able to look things up on a whim. I look up directions if i’m lost, movie times, phone #’s. I use the Pandora app when I work out, I make reservations, I check my email more than a person should. When I’m bored, I log on to Gchat and stay in contact with people without wasting text messages. The possibilities really are endless.

    I know that smartphones aren’t for everyone, but they certainly are worth it for me. I’m upgrading to the Incredible next month, and I can’t wait!

  4. I actually went through the same thing awhile back. I went ahead and upgraded to a Blackberry, but I just downgraded back to my old phone a couple of months ago (after a year or two with the BB). I just didn’t think it was worth it in the end when there was so much more I wanted to do with that money. I wrote more about it over at my blog a couple months ago.

  5. 2 of your cons

    (- My current phone still works, and I don’t really use it that often anyway. I’m just not a phone person.
    – I’m not allowed to bring my phone into work)

    WAY outweigh the wants in my opinion.

    About 100 hours a week you’ll be sleeping or working, so why double your cell phone bill?

    I dont have those kind of restrictions about bringing my phone in to work and I still think the charge for data access is cost prohibitive for me. Its a shame you can’t test drive one for 2 weeks or a month before making that 2yr commitment.

    That said, if you value being “connected” whenever you wish, can afford it, and Chad is cool with it too, then do it. If after some time you decide it was the wrong choice, you may be able to cancel for a smaller fee after one year, check the contract.

  6. I think not being able to have my phone for 40 hrs a week (+ driving time… shouldn’t be using it) was a big reason I decided not to go for the droid.

    I’m an add on to my family plan for 10/mo, and it would be 40 month for a droid phone. I ended up getting an older smart phone that only cost 10/mo extra to use limited data.

    I like it because I now don’t get annoyed when I get a text (querty keypad), have google in emergencies (barely use it) and sometimes check my email while I’m out (completely unnecessarily). Or check it when my laptop is 10 feet away. So…. is it worth 10/month. Probably. But 30/month for something better? probably not to me.

    • That’s exactly my problem – I don’t know if I’d get $30 worth of use out of it. I’m online all the time, but I prefer to use a computer. I have an iPod Touch, and surfing on that is such a pain in the butt that I’d really rather not bother.

  7. I have the exact same pros and cons (except for the NE2 plan part).

    Honestly, if you feel you might use it, then go for it. Heck, it’s 2 years, but at least you know for the rest of your life

    My bro got the iPhone and he sleeps with it I think 😛 And he isn’t a big surfer…

    Other pros I can tell:
    – You can quickly check prices by scanning the barcode with an app and find the lowest price in your area

    – You can use it as a GPS (but sometimes Google Maps lies :\)

    – You can use email to talk to people with smartphones instead of calling them and save money. I know you can text message too, but I HATE text messaging (my phone is too tiny)

    – It’s just handy to be connected for when you need to find a store nearby for something

    Those are my main reasons for wanting a smartphone once I settle down in a city somewhere. I’ll get one. Just not right now when my life is too mobile & flexible to be pinned down to anything

    • Your last bullet nails it – it would just come in handy. I’m sure I’d find more uses for it, but nothing that I can really think of right now.

  8. I have a smartphone (BB) and I love it. However, since you can’t use it at work, it may not be a good choice for you, yet.
    You know you can text Google and it will tell you all sorts of info? “weather 90210 (applicable zip)” will give you 3 day weather forecast, you can text for stores in the area.
    466453 is the number. http://www.google.com/mobile/products/sms.html#p=default

    • I didn’t know that about the weather! Right now I pretty much just use Google text to check sports scores. I should probably look up the other ways to use it, though, because I know Chad used it once to look up directions.

  9. I also really want an i-phone; I’ve had my eye on one since they first came out, but couldn’t bring myself to spend that much! At the moment, I’m on a really low tariff for a nice, but now distinctly battered and low-tech phone. My current contract runs out in July, and I’m also debating whether it is worth the cost. I have seen reconditioned i-phones for a slightly lower fee, and am considering that option….

    • If I could get an iPhone on Verizon, there wouldn’t even be a question. I would already have it!

  10. Hmm. Based on your list, I’m not sure it’s worth the extra money to you. But it’s your decision!

  11. I am in the same boat. I really want a smartphone, but it’s not the financially prudent thing to do right now. I also know that once I go smartphone, I’ll never go back! 🙂

    • Yeah, I think I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll hold off on the smartphone at least until Chad finds a job and we have disposable income again.

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