Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Goodbye Flip Phone - Welcome to the 21st Century

I can't remember when I got my Sanyo SCP-7050 flip phone. I'm guessing it was about 2007, but it could have been a year later. It wasn't too sophisticated and would not even take pictures, but it did have Bluetooth. I was able to use that through my GPS and intercom system to have hands free phone capability on the bike. It was also built to military spec and survived quite a few drops and other traumatic experiences.

By a strange coincidence, Sherm had the same phone. We didn't realize until we got together on the next trip. Great minds, I guess. It was a good phone as long as I didn't want any of the fancy on line features that came along with the Smart Phones. Hell, you couldn't hardly text except in an emergency.

While everyone else (including Sherm) was moving on to things with screens and browsers, apps and widgets, I kept trudging along since I hardly ever used my phone anyway. But recently, the old Sanyo showed signs of giving up. When fully charged, I would make a call and the phone would almost immediately show low battery. I don't know if it was the battery, the charging circuit or the read-out, but it was not worth fixing.

The choice for the upgrade was either Android or iPhone. Sandy already had an Android tablet and I haven't been a big fan of Apple's proprietary ways for years, so the choice was made. Biker had showed me his Nexus 5, a phone sold by Google (inventor of Android). I liked the look of it and also liked what he said about this running pure Android, which would make the roll-out of upgrades quicker and easier. As is the way with these devices, the Nexus 5 was obsolete after almost two years but the Nexus 5x was just released a couple of months ago.

I have been with Bell Mobility for twenty years. They sold the Nexus 5x at a reduced rate in return for signing a two year contract, but they only had the 16GB version, as did all the other providers who offered it. I went to the Google Store on line, ordered the 32GB version and a case, and received it two days later.

Now that I had the phone, I needed a provider. Luckily, there is a site that compares cellular providers across Canada. Bell, Rogers and Telus are all priced about the same. For $70, Bell will give you 1GB data and unlimited local calling or 500MB data and unlimited Canada-wide calling. The smaller providers, who also use one of the two tower systems across the country, are more competitively priced.

The comparisons can be difficult because the features differ a bit from company to company, but I was struck by the rates offered by PC Wireless. That is President's Choice, as in Loblaws, and they have a cell phone kiosk in our local Real Canadian Superstore. The basic monthly rate is $44 for unlimited Canada-wide calling and world-wide texting with pictures and video. There is a $6 discount if you bring your own phone. Data costs $10 for the first 500MB, another $10 for the next 500MB and then $10 per GB after that. But if you don't use the data, you don't pay for it.

Tessa, the PC Mobile rep in the kiosk, took my phone and put a mini-SIM card in it. Better her than me, the thing was tiny. Then she called bell and had my phone number transferred over. That's it, I was good to go.

For safety, I turned off the wireless data. I can turn it on if required but will rely on WiFi most of the time. No need letting the apps chew up bandwidth if they don't have to.

So I am in the 21st Century now. Feel free to text me anytime and watch for me checking in here and there on Facebook:-)


Linda G. said...

Bob recently upgraded from a Windows phone to a NEXUS 6P.

Jim "Skid" Robinson said...

I looked at the 6P but it was just too big physically for what I needed. Great phone, though, from all the reviews I read.