It amazes me how a device that served such a very little use when I was in high school is now an essential part of life. Cell phones have conquered the world for better or worse. They’ve brought with them some amazing apps, some stupid apps, cameras in our pockets, instant messaging, and a constant connection to the outside world. I’m still not convinced its all for the best, but there is no argument- cellphones are here to stay.
I’ve had a cell phone since about early 2001. My dad got me one to have on me when I started working, and since then, I’ve had one near me pretty much everyday over the past twenty-two years. I was thinking back at all the different phones that became an intricate part of my daily life, and thought it would be fun to revisit them all.
My first phone was the infamous Nokia 3310, also known as The Brick. The Nokia 3310 has become an internet meme over the past few years, due to its ruggedness. The thing was truly indestructible. It didn’t have a lot going for it over than an awesome version of Snake, but interchangeable face plates, small form factor, and great reception made this my all-time favorite phone. I think I would miss texting, but if I could, I’d own this beauty again.
I remember when cell phone releases weren’t a big deal. There really wasn’t much to them. I decided I wanted to upgrade my phone, so I went to the Cingular store, got my own account, and picked out this durable little sucker. I carried this phone for four or five years, and it worked well the entire time.
I got frustrated with paying $50 a month for a cell phone bill. Recently, I found a journal entry I wrote bitching about it. Now of course, $50 is super cheap! I decided to ditch my longtime carrier Cingular, and try out Virgin Mobile’s pay as you go plan. I bought a cheap flip phone, which was the equivalent to what I already had. It didn’t work nearly as well, and after four or five months I was back looking for another carrier.
I made the switch to Sprint, after getting on their employee referral plan. I didn’t know any employees, but I looked up an email address of the executives and plugged that in and it worked. For $29.99 a month, I got unlimited everything. It was fantastic! I picked up this phone, and man was it slow. I didn’t have much experience with Palm before, but I did like all the options the phone had, and the stylus too. The phone was great to hold, and served me well. I was happy to ditch it after two years though.
I wanted something different, smaller, and that had a full keyboard still. I ran across the newly released Samsung Reclaim that was made of recycled materials. I liked the whole save the planet motif, and the phone folded up to be extra small. I signed a new contract, and brought my new phone happily to work the next day. It took just a few minutes before the jokes started coming in. If I remember correctly, they said my phone was a tree frog, and belonged in a pond.
LG Rumor 2
I wanted something I could text a little faster on and I found a used LG Rumor 2 on eBay for $30, and ordered it. The phone got me through some tough times, and became a great texting phone.
Apple iPhone 4
Only a couple months after getting the LG Rumor 2, I got an iPhone 4. I always wanted an iPhone, but I only got this one out of necessity. After getting divorced, I was living with my mom and I wasn’t able to use their internet. That made paying bills and doing regular internet activities impossible. I needed a way to take care of business, so I broke my Sprint contract, and got an iPhone.
I liked it a lot at first. It was a decent phone, felt good in the hand, and was a life saver many times. Over time, I really wanted something that could do a little more and offered more customization. I knew an Android would be next.
Samsung Rugby Pro
I decided to move over to an Android phone, and picked out the Samsung Rugby Pro. I wanted the Rugby due to its waterproof and unbreakable design. I knew that I was rough on phones, and I loved the idea of not having to worry about it.
The Rugby ran great for a while. It wasn’t really stacked with power or memory, so the Android updates stopped pretty quickly. The phone then became bogged down and was just way too slow.
Samsung Galaxy S3
I inherited this S3 with a broken screen so I ordered a new piece of glass for $5 and installed it. Surprisingly, it worked pretty good. I had to install a new launcher on it to keep it running fast, but it was an upgrade from my Rugby Pro.
The S3 lasted quite some time before I was in need of something different. I switched carriers to T-Mobile and that was the final straw. The S3 was just too out of date and struggled trying to manage on T-Mobiles network. I needed something with Wifi calling just so I could get a signal at work, so I purchased a LG Stylo from Walmart for $120. The phone worked well, but man did the camera suck. I regret not buying a camera when I went to Wizard World Chicago, because my pictures turned out like crap!
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
I came home so frustrated with my terrible pictures from Wizard World, I swore I’d get a new phone. Best Buy happened to be running a decent promo so I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from them. It was a fantastic phone that lasted me well over two years and made me realize how much better owning a flagship phone can be vs. a budget phone.
Nokia brought back a new version of their popular Nokia 3310, which just so happened to be my first (and favorite) cell phone. I decided to buy one to use as a weekend phone, just something to help me disconnect from the world a little bit.
I had a lot of fun carrying such a lightweight device and it felt like a tool, not a toy the way smartphones do. However, when I switched carriers from T-Mobile to Verizon, the phone didn’t support the Verizon network. So, that ended my fun little experiment with going old school.
Google Pixel 2 XL
After pushing three years, my S7 Edge began running a little slow and my charging port had some problems. One day, I grew frustrated with jiggling the charging cord so I went straight to Verizon and took advantage of a crazy deal on a Google Pixel 2 XL.
Sadly, the phone didn’t last me near as long as I hoped it would. I got less than two years out of it before Google stopped pushing updates. Then my power/unlock button began to fail. I tried to keep the phone working by utilizing options in the Accessibility screen, but it was just too much. I ended up throwing my phone in the backseat after I got a flat tire and I wasn’t able to look up tire shops. I managed to get my tire fixed and then went straight to Verizon.
I honestly never saw myself buying another iPhone. Being locked in Apple’s sandbox just didn’t appeal to someone like me who likes to customize everything. But over the past several years, I’ve slowly lost more and more respect for Google. I realize they are monetizing me and everything I do and while Apple isn’t a whole lot better, they are the lesser of two evils.
In the fall, I got an iPad for my birthday. It’s been a terrific gift that really allowed me to re-familiarize myself with iOS. As my Pixel 2xl died a slow death, I decided it was time to jump back on the Apple bandwagon and honestly, I don’t regret it. Sure, I miss a handful of features and there are some things Android does better (the control of various sound levels sticks out) but overall, I feel a bit more secure in iOS and a bit more organized.