Editorial Notebook

New phone fails to impress

I’m new to the world of so-called smart phones. Over the summer I “upgraded” from the original Samsung Gravity (released in 2008) to the Samsung Gravity Smart (released in 2011), if you can truly call that an upgrade. I had the original Gravity for five years. My friends teased me relentlessly over my “dumb” phone but I knew how to use it and it did everything I needed. Only at the end of its long, full life did I have any problems with it. But since upgrading, my phone has caused me quite a few problems.

I can’t entirely blame my phones for their problems; they suffer quite a bit of abuse at my hands. I dropped my poor, old phone countless times and I wouldn’t just drop it once. No, I would drop my phone on worst possible surface—gravel, tile, cement, etc., and immediately after picking it up, drop it again. It was as if my hands had been greased before picking up my phone. In addition to being dropped countless times, my phone also went through the washer once or twice and was even dyed in chemistry lab. While using it as a timer for an experiment, I noticed my once-white phone had turned dandelion yellow. After determining we weren’t using anything too dangerous, I cleaned off my phone, but the color stayed.

After five long years and many dropped calls, my Gravity eventually became too unreliable to use and I decided to buy a new phone. I liked how sturdy my first Samsung phone had been so I looked at Samsung phones online and stumbled upon the Gravity Smart, a newer model of my old, “dumb” phone. Knowing very little about smart phones, I decided, “eh, this one looks good enough” and ordered it on Amazon.

The first thing I did when I opened the package—drop it. I hadn’t even put in the battery yet! I was off to a great start. The phone had been in my possession for less than 20 minutes and I had already chipped the paint. After putting in the battery and charging the phone for a whopping two hours, I was ready to turn it on and see what all the fuss over smart phones was about. I couldn’t turn it on. I had to, for possibly the first time ever, read an instruction manual to figure out how to turn the darn thing on. Now, one would think it’d be as easy as pushing a power button, but no, that would be too simple. I have now forgotten what I had to do to turn it on for the first time but I remember it involved praying and an unhealthy dose of profanity.

When I eventually got the thing turned on, I had to spend the next few hours trying to figure out how to use basic functions. While scrolling through the four-page long menu, I was annoyed by the number of apps that came pre-installed on the phone. Why do I need all of these apps? Two months later, I still don’t know what a good number of the apps do. And, to add to my irritation, I can’t remove many of the apps I don’t want.

The next item on my laundry list of complaints is the touchscreen. The smallest amount of moisture renders the touchscreen useless. After washing my hands or showering, I have to dry my hands and then dry them again or the screen will malfunction. This leads to me furiously swiping on my phone, which results in the screen getting stuck between two pages then crashing. Also, the touchscreen does not work when my hands are covered, which means I’ll have to choose between my fingers freezing or using my phone in the colder months.

Additionally, I have been completely unimpressed with Swype. For a phone that’s supposedly smart, it does a remarkably poor job completing my sentences. No, I’m not ‘going rio the store.’ While my phone does have a slide-out keyboard, the buttons are so flat and poorly spaced that typing on it results in a garbled mess.

I understand part of the appeal of these phones is being able to easily use the Internet on your phone but for someone as impatient as me, using a computer is still the better option. Not only do the pages load sluggishly on my phone, but they can also be difficult to use, especially if they are not mobile-compatible. To top this all off, using the Internet on my phone drains the battery at an alarming rate.

I know not everyone suffers from these problems—my tech savvy friends can navigate my phone with ease. However, I just find it to be a headache. I can honestly say I miss my “dumb” phone and I would happily be the butt of my friends’ jokes if I could use my old phone again.