How do you solve a problem like the smart phone industry?

My phone is dying. Again.

I’ve got an iPhone 7 and I bought it second hand in 2019, very good quality guaranteed, with a 6 month warranty on it. Almost 6 months later, around about this time last year, just after losing mum, just as the epidemic was becoming a pandemic but before lockdown, the screen went blank and would not come back on.

After a bit of a faff, I sent it off for repair under warranty and a week later got it back repaired. Then seven months later, November last year, the battery died and I had to send it off to repair again, and pay for the privilege. To be fair, my phone was back with me within the 7 day time frame.

But here we are again, just months after the last repair, facing battery health failure, with apps randomly closing on me and, weirdly, sometimes missing calls because it lowers it’s own volume to really, really low. Dr Internet tells me this is a memory problem, conspiracy tech wizards tell me it’s Apple deliberately making the phone act dysfunctional and also Apple updating the apps to run beyond the capacity of the battery. And a quick browser search about Batteries shows that once a battery starts dropping quality, you get n into a vicious cycle. You need to charge your phone more, but charging it more frequently means it’s power cycling more frequently, and doing more damage to the capacity of the battery. Neat!

I’ve tried the usual fixes, or if not fixes then tricks to stave off battery death as long as possible, and this is still the outcome.

So clearly my options are either send it for another repair or buy a whole new phone. And I’ve got to say, I’m leaning towards the latter. But… It’s not that easy.

I’ve got small hands, I can’t just buy any new good model on the market within my price range, I need to be able to hold it comfortably! I had the galaxy S4 mini and that was just a bit too wide in my hand for me to hold, and when I got the slimmer Iphone 5s it was perfect and I felt like I should have just got that in the first place, but unfortunately when the big update was coming through that finish off a bunch of apps, i didn’t want to risk having a smart phone that wasn’t so smart, so I upgraded to the 7. It is just on the brink of comfort. Noticeably bigger than the 5s but not as big and awkward to hold as the galaxy S4 mini.

I don’t think I want to continue on with the iPhone family. I know there’s the iPhone 12 mini and that the size is perfect, but I’m not too fond of the company. I mean I never was, I bought the phone out of necessity, and same with the 7; But just how long will I be able to use the next phone before Apple decide it’s too old to support, too old for their brand and do something to make it unusable?

One of my friends has a Pixel. It sounds like a nice, reliable phone, but all Pixels are too wide for me to hold.

I am not too sure about them, but I did consider maybe a second hand Huawei. Because despite what my parents thought, the tech being second hand isn’t automatically the problem here. But even if I could see past it’s questionable reputation, and dodgy description of awe-inspiring zooms when you take into account actual zoom Vs digital zoom (aka cropping), I’m still stuck on the size aspect. I looked at videos which compared the p8 lite, p9, p10, p20, p30 and one of the Ys, all to the iPhone 7, and they were all just too wide.

I wouldn’t consider a Windows Phone unless I was being paid considerably, and that would have to be on a wage, not just a one off lump sum.

And I don’t think it really leaves any other smart phones, does it?

So I considered a Nokia. Did you know that a couple of years ago, Nokia released an updated version of their old inside classic 3310? I never had one but not for lack of interest. Well these new sleek, updated versions are lovely little things and come in a few different colours for a reasonable price of £49.99. And in all honestly, I recently bought a tablet (which makes the phone situation even worse because my phone use has gone down with using the tablet, and it’s sitting there needing to be charged twice a day!) so that means most of the smart phone stuff has been done on that instead. So really, how much do I need a smart phone anyway?

I’ll probably be given this answer when the pandemic is over, when I’ll leave the house and remember exactly what I used my smart phone for, because for the last year, it hasn’t been used for more than music and Instagram “forever scrolling”.

Camera? I have a camera, it’s been a bit neglected over the last couple of years, but I do have one. Music? Well… Yeah actually, I have my mum’s iPod and I wouldn’t mind going back to that, I suppose, as long as Apple don’t kill it off through having to hook it up to iTunes to put music on it. But also…

I remember my Walkman Phone very fondly… I havent needed an additional source of music alongsides my phone since I bought that little thing, apart from the few months between phones, when I went back to a little basic 9pad phone that didn’t take music, (Or have internet, or even have a camera) and had a few hospital appointments, so I borrowed my mum’s iPod until I got the iPhone 5s. And by coincidence, someone had reviewed the updated 3310, and after watching the review for that, the next one was their review of the 5310 aka the Nokia phone that had dedicated media player buttons.

And I have to say, the temptation to replace my smart phone with some retro inspired non-smart tech is very very high. I mean I’m 90% here, that when I can’t keep going on with the iPhone 7, I will buy this Nokia 5310. The only thing stopping me is the bloody 9pad.

I can’t stand 9pad and I changed over to a BlackBerry as soon as I could afford to, so that I didn’t have to deal with one ever again. And I loved the BlackBerry phones I had! The first one, 8900, was a full expensive one, the second one, an 8310, was a refurbished one. It was amazing! There might have have been a character limit in the texts but if there was, I never reached it! My only limit was my Tarrif. I think it came with 300 texts, and 5 texts would pay for a photo message. They were a bit chunky in the hand but I think it was the shape and maybe the weight of it that made it easy to hold.

The few times I’ve had to go back to my little basic phone with the 9pad, I’ve quickly remembered how that’s the one drawback of a basic phone, and returned to the smart phone ASAP so that I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

I looked into what we’ve got in the market these days for full Qwerty keyboard phones, which aren’t part of touchscreen, and unfortubately there’s not much. There’s the latest blackberry’s, and that’s it. Back in the 00s, integrated qwerty keyboards you could slide out or pull out were all the rage, but the touchscreen market was too big a competition for them, and they became outdated and unwanted.

Except I’m writing this in 2021 wishing for them to make a comeback, because they are not unwanted. I want one! It would be perfect. The slim build of a 00s clamshell phone with a full on qwerty keyboard that slides out!

I think my only hope is waiting to see if Nokia bring out an updated version of one of their’s, in their quest to bring us back the old favourites, but whether my iPhone can last that long is anyone’s guess.

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