Smartphone Geekiness!

This story begins when the Apple iPhone 4 was the current model. I was doing taking several fishing trips each year living out of my van. For business purposes it was important that I have access to the

Internet and the most readily available service was via my cell phone. It required that I have a cell phone that was capable of tethering to a laptop. Tethering (or hot spot as it’s now known) is a service the cell phone provider sells and it requires a cell phone that’s capable of this function.

So, before I left on a trip to Florida I went to the AT&T store in Chillicothe and asked them to show me all the phones that would tether. I emphatically said that tethering must be a feature of whatever phone I purchased.

I ended up buying a nice little smartphone made by HTC. Next day I headed for Florida and someplace along the way discovered that my new phone wouldn’t tether. I stopped someplace and did some research about the phone model and found it in black and white that tethering wasn’t one of its features.

So, I called AT&T and told customer service my story. The only option they offered me was to buy a phone that would. They also refused to let me return my existing phone for a refund.

When I arrived at Pinellas Park, FL I went directly to an AT&T store and ended up buying an Apple iPhone 4 and made the clerk prove to me it would tether to my laptop before laying my credit card on the counter.

It worked fine and I was able to keep up with my business obligations while fishing. On the drive back to Ohio I decided I had nothing better to do than bitch at AT&T’s customer support. So I dialed 611 and had at it. I explained that this whole thing was their fault for providing me the wrong information and I thought I deserved some relief. While they still wouldn’t permit me to return the phone for a refund the agent did agree that I should receive some kind of credit on my bill. After talking with her boss she came back and offered me a $150 credit and I was permitted to keep the HTC phone. I agreed to this and when I returned home I took a photo of the almost unused phone and sold it on eBay for close to $300. This with the credit equaled more than what I had spent on this entire fiasco so I was happy.

This meant I had a brand new phone plus a little extra cash and it hadn’t cost me anything. Two years later when my contract expired and a new phone was being promoted I could pay $200, renew my contract, and get a new state of the art phone. I would then sell the old phone on eBay for far more than I had in it and actually make a profit. I did this through the Samsung Galaxy S4, S5 and S6. Then AT&T changed their method of doing business.

Today you don’t get a phone with your contract. Instead you have to directly purchase a phone and pay a monthly payment fee over a period of years. If don’t want to do this you can just keep using the phone you have or go to some place like Best Buy and buy an “unlocked” phone at a reduced price and have it activated for your AT&T data plan. By the way, this same thing is true with the other major providers, not just AT&T.

When my current contract ran out I decided to just keep the Galaxy S6 I’d been using and not upgrade to anything newer. But on a fishing trip this spring the phone was destroyed by getting soaked in a heavy rainstorm. So I would still have a phone I went to a Walmart and bought a Samsung Galaxy Express 3 GoPhone. This cost about $80 and Walmart swapped out my existing SIMs card and voilà, I could call home again.

Alcatel OneTouch
Alcatel OneTouch

This was a nice phone but not what I was accustomed to.  I later went to Best Buy and purchased an unlocked Galaxy S6 for $450. This worked great until recently it stopped working. Currently it is at Samsung for warranty repair and for the meantime I went back to Walmart and bought a Kyocera Hydro GoPhone for $80. Not as good a phone as the Samsung Express and the display almost immediately began dimming to the point of not being able to read it.

Yesterday I went back to Walmart, got a refund, and purchased an Alcatel OneTouch GoPhone. Well, let me tell you. This phone costs $89 and could be the best cheap smartphone in the world. The specs are:

  • quad-cord cpu
  • 16gb memory
  • 2gb ram
  • 5.5″ display
  • SD slot for memory expansion
  • 8gb and 2 gb cameras
  • Android 5.1 OS
  • slim and light weight
  • capable of rapid charging

The specs are almost as good as my Galaxy S6 and if I didn’t already own the S6 I could be plenty satisfied with this Alcatel OneTouch. Matter of fact. My wife is using a Galaxy Express and when my S6 returns I going to swap SIMs cards and make my wife’s phone the Alcatel.

Watch out eBay, there’s a Galaxy Express headed your way.

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