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I Can’t Afford To Make Dumb Purchases December 20, 2008

Posted by geek-ish.com in Deals, Tech.
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I like to say I’m a person who spends his money as efficiently as possible.  You might call it being cheap.  Lol.  I don’t mind.  Smart spending isn’t a bad thing no matter how much you have in my book.  In any case, I was confronted that I was being phony with my complaints about how expensive the iPhone is when my own cell phone’s monthly plan is $100.  “Touché.”  What the confront-er did not take into account was the details of the initial cost of my cell phone and what I get for that $100.

Almost 2 years ago, I bought a Helio Ocean and loved it.  Then (2 years ago) and now the Ocean:
  • is a dual slider with both a qwerty keyboard and a standard phone keypad
  • plays audio files
  • plays video files
  • takes pics
  • shoots video
  • accesses the internet
  • has Yahoo Mail, GMail and Hotmail apps
  • has Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger apps
  • has a great You Tube app
  • records voice memos
  • sends voice memos via SMS or email
  • has GPS
  • plays card games (like Spades!) and classic arcades game (like Centipede!)
  • etc.

The Ocean is and always has been LOADED with features.  Sharing the details about its feature are for another blog, another reason (ABAR); but the features and the price of the device AND the device’s plan made it a no-brainer choice for me.  I purchased my Ocean for $149 and selected an all-you-can-eat unlimited voice AND UNLIMITED data plan for $99.  I did feel compelled to modify my landline service (ABAR) to accommodate the higher plan costs, but considering my new plan had unlimited voice, I didn’t have any home phone concerns.  I recognized then that it wasn’t the coolest device, but it easily satisfied all my needs.  The coolest device at the time was the iPhone.  Do you recall what the iPhone cost 2 years ago?  $600.  Yes,  six hundred Sam Fram dollars when there were very, very good cell phones available at that time for FREE.  Another question:  do you know how much voice and data plans for the iPhone cost 2 years ago?  Me neither.  Lol.  But I do recall doing a little research at the time and remember being surprised that AT&T didn’t even offer an unlimited data plan for less than $100 alone.  Couple those monthly data costs with the additional costs of an unlimited voice plan and it immediately became obvious that it was totally infeasible to buy an iPhone given the features I needed in a phone – whether I could afford to buy one or not.  I just couldn’t make buying an iPhone make sense to me given the other choices available.  In spite of that, I still went and test drove one.  I know, I know – I couldn’t resist.  The iPhone wasn’t just cool, it was geek chic cool too.  Products like that don’t come along often.  Again, I couldn’t resist.  So I fought through the crowds and took the test drive.  Honestly, I just wasn’t impressed enough to get past the price tag.  Although me and my “girthy” fingers hated the touch screen, the iPhone was a really solid device with a great viewing screen.  Everything it did it did superbly.  It was a really nouveau device, but I just couldn’t get into the hype.  I think I came into the test expecting much more out of the web experience and the music experience than I should have.  Other than iTunes, there really wasn’t much more the iPhone offered to either experience than I had already seen.  Furthermore, at that time when no one was scared or cared about the RIAA, I was still in bed with Napster and hoping Clarence Thomas couldn’t live without his radio.  iTunes just didn’t do it for me.   The iPhone was a good device and far, far more than just aight.  It just wasn’t a device I could justify buying whether I could actually afford to make the purchase or not.

To refocus, this entry is not about the iPhone, nor about comparing the iPhone to the Ocean, nor about how my monthly charges have NEVER spiked because of any surfing|downloading|video uploading I’ve done.  This entry is about making it clear that I want to make my dollars make sense.  As a working stiff, I don’t think it should be any other way.  If I’m wrong, teach me better over dinner at Damon’s.  I’m buying.  It’s one of my favorite restaurants to watch hoops & play trivia.  Besides, I’ve got a year old Damon’s gift card that I want to make sure doesn’t evaporate.
ps – fyi:  Helio actually has an Ocean vs. iPhone comparison chart here:  http://compare.helio.com/