Messaging phones are cheaper and you don't need a smartphone anyway

Sydney Myers
Teen Lifestyle Editor from  Dallas, TX
| August 17, 2010


Seriously, how many of us really need to check our e-mail every ten minutes? I don't mean "need," I mean NEED. (You know what I'm talking about. There's a difference between the need in quotation marks and the capitalized one.) Or how many of us need to capture high definition video of a random event that happens through the course of our day? How about this one: Do you really need Paper Toss? Or Farmville? Or a widget that tells you how much battery power you have left? (Whatever happened to just looking at the status bar in the top corner of the screen?)

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Surely you're not saying that we all downgrade to messaging phones. Technology is advancing. It's amazing what smartphones can do. I don't care if I need it. I want it. Besides, messaging phones cost just as much and require a monthly fee just the same as smartphones do." Or maybe you're a teenager and you're thinking, "OMG, I've been trying to convince my parents for MONTHS to get me a smartphone. Please do not ruin it with your so-called logic." If you are the latter, I feel your pain. Unfortunately, logic is a big role-player when there's money involved. Which brings me to the former, the person who defends himself by saying that messaging phones cost just as much and require a monthly plan that's so high you might as well get a smartphone.

If this person I described above is you, or you are the parents of a teen who has been begging for a smartphone, consider this: If you have signed a contract with Verizon and are on a Family Plan with two lines, you will spend $60 more per month than if you had messaging phones. With three lines, you'll spend $90 more. Per month. Four lines, $120 more per month and- well, you get the picture. However, for only $30, your entire family could send as many text messages as they wanted. If you opt for a messaging phone that requires a data feature, you can get a reasonably inexpensive $10 plan for each phone. (Verizon's mandatory smartphone data plan, on the other hand, is $30 per smartphone.) It's the same story with T-Mobile. With a Family Plan, you'll pay $60 more per month and with an individual plan, you'll pay $30 more per month. An individual will have a similar problem on Sprint, however, a family can opt for the Everything Plan which makes it more rational to get a smartphone. AT&T's tiered data plans make it a little easier to go for a smartphone, but you can't beat $30 a month for unlimited messaging for the entire family as opposed to $15 per line for data (if you choose the 200 MB option). 

Despite popular belief, messaging phones do not cost 'just as much' as smartphones and if you have no desire to use data, it's worth it to opt for one instead of getting an DROID X with an HDMI-out port that you'll probably never even use. Way worth it.  Over the course of a two-year agreement, those costs add up quickly.

Now, say you're not worried about the money. Let's say you're willing to give your son or daughter whatever he or she needs to be successful in school. Or say you're a young adult and you're not too worried about money 'cause you're going to college to get a degree that will guarantee you any high-paying job in the world. Now what it comes down to is deciding whether your son or daughter needs a smartphone? Do you, college kid who's got the whole world in his hand need a smartphone? Here's my take. For the teenager, no. Web browsing on your phone is nice, but they're teenagers. Do you really think what they're looking up on Google is vital to their survival? Don't even get me started on foursquare. (Do you WANT them to be kidnapped?)  For the college kid/young adult, meh. I mean, even if you do have a ton of appointments, every phone these days has a calendar, not just the iPhone.

Now don't get me wrong, I love smartphones. They are nice to have. And there are some people who definitely need them.  That may not be you. It may not be your son or daughter. Save the money and only get what's needed. Messaging phones are cheaper and you don't need a smartphone anyway.