The Flip Phone Diaries: Day 1

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: February 28, 2013



As many of you may already know last week I wrote an article making a challenge for myself to ditch the smartphone in exchange for a flip phone for at least a week – but the new goal is to last a month. Originally my order wasn’t supposed to arrive at my house until early March, but to my surprise my doorbell rang yesterday and the nice UPS man ding dong ditched me and left me my shiny new Sanyo Katana LX at the door.

As I unwrapped the package and saw the box that the device came in I was filled with a bit of nostalgia as the box design was reminiscent of many previous devices sold by Sprint. I took the device out and looked it over for any damaged components. As soon as it passed my inspection I plugged it in to let it charge.

A few hours later I returned to the device only to find that it wouldn’t turn on. I held the power button down and nothing happened. In fact, there wasn’t even an indicator light that told me the phone was even charging. Well that’s just great, now I have to ship it back to the retailer to get it replaced. What a great start to my experiment. I flipped the phone over to take the battery out and put it back in when suddenly I had the urge to facepalm as I stared at an empty battery compartment. It’s been so long since I’ve had to put in or remove a battery that I completely forgot removable batteries were even a thing for phones that didn’t start with an “i” and end with “patent”. I found the battery in the box and after putting the phone together as it should be I left it to charge again.

Not even an hour later the phone completed charging and I was able to turn the device on. I was happy to hear and feel the familiar “snap” when opening or closing the device, and it reminded me of my Katana II. “The snap” was a small but comfortable feature that made my vulnerable flip phone feel like it wouldn’t fly off the hinge when it was opened. After opening and powering the device on I was able to get a good look at the display. Once upon a time it wasn’t such a bad thing being able to see the pixels on the screen because hey, at least it had color, but with retina and HD displays dominating the modern market you really start to get nit picky about the pixel density of your display. If I had a dollar for every pixel I could count on this screen I would have a lot of dollars.

The first thing I needed to do with my new device was activate it. I actually had a lot of trouble with this, which made me realize how much companies want to push you towards the way of the smartphone. I attempted to activate it by myself from my online Sprint account, but my plan needed to change and since I was on a special plan from my previous employment with Sprint the plan I needed to contact a representative to assist me in the transfer. The next step was to call in to Customer Care and speak with them. It took them about 35 minutes to find the right code for my plan, but eventually I got switched over. I placed my iPhone back in its box where it will rest until I realize just how helplessly dependent I am on technology and reactivate it through tears of desperation.

Now that my phone was activated I needed to add my contacts. I didn’t add all of them as I had to go back to the old fashioned way of moving them over and that takes a while. I can’t link my Gmail or Exchange contacts so I had to type them in with the number pad. I only added about 12 important people that I talk to on a regular basis. Let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more unpopular or anti-social than only being able to move 12 out of 135 contacts in your phone – but I’m going to look at it as me being selective about who I hold regular conversations with.

To make sure my text messages work I started to send a text to one of my close friends. You know how people say once you learn how to ride a bike you’ll always remember? Well that’s not how T9 works. My hands have grown accustomed to a much larger area for texting now by working with QWERTY keyboards for however many years, and working with that cramped dialpad is almost as bad as working with a gigantic Galaxy Note II, except for I’d almost rather go for the Galaxy Note II because at least I could attempt to dictate my texts through voice applications without having to stretch my hands too much. Nobody said that this experiment would be comfortable, and texting with this device is going to take some getting used to again.

I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a small hole in my heart from missing my iPhone, which is sad as this is only day one of my 30 day journey. I see the little runt in the corner of my eye right now and I expect it to light up with an e-mail, a Facebook notification – something. But it doesn’t happen. It just sits there, quietly mocking me for the tech-thirsty woman that I am and only humoring me when I get a text message by playing a tune known as “Funky Shake”. Ironically, it does not make me want to get funky or shake.

I will say that I am having a fairly easy time resisting the urge to pick up the phone as I know that it is a soulless device that has nothing for me unless notified otherwise.

I will write more on this saga if I last through the week.

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