The Flip Phone Diaries: Day 7

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 7, 2013


Well, I’m happy to say that I was at least able to last a week using the Sanyo Katana LX that I ordered just a couple of weeks ago. One week ago I received the device and reported that I was hesitant to make the switch, furthering my assumption that I am indeed addicted to the smartphone way of life. If nothing else, this past week has proven it even more as I was itching to get my iPhone out of the box, but resisted (for science).

It’s interesting relearning how to use a flip phone to say the least. I had fond memories of my Katana II that I believe are now tainted because of this experience, this old way of life. The reason I enjoyed my old Katana so much because it was the norm at the time. You couldn’t get anything better, so having caveman Internet and 160 character limits for text message was okay. But today? Not if you’ve already experienced what it’s like to have a smartphone. Speaking of text messages…

I don’t think I’ve ever been that grateful for threaded messages. There has been more than one occurrence this past week that I have sent the same text message twice because I had forgotten I had already sent something similar. I didn’t check my sent box, just my received. So that’s a little embarrassing, but not the end of the world. I also found out that I have quite the vocabulary. I think I added close to 40 words to my t9 dictionary, a couple of which are actual words but I do still use the occasional Midwestern charm and use words like “rinky dink”, “y’all”, “piddlin” and “sho’ ‘nuff”; all of which are much easier to type on a QWERTY keyboard than a number pad.

I’ve come to find out that the call quality, at least on this device, leaves much to be desired and really shows how much better call quality some of our more modern counterparts have to offer us. While it wasn’t hard to hear the person on the other line volume-wise, the call quality certainly didn’t come through as clearly as I’ve grown accustomed to. However, when I asked the receiver how I sounded they said they couldn’t tell a difference.

Signal strength is not as good in this device. I actually went into roaming on the top floor of my house, which hasn’t happened since… well, ever. I was lucky if I got signal in my basement, except for this one creepy corner that doesn’t receive much light seemed to have no problem picking up signal. Perhaps this was a sign that this phone is reminiscent of the dark ages for cell phones, and only worked for that time period. How poetic.

I was mildly surprised to find that there really is kind of a social stigma stemming from my peers that revolves around what kind of phone you carry. I went out with a small group of friends Tuesday night, only one of which knew about my project, and at some point I felt my phone buzz with a text message. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and one of my friends said, “Woah, what is that? And what happened to your iPhone?” I then explained my experiment and we kind of talked about how it was going up until that point. They agreed they would never use a flip phone unless it was absolutely necessary; they had grown too accustomed to the ways of the smartphone. My phone served as a kind of central joke for the rest of the night. My parents didn’t think much of it, and my toddler doesn’t seem to mind either. He just likes anything that lights up. He was confused why it wouldn’t play Netflix, however.

Battery life is one of the redeeming qualities of this device. I forgot to charge my phone twice (mostly because it wasn’t reminding me to do so) and it lasted well into the next day. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I didn’t use this phone nearly as much as my iPhone; I used the Internet once to Google something and texting became secondary to phone calls. I used to pride myself in the speed of my t9 typing, but I am but a shell of my former self in that aspect. I am still having trouble adjusting my hands to the format of that number pad. As a result, I would text much less and busied myself with other things. In addition to extended battery life, I did seem to get more accomplished.

My goal was originally to last one week, which has been reached. My second and more difficult goal was to reach one month, but for those of you who said I wouldn’t last, you’re absolutely right. The smartphone way of life has taken over and it is very difficult to use this flip phone knowing that my smartphone is waiting for me in its box. I’m sure I would be much more grateful for this device if I had no other choice. As it stands I mostly miss being able to send and receive E-mails through my phone. It was a little nerve-wracking knowing I had to check my computer every 30 minutes or so for any important E-mails.

As difficult and as frustrating as smartphones can be sometimes, I had a much easier time simply turning my phone off for an entire day than I did trying to live without it for an entire week.  The first few days I assumed would be a little hard trying to adjust back to the ways of the clamshell, but as the week went on and nothing really seemed to justify the use of the device at the time it became harder to ignore my iPhone any longer. I will keep this phone on for the rest of the night as I’m sure I’m going to have to speak with Sprint about changing my plan back again, but tomorrow I will once again have my iPhone in my hands. This phone will serve as a backup device.

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. My name is Anna Scantlin, and I am a smartphone addict. Strangely enough, I’m okay with that now.

P.S. This is probably the shortest diary ever written.


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