Why are you using the phone you're using now?

Published: June 17, 2014

A couple of years ago, while I was visiting my dad, he told me he wanted to get a new phone, but that he wasn't sure what he wanted. I asked him the simplest question I can, the same question I ask anyone who's looking to get their hands on a new device: "What do you need it to do for you?" He considered it a moment, and then he told me that he just wants the easiest way to make phone calls. Well, that should be easy to find, right?

At the time, he was still using a flip-phone, and he wasn't really having any issues with it, he just wanted something new. Or, more accurately, his contract was coming to term in the next few days, and he wanted to take advantage of getting something different. (We've all been there, right?) So we headed into a physical retail store and checked out the options. I had no doubts he was looking for another flip-phone, to be honest.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, for him, the store didn't have any flip-phones to look at. The retail sales consultants were more than happy to point out their availability online, but they were also quick to point out that they were trying to move everyone they could to smartphones. I thought my dad was just going to walk out and keep what he had, but then he started to really look at the options, and we ended up in the store for a good hour before he finally made a decision.

He went with a Samsung Galaxy S III. Because of the large display, and the huge dialer when making a phone call.

I had to spend a lot of time with him to get him used to the changes, but overall he liked the new phone. Of course, he'll never use half the stuff it can do -- he doesn't even text -- but he's happy with what he knows how to do, and most importantly that he can make phone calls quite easily, with a dialer that's even bigger than the one he had before. He missed physical keys right after the transition, but I'm sure he's okay without them now.

When you're buying a new device, the sheer amount of options available to you for most of the carriers these days can be kind of daunting, especially if you're just looking for something in particular. It helps a bit that all the devices out there, for the most part, can do the same thing as another handset, so it really comes down to specific features, specifications on a bulleted list, and the appeal of the software under your fingers.

More than anything, though, I think it comes down to an individual feature. Like my dad, someone just wants their phone to do one, maybe a few different things, and they look for those things and only those things. Someone who wants a big display is only going to look at the handsets that boast the largest screens. And someone who wants to get their hands on a smartphone with the best possible camera might actively avoid the phones with huge displays.

So I got to wondering: Why did you buy the phone you're using right now? What about it made that the phone you wanted to use every single day? Was it the physical design? The big (or small) display? The camera, the software, or some specific software feature? What tipped the scales for the handset you're using right now, and are you still happy with it? Let me know!

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