Is Life Without Smartphone Possible?

     

In 2017, smart phones are an essential part of people’s lives. For many, it can feel these phones have existed forever, however only in 2010s their popularity exploded, peaking at turn of the year 2012-2013. Indeed, about five years ago was the time when everyone was buying a smart phone; and nowadays it can be seen strange if you don’t own one. Rocking old Nokia dumb phone will turn people’s heads and sarcastic comments will be aplenty!

However, I only got my first smart phone recently. Before that, I had no problems with using older phones – the ones that can call and send messages, but hardly browse Internet. But in 2016 I made the change, buying Huawei Y5 because of recommendation and price. While getting such a mini-computer made life easier, I could very well see why some people opt out of using them.

They are distracting – This is by far the biggest deal with smart phones, in my opinion. Just go outside, preferably somewhere where people are waiting, and you will see it. Many are looking at their phones, not paying attention to environment and interactions with others. This was already evident in the early 2000s with the phones of that era, but since phones have evolved in handheld computers they are a tool that offer constant entertainment. Indeed, the new phones require attention frequently, and people are there to give it. By playing with phone a lot one learns the ways of the digital era, however his real life may suffer at the same time.

Privacy concerns – Because smart phones have high-end technology they can, with a good conscience, be called small computers. They have hardware and operating systems almost like your notebook. While this makes them most useful in real life, it also puts them at a privacy breach risk. It is possible for a malicious entity to inject a spyware, virus or keylogger to a smart phone – the result can be as harmless as an annoying ad on the screen, or catastrophic such as capturing everything you type and sending the captured data to a hacker. Another thing is the location tracking – the phones definitely make your whereabouts known even when you wouldn’t like. There is not much you can do but to stop using the smart phone, which sadly isn’t an option for many anymore.

Short battery life – The nuisance of energy-drawing components, the need to charge the device all the time, is present with any smart phone I’m aware of. This is the downside of the small size and fine, computer-like technology inside them. In such a compact package, the manufacturer can not install a bigger battery that would provide energy for long hours like a laptop does. At the same time, the performance requirements are bigger and bigger, with many expecting the smart phone to act like a notebook. This creates a dilemma not easily solved: to have high performance or long battery life. Choose one, both are not achievable at the same time.

As you see, there are some strong negatives about owning a smart phone. However, from my personal experience, there are a few good sides too. I will list the benefits that made me ditch the old cell phone for a smart version.

Less expensive messages and calls – Earlier, when calls and SMS were made over the GSM network, there was a price to pay for them. Either you paid per call/text message, or you had a subscription which included a set amount of minutes and SMS per month. Not surprisingly, for the calls and messages over the limit, the price was always bigger which often resulted in large telephone bills. However, with smart phones this is a non-issue because Internet – mobile data by your operator or WiFi – can be used to deliver messages and calls. Instant messaging applications like WhatsApp don’t use too much bandwidth. If you mainly use Internet and stop regular calls and SMS, might be your phone bill won’t be so high anymore.

Digital map – For those who travel, a map is essential. Traditionally, it was a paper map you purchased or borrowed from a library, with downsides being the cost and space it takes. Well, with a smart phone it’s much easier: you have the digital version of maps, the Google Maps application. This was the main reason why I made the switch; I sometimes travel and even lived in a foreign country for quite some time. In short, having a digital map in your pocket on holidays can reduce the stress that is always present on these vacations!

Summing it up, I would say that life is certainly possible without a smartphone, but you will be missing some useful features. It’s a relief to have the possibility for free messages and calls; besides, having Google Maps at your fingertips is a savior in a new environment. Mainly for these reasons I, personally, have decided to use a smart phone. Yet, if you swear to the name of SMS and carrying a paper map, there is nothing wrong with having an old-school “dumb” phone. Your life will be less distracted and you can go for a week without charging!

Now that you have heard my thoughts about the topic, I would like to hear yours – leave a comment below!

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