Do you need that fancy phone?


Matt Wood at 43Folders talked about life without a laptop earlier this week – he’d decided to ditch his notebook and go with Apple’s iPhone instead. Certainly it’s a very covetable and fully functioned device, but do you really need it?
One thing which might help you decide is considering how many of the features you use in your current phone. I have to admit, I’m a bit of a luddite in this regard. I make calls, I send SMSs and I browse news headlines. I wanted a camera phone but I have never downloaded any of the photos I’ve taken with it, which makes it a bit redundant.
When I look at it this way, it’s hard to make the case for upgrading to an iPhone. I’m wondering whether I should go in the opposite direction and just get a basic mobile phone for calling and texting.
Of course, it’s not like Apple’s the only horse in the race anyway. If you’ve decided that the iPhone’s not your cup or tea, or you don’t want to wait for the local release, Wired’s published a list of its top 5 “iFraud” phones today. Top marks went to Samsung’s F700, which was awarded five Steve Jobs black turtlenecks out of five as the best iPhone imitator. Another nice looking phone on the list was the HTC Touch.
So I’d be interested to know, from those of you who are using or considering the purchase of an iPhone or other smart phone – how many of the features do you actually use?  What’s useful, what’s frivilous and what’s just nice to have?


  • I have an iPhone, and it’s the best little gadget I’ve ever laid eyes on. As a phone, it’s got superb battery life and is slim if a little heavy. The volume goes all the way up to loud when you need it to. As an iPod, it’s not quite as good as my old iPod video. I miss being able to press the next/last buttons through my pocket. Having said that the video is pretty good. The higher resolution makes all the difference: you can actually watch something on it. The weather app doesn’t work, but I tend to look out the window anyway when checking for rain. I use all the other apps, fairly often. I keep surprising myself by finding new uses for the Notes app. The little onscreen keyboard is really good for tapping text in quite quickly. I’ve had it about a month, and the gosh-wow factor has worn off, but at the same time the phone has become a really solid companion. The only major downer is the camera, which is naff. My girlfriend’s Sony Ericsson blows the iPhone away for picture quality – but as a photography snob I’d never use anything other than an SLR for a serious picture.

  • my Hiptop 3 is somewhat of a fancy phone and it’s improved my life and productivity considerably so in that sense, I do need it. It’s also a lot of fun to have and use too 🙂

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