Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

Professor

Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

The question of why one would use a smartphone when a flip phone will work, is in the back of some people's mind. With that being said, I would like to open up a discussion thread just for the purpose of discussing pros and cons of smartphones vs basic phones.

 

The advantages of smartphones are:

  1. In high demand - this eventually will drive down the per unit cost of manufacturing, leading to lower prices. For example compare the retail price of 3G Pantech Breeze II with 3G LG Thrive Gophone, a smartphone.
  2. Can run Apps - many apps don't require data connection. For example, My Tracks (Google), calculators and most games.
  3. Have a unique form factor - the touch screen.
  4. Have 3G (eventually 4G) radios with automatic switching from 3G to 2G. Some can be manually switched to 2G for improved voice calling & texting.
  5. Many have Wifi calling for when you are inside a building and you are nowhere near a window, especially inside steel reinforced high rises.
  6. It seems that with a 3G capable GoPhone, there's a larger coverage in the US than with a 2G GoPhone.

The disadvantages are:

  1. Complexity and steep learning curve - some people may want just a basic flip phone.
  2. There's not yet a heavy duty smartphone. This may change in the future.
  3. Apps can drain battery fast.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

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Message 1 of 45
Guru

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

Nothing against smartphones but for me it'd be more than I need. One of the reasons I went with the RAZR2 is that it has excellent call quality, I mean after all that's what a phone is suppose to do, make calls Smiley Wink Also I like the phone's slim, sleek design and it's hefty and sturdy construction.

Message 2 of 45
Master

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


ilikewireless wrote:

The question of why one would use a smartphone when a flip phone will work, is in the back of some people's mind. With that being said, I would like to open up a discussion thread just for the purpose of discussing pros and cons of smartphones vs basic phones.

 

The advantages of smartphones are:

  1. In high demand - this eventually will drive down the per unit cost of manufacturing, leading to lower prices. For example compare the retail price of 3G Pantech Breeze II with 3G LG Thrive Gophone, a smartphone.
  2. Can run Apps - many apps don't require data connection. For example, My Tracks (Google), calculators and most games.
  3. Have a unique form factor - the touch screen.
  4. Have 3G (eventually 4G) radios with automatic switching from 3G to 2G. Some can be manually switched to 2G for improved voice calling & texting.
  5. Many have Wifi calling for when you are inside a building and you are nowhere near a window, especially inside steel reinforced high rises.
  6. It seems that with a 3G capable GoPhone, there's a larger coverage in the US than with a 2G GoPhone.

The disadvantages are:

  1. Complexity and steep learning curve - some people may want just a basic flip phone.
  2. There's not yet a heavy duty smartphone. This may change in the future.
  3. Apps can drain battery fast.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 


1)  I'm not sure I understand your point here - the GoPhone LG Thrive is $179.99 vs. the GoPhone Pantech Breeze II's $168.99.  That's not a large price differential considering the Pantech Breeze is not a smartphone.  (Maybe that's your point.  lol.)  But I don't think you can compare across manufacturing lines - different manufacturers have different reputations for quality, etc.  You'd need to compare same manufacturer devices that have the same form factor, and same features outside of the operating system and the specific functionality that only the smartphone o/s can provide.

 

2)  I guess it depends on your definition of an "app" - all of my phones have calculators and games. Smiley Happy  And GPS can be resident on a non-smartphone.  My W518a has it and it is just a feature phone with SE's proprietary o/s.  It is simply dependent on the device having a GPS chip, and I used Google Maps on my W580i which doesn't have GPS, so it was simply based on cellular triangulation (same as my Nokia E70 smartphone).

 

3)  Many messaging oriented "feature" phones have touch screen functionality.  Whether you think that is a pro or a con is a matter of personal preference - I for one absolutely do not want a touch screen (only) device, and since I won't use the touch screen functionality, I'd prefer not to pay "extra" for it.  (lol)

 

4)  Most phones sold these days do contain a 3G radio - feature phone or smartphone - the technology is the industry standard at this point and manufacturers include WCDMA radios of some version.  What isn't standard yet is including WCDMA radios for all frequencies (850/1900, 900, 1700/2100) required for worldwide 3G service.  This is the same way it was with GSM until just a few years ago - manufacturers typically made tri-band GSM devices that were region specific (i.e. North American, Euro, etc.).  Now they are typically doing the same thing with the 3G bands.  Nokia makes a few phones with worldwide WCDMA radios, but you have to be willing to spend the money for a non-branded device. Smiley Wink  (Nokia N8 and E7 - both smartphones; they may make some feature phones with worldwide 3G frequencies as well.)

 

It is probably true that it is simpler to toggle between 3G vs. 2G network access on a smartphone, as in most smartphones the firmware contains a menu option.  Unfortunately the firmware on at&t branded feature phones tends to mask this menu option so that it isn't visible with an at&t SIM in the phone.  There are work arounds that have been found for at least some models from most manufacturers - Nokia is the only one that I specifically know of where I am not aware of anything having been identified.  Typically turning off/on 3G access in these devices consists of using a code to make the change, accessing the phone's internal memory from PC based software (i.e. MyPhoneExplorer for SE's), or inserting another carrier's SIM so that you can see the menu option (if the phone has been subsidy unlocked).

 

5) Is highly dependent on where you purchase your phones - i.e. whether you buy "branded" or non-branded devices.  There are a number of feature phones available with a WiFi radio.  (At&t in fact removed it from their own version of the SE C905i and their prepaid version of Nokia's C3.)

 

So in summary - when you limit yourself to using only at&t branded devices, yes - your perception of the differences between their smart vs. feature phone offerings is more accurate than not.  But there is an entire world of non-branded devices available to GSM users that may better suit their needs without sacrificing much of the functionality that they also desire.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 3 of 45
Guru

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

Geez hme83, I can see why your a Professor, enlightening as alwaysSmiley Wink. But from I gather I think what likewireless meant was is that if your going to use a phone just as a phone then a smartphone might be overkill. But I guess it also comes down to personal choice and whatever works for you.

Message 4 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

Professor hme83, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

When I tried to compare phones, I can't quite put a finger on them. You have enlightened us by pointing out some of the pitfalls, like comparing apples to oranges.

 

I like flip phones because they are lightweight, small and have long talk time, based on my observation. Mine has 7.5 hrs talk time and it's about the smallest and lightest cell phone I can find to fit easily in my shirt pocket. I neither favor smartphones nor basic flip phones as they all have their uses, and their market share. I feel that many branded ones are designed to make money for carriers :lol:, especially smartphones :lol: On the serious side, I feel for consumers who were charged left and right for things that they did not know could happen to their phones, like background tasks running in smartphones.

 

As manufacturers put more features into flip phones, like GPS and user-friendly calculator, the line between flip phones and smartphones is becoming blurred, in the area of functionality.

 

In the end, you are right that it is one's wallet and one's uses for phones, that dictate one's choice.

 

 

 

Message 5 of 45
Master

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

I don't know why, but I seem to prefer having a smartphone (without a data plan, of course Smiley Tongue) versus a regular flip phone. I've had two flip phones out of my six cell phones altogether and I can't say that I didn't like them. Neither of them were AT&T flip phones, but they were and still are incredibly easy to use.

The only thing that bothers me on flip phones is text messaging. It is so difficult to type every single little letter that you want using the keypad, pressing the same button multiple times sometimes. I would much rather just whip out my smartphone with a virtual keyboard and type away as fast I wanted, using the upwards keyboard or the sideways one - whichever one I feel like using. Other than that, they are solid, simple, and reliable - the way a cell phone should be.

I must be the type of person that likes all the bells and whistles... When I think about it, I can't see myself arguing with that. I have a passion for cell phones and as they advance every year, from the old Motorola DynaTAC to the Razr to today's top-of-the-line smartphones, you never know what they will be capable of accomplishing next to otherwise simplify our busy lives.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 6 of 45
Guru

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

As much as I love my phone it seems that flip phones are going the way of the Dodo. I suppose at some point I might have to upgrade to a smartphone like device, just as long as it has a solid build and solid call quality. Unless Motorola comes out with a RAZR3, like they were going to, then I'll move on. Smiley Happy

Message 7 of 45
Master

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


Razr8 wrote:

I suppose at some point I might have to upgrade to a smartphone like device, just as long as it has a solid build and solid call quality.


It's pretty predictable that that is all there will be to choose from in the near future...which some people do not want nor need a smartphone. I'm just thinking that it will be harder for the elderly and other older folks to advance and get used to.

Cat Happy Remember that Wild Banchi... 1993-2010 Cat Happy



Message 8 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


Wild Banchi wrote:

Razr8 wrote:

I suppose at some point I might have to upgrade to a smartphone like device, just as long as it has a solid build and solid call quality.


It's pretty predictable that that is all there will be to choose from in the near future...which some people do not want nor need a smartphone. I'm just thinking that it will be harder for the elderly and other older folks to advance and get used to.

 It will eventually come to smartphones as many old folks today know how to use smartphones, having used PC's themselves. Those who need a simple phone like Jitterbug, are the ones not exposed to PC while in their working years. They will eventually be outnumbered. I dare to predict that one day manufacturers will make only smartphones that can be configured to user needs. That day may not be anytime soon.

Message 9 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


Wild Banchi wrote
"which some people do not want nor need a smartphone"

The 14 year old girls at your local high school come to mind. Cracked me up when I was last at the local store on a saturday afternoon and saw that the entire joint was filled with high school kids asking Mommy and Daddy to buy them that shiny $400+ phone because all their friends have one.

 

My kid? He's getting a pager. If that.

Message 10 of 45
Master

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


Razr8 wrote:

Geez hme83, I can see why your a Professor, enlightening as alwaysSmiley Wink. But from I gather I think what likewireless meant was is that if your going to use a phone just as a phone then a smartphone might be overkill. But I guess it also comes down to personal choice and whatever works for you.


Smiley Very Happy  No - actually I can't provide nearly the insight that many of the old time members can.  Everything I know, I've gained from them. Smiley Happy


ilikewireless wrote:

Professor hme83, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

 

When I tried to compare phones, I can't quite put a finger on them. You have enlightened us by pointing out some of the pitfalls, like comparing apples to oranges.

 

I like flip phones because they are lightweight, small and have long talk time, based on my observation. Mine has 7.5 hrs talk time and it's about the smallest and lightest cell phone I can find to fit easily in my shirt pocket. I neither favor smartphones nor basic flip phones as they all have their uses, and their market share. I feel that many branded ones are designed to make money for carriers :lol:, especially smartphones :lol: On the serious side, I feel for consumers who were charged left and right for things that they did not know could happen to their phones, like background tasks running in smartphones.

 

As manufacturers put more features into flip phones, like GPS and user-friendly calculator, the line between flip phones and smartphones is becoming blurred, in the area of functionality.

 

In the end, you are right that it is one's wallet and one's uses for phones, that dictate one's choice.

 

 

 



Actually, I guess my point was more just that the carriers (IMHO) are steering their customers toward smartphones because they command the additional monthly revenue (for the carrier) of the required data plans (post paid service).  But many of the features that people associate with a "smartphone" are actually available on feature phones (and have been for quite some time) - they are just removed from the devices in the carriers' offerings.

 

I'm not especially partial to smartphones - my prefered style isn't the flip, it's a bar phone.  The couple of things I especially like about my Nokia smartphone (as opposed to my original 6820 - which is a 2004 non-smartphone with a unique horizontal fold out physical keyboard that ATTWS sold - fortunately, mine is non-branded though - lol) are the ability for copy/cut and paste and the fact that you can send/receive e-mail with attachments from the e-mail client.  If it weren't for my e-mail provider implementing security measures which the 6820 doesn't support, I would have never moved up to the E70 (Symbian).  And a non-branded, non-smartphone SE's e-mail client actually handles attachments and push e-mail.  (At&t removes SE's e-mail client and puts Mobile E-Mail on the phone instead - which of course at&t is now charging a $5/month subscription fee for the new version of the Mobile E-Mail client.)

 

My own personal opinion is that a smartphone is the way to go for someone who wants to make a lot of customizations to their device and/or someone who needs the security and/or "easy" syncing between a phone and computer that a smartphone o/s more readily provides.  Outside of that, there are probably a number of feature phones (non-branded) that could suit a user's needs just as well without carrying the need for the mandatory data plan (post paid service) and are generally easier to use.  But you won't find these phones at the carrier.

 

You are right about the lines between smartphones/feature phones becoming increasingly blurred - the advent of the original iPhone really was a change of tides, making smartphones much more user friendly.  At the same time however, there have always been very technically competent users and communities who could pretty much customize their Motos and SE feature phones in any way their heart desired.

                                                                                                                         =^..^=
There must be a happy medium somewhere between being totally informed and blissfully unaware.

     - Doug Larson

Message 11 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

My main reason for a smartphone is for syncing my contacts and calendar.  Using Google, Yahoo, and my phone, I share contacts (stored on both Google and Yahoo) and Calendar (stored on my Office PC and Google) on my phone and 3 computers, wirelessly and automatically.  The shared calendar has saved me on several occasions.

Message 12 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.

hme83,

 

I was under the impression that a potential problem area with e-mail on feature phones is viewing of attachment. I would like to know more about what file types are supported on your feature phones: pdf, and MS Office files in particular. I know that Android devices on FroYo or higher, can handle them all. It may be that a feature phone is an option for those who want e-mail with attachments.

 

 

Message 13 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


FredW wrote:

My main reason for a smartphone is for syncing my contacts and calendar.  Using Google, Yahoo, and my phone, I share contacts (stored on both Google and Yahoo) and Calendar (stored on my Office PC and Google) on my phone and 3 computers, wirelessly and automatically.  The shared calendar has saved me on several occasions.



Yep. It's the main reason for many too.

Message 14 of 45
Professor

Re: Pros and cons of using a smartphone when a basic flip phone will work.


Wild Banchi wrote:
I don't know why, but I seem to prefer having a smartphone (without a data plan, of course Smiley Tongue) versus a regular flip phone. I've had two flip phones out of my six cell phones altogether and I can't say that I didn't like them. Neither of them were AT&T flip phones, but they were and still are incredibly easy to use.

The only thing that bothers me on flip phones is text messaging. It is so difficult to type every single little letter that you want using the keypad, pressing the same button multiple times sometimes. I would much rather just whip out my smartphone with a virtual keyboard and type away as fast I wanted, using the upwards keyboard or the sideways one - whichever one I feel like using. Other than that, they are solid, simple, and reliable - the way a cell phone should be.

I must be the type of person that likes all the bells and whistles... When I think about it, I can't see myself arguing with that. I have a passion for cell phones and as they advance every year, from the old Motorola DynaTAC to the Razr to today's top-of-the-line smartphones, you never know what they will be capable of accomplishing next to otherwise simplify our busy lives.


About early Motorola cell phones, I remember that they were really heavy like a couple of pounds due to the battery.

 

Maybe smartphones re-simplify our busy lives to counter the busy lives due to cell phone ownership, like being on a wireless leash.

Message 15 of 45
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