6 Things I’ve Learned From Having A Terrible Phone (And Not Trading It In)


This is going to be a first-world problem, but here goes.

I own something that resembles a smart phone, acts like a smart phone and is categorized as a smart phone. But calling it smart would be pushing it. You see, I own what I like to endearingly call a shitty smartphone. It does what I need it to do in terms of functionalities — I can call, text, use data-based communication apps, browse the Internet, maps and access cloud storage. So, in that sense, it’s a perfectly useful phone that gets me through the day. But being a lower end smartphone with a minimum amount of RAM, internal storage, and unsophisticated technology, I’ve had my fair share of trials and tribulations with its usage.

1. Patience is a virtue… simply because it means preventing serious health issues.

When your phone takes eons to boot up or transition from apps, being patient is the only way to prevent one’s self from developing a serious case of hypertension. I’ve gotten so used to it that staring at a blank screen doesn’t faze me anymore, but does cause other people to get really worked up on my behalf. If I was going to allow myself to get frustrated every time something took 10x longer to function compared to other people’s phones, I would be living in a constant state of being worked-up. I’ve learnt that nothing is impossible…assuming you wait long enough for it to work.

2. You don’t really need to take pictures of everything.

Given that my front-facing camera results in extremely sub-par pixelated photos, taking selfies are often a waste of time. The quality just isn’t good enough to warrant posting them on your social media, so why bother? At best, you’d take one picture to commemorate a situation but that’s about it. There’s just too much hassle in attempting to use your phone to take a decent pictures. So you learn to live without it and not look at life through your camera lens. If you really need to, get someone else to take a picture for you.

3. You are not missing out just because you’re not playing Candy Crush.

I don’t install every new fad game that hits the market simply because my phone would probably not handle it too well and end up hanging on me. This means that I don’t know what people are talking about when they discuss the pains of flappy bird or the challenge of candy crush (I did, however, get addicted to playing 2048 on my desktop). Sure, I was a bit out of touch with the conversations surrounding it, but it also meant that I was not spending countless hours of my life trying to master the games. Countless hours that could have been productive (sometimes they weren’t) to my life. Plus, I didn’t have to deal with the eventual guilt or regret that comes when the game is over or has lost its appeal.

4. Prioritization and living within your means.

Limited internal memory means you can’t have 50 apps lying dormant in your phone for those just-in-case moments. To avoid the inevitable “Insufficient internal storage” warnings, I had to seriously consider which apps were actually necessary and which were expendable. Having Dropbox on my phone was probably more important than a photo editor (I tried to make my crap photos look better), and so the inevitable culling of apps had to happen. It was difficult to decide, but I had to learn to only use apps that I had sufficient storage for — whether I liked it or not.

5. Resourcefulness.

If you can’t do it using what you have, find a way to do it using what you don’t have. I.e. borrow, beg, lie, steal and cheat your way into getting what you need for that moment. Okay, maybe just the first two. Need to take a picture for posterity’s sake? “Hey guys, picture time! Let’s use your phone this time!” Need to use a GPS? “I’ll drive, you navigate!” Or if you have to, use other forms of technology to compensate.

6. Self-acceptance.

Learning to accept that your phone can’t do much and being honest about it with others goes a long way. Yes, your ego may take a bruising when you have to put your phone amongst bigger and better phones, but own it nonetheless. People aren’t going to judge you for not having the same phone that they have — it’s understandable. Being able to admit that you have a phone that isn’t the prettiest or one that uses cutting edge technology means that it’s okay for you to turn to someone and go “Hey, do you mind if I use your app to search for something? Got a shitty phone”. Love your shitty phone nonetheless, because it’s gotten you out of a lot of trouble and costs a whole lot less than a non-shitty phone.

featured image – Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones