Magazine topic: 
Science and technology

Why I'm happy without a smartphone

by : 
JenniferO

By today’s standards, my mobile phone is pretty rubbish. It’s a Nokia 1616. If that doesn’t mean much to you (it’s not the kind of phone you see advertised on television), all you need to know is that it’s a small, not very heavy rectangular device with which you can send and receive telephone calls and text messages. It also has a very handy torch on the top for when you can’t find your keys, or when you drop something on the floor in the cinema. Other than that, my phone doesn’t do much. Well, it has an alarm, and it probably has a calculator and things like that, but it’s nothing compared to a smartphone. Why would I want one of those?

I have often been told that the big advantage of having a smartphone is that ‘you can do everything with them!’ But when was the last time you saw someone doing ‘everything’ with a smartphone? Okay, so they may have an endless list of functions, but generally they are used for checking social networking sites, playing games, and receiving and replying to emails. I’m happy just doing all of those things at home on my laptop.

As far as I can tell, the best thing about having a smartphone is that you can be connected to the internet all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet (indeed, I’m communicating via the internet right now), but I just don’t see the point of constantly being online. I can’t remember the last time I received a Facebook update which was so very urgent that I had to read it as soon as it appeared (although, admittedly, I occasionally wish I could have de-tagged photos sooner), and I can’t imagine ever having a job which was so important (I’m talking life-or-death situations) that I would need to read work-related emails immediately. I would think that if someone needed me urgently, they would just ring me rather than send an email. And my trusty Nokia can manage that.

One of the most peculiar effects of the smartphone is, in my opinion, the new-found obsession with maps and navigation systems. Is there anything more boring than knowing exactly where you are all of the time?! How do you get to know an area if you don’t get lost there a few times? And if you are reliant on online maps, what happens to those great places you find just by chance? You can’t exactly find out from google maps the journey from ‘here’ to ‘that hidden cafe with the tasty-looking cakes’, or to ‘that pond next to the church which looks really pretty in the evening sun.’ It is, of course, true that we all occasionally need to be pointed in the right direction, but I find that there are often real life humans you can ask.

There are many benefits of having a very basic mobile phone, like the fact that it cost me about twenty pounds, and that I don’t have to worry too much about it being stolen. But the main benefit has to be the fact that it provides me with the world’s greatest excuse for my bad habits. Whether it’s turning up late to events, or getting lost on a trip, or missing buses or trains, or forgetting about an appointment at work, I’m pretty sure I’m covered with the following explanation: ‘I'm really sorry, I don’t have a smartphone.’

Discussion

Do you have a smartphone? Can you persuade Jennifer to change her mind about them?
Do you ever feel pressurised to be up-to-date with the latest technology?