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Opinion: Taking on South America and giving up my smartphone

I’ve been a smartphone lover since I first was introduced to the iPhone 2G and have had the pleasure (well most of the time), of using a variety of devices including Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia and most recently Windows Phone 7. To give you a better idea of who I am; I’m the one sat with my phone strapped to my face most of the time tweeting, checking-in or playing with my latest favourite app. However, this all changed about a month ago when I decided to go travelling around South America and my trusty smartphone just wasn’t needed anymore. What I really needed was a simple phone that could call and text, with maybe a couple of nice extras like games thrown in.

In Argentina I was pleased to find that there were a plethora of shops available where I could choose my new phone and after facing smartphone prices before, I was pleasantly surprised by the cost too. Many of the phones available were unlocked to all the networks available, which is great for anyone who (like me) is visiting or planning to visit different multiple countries.

My only other distinguishing requirement, I am ashamed to say, is: looks, but lets be honest when you are going for a low end, largely featureless phone, looks are important.

This was the first things that drew me to the phone I eventually purchased, my little red and black LG (full name LG GS155A – sexy!). This is the first LG device that I have owned and so I have enjoyed getting to know the menu system and getting back to basics when it comes to my sole phone.

The device is a simple duel-band GSM phone with FM radio, MP3 player – with expandable microSD memory, camera (0.3MP) and flashlight – very handy while camping. The phone is a comfy candybar shape, which sits nicely in the palm and is a nice change from my usual large smartphone.

It comes stocked up with a calculator, alarm, stop watch, unit converter and a pretty cool looking world clock, set on a map. It also has one game pre-installed called Space Ball, which looks suspiciously like a knock-off version of Nokia’s Snake, which I loved and still do. Plus it is durable, I can’t remember the last time I dropped my phone without gasping with fear…my LG however bounces of most surfaces with little/no injury – remember those days?

But one of the greatest things about downgrading to a non-smartphone is the battery life. No longer do I need to partake in the nightly ritual of charging my phone. My little LG’s candle keeps burning well into it’s third day without need for extra energy.

There are certainly huge advantages to having a smartphone and I do miss my constant internet connection, apps and good camera, but having a low end phone has its advantages too. So whether you are going travelling or just going on your holidays, or even going to a festival, I’d recommend getting a cheap, simple phone to take with you. They don’t even look bad either.



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