Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can smartphones lessen the impact of reverse culture shock?

My 2008 relic versus my new MacBook Air
We borrowed an iPhone 4 for our trip. It has a SIM card slot and it came in very handy for the duration of our trip. One of the unfortunate parts of returning to the US was giving up the phone -- we have Verizon and they don't "do" SIM cards -- and it made me think about the possibility of finally replacing my six year old Samsung flip phone from forever ago (I hate to admit it, but, at this point my rebellion against smart phones might be coming to an end). Part of life back in the USA means more e-mail and flip phones just can't handle it. I e-mailed a great friend of mine who is not a techie, but gave me better advice than any other tech website or blog out there. Here is what she had to say about the iPhone vs. everything else debate:

I think that unless you want the fingerprint security (so you can be a show-off), you may as well stick with the 5. I have the 5. It holds a little more thrill than my 4 (extra row of apps on your screen) but for my small hand, it is not as comfortable as the 4. Plus, my one-handed texting speed is diminished because there is an extra stretch involved from the added height.

If you are looking at the 5c (5cheap), they will probably work fine. It's an apple product, so you can't go wrong. But the colors are a bit day-glo and probably meant to attract non-professionals and kids. I see the Wendy's drive-through workers or Jersey Shore thousandaires sporting them (similar to the BMW 1 series or mercedes hatch-back from 15 years ago, these will be entry-level products). If you're going with the 5c, keep your dignity and choose either white or black. You can always buy a festive case later and you won't be married to a bad mistake that clashes with your wardrobe.

HOWEVER, in my attempt to find something good about the 5c, it would be a good "trial" iPhone. If you like it, you can upgrade to the macdaddy version without hesitation or regret.

So. Bottom line. The plain old 5 is prettier than the 4, but not as comfortable to use (for female hands).

The 5c is fine for a 1-year test drive, but watch your color choice or people will think you're credit score sucks.

The 4S will probably cost the same as the 5c, and may be more comfortable. Plus the casing is glass and metal, not plastic.

The 5S is for show-offs and people with money to burn (think Shahs of Sunset). My husband wants one, but that's because of the fingerprint security. I give him a pass only because he's military and into that stuff. I may get the 5s, but you know me. I'm an impractical show off, and I own that quality.

And what about non-iPhones??

I pay no attention to non-iPhones. They are meaningless on the world stage and are kidding themselves by calling themselves competitors. It's like Nadya Suleman (octomom) comparing herself to Angelina Jolie.  The only one making that comparison is Nadya.

Our friends in Samar, Nepal (accessible only by foot/horse) have brand new iPads. I'm getting the message...
Conclusion: I bought the iPhone 5c and it works very well. I was used to the 4 so the transition made sense. The best thing to do is protect the investment so I got it a protective case and now I have the phone on the Prey app. If you're ever a victim of theft, having the tracking app and reasonable insurance (check the deductible!) could save bad headaches from happening. This recently happened to a very close friend of mine (at gunpoint nonetheless!) and it wasn't insured or with a GPS tracker on. Cost of a new smartphone can be well over $500.


  1. I wonder if smartphones may also prevent us from really being immersed in a new place when we're there. They sometimes seem to put us everywhere at once.

    1. They can definitely contribute to that but it's up to you to control it... or just go to very remote places where you can't even cheat if you want to! Hope your travels are going very well!

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