Phone Envy

This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

I enjoy having the latest and greatest technology. Despite that, I am only on my fourth smartphone ever. I started late with a Motorola Razr (the smartphone brand revival, though I also had the original flip phone). Later I moved onto an HTC phone and then a Nexus 6P and finally, my current phone, the Google Pixel XL.

It took a lot for me to hold off on upgrading the Pixel XL again after only one year. I love my phone but the urge is strong. That urge is even stronger now. The battery isn’t what it once was and it is starting to feel a little sluggish. Plus, its biggest selling point to me right now is that I love USB-C and everything else has that!

I was holding off for a Pixel 3. I love Google’s hardware, especially my Pixelbook Chromebook. And then the dreaded notch reared its ugly head.

I do not know where you come down on the “notch” debate in smartphones. Essentially, its a cutout at the top of the phone to hold necessary electronics, but since we want edge-to-edge displays, phones like the iPhone X are adopting notches that extend into the screen itself.

I was not firmly against at first. I don’t much mind the idea, especially since on Android I rarely use the very middle of the notification bar. The rumors that the Pixel 3 would have a notch did not deter my hype train, at least not until I saw it was so big that the notifications at the top of the phone actually have to be centered due to the added vertical space.

I could go with the smaller Pixel 3, but I value a larger display since I mostly use my phone for reading and I prefer the larger battery that often accompanies bigger phones.

Pixel 3 XL firmly out of the running, I am left with … not much else. I refuse to buy an iPhone and I am limited to Verizon, so something as romantic as a OnePlus isn’t in my reach. The Galaxy Note 9 looks very promising, but if I hold off until December like I should, I will only be a few months more away from the Galaxy 10 which should have some actual forward-thinking design.

I could also just not upgrade and get over my phone hype. That won’t happen, but I thought it prudent to admit that as an option. At this point, I am not sure what I will do! I hate phone envy and these incremental upgrades. I also hate that Google has squandered all of my interest in the Pixel line from day one when derivative design and no real intent to be anything beyond a marketing campaign.

I will probably buy a Note 9 as soon as I see a decent sell …


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6 responses to “Phone Envy”

  1. I remember a time when I felt serious phone envy and then new-model-iPad envy too. Felt very strong urges to upgrade to the latest every time. I resisted the urges, but boy did I feel them!

    Now I don’t feel that at all. Not too sure how that came about, but I would think it is a combination of:

    Smartphones and tablets are commonplace now, not the latest shiny new concept. They’ve reached a level of maturity where the older ones do such a good job of what I use them for, the benefits of the latest shiny are a lot more marginal than they used to be.
    As I get older I feel these kinds of urges less and less about everything. Maybe it’s hormones or something? :)
    I just don’t follow all the conversations about this stuff. Don’t read reviews, watch tech shows etc. So I’m barely aware of what’s supposed to be great about the latest stuff, and not caught up in any hype.


    • I can see that. I think my biggest problem now is wanting to upgrade, but not having that clear next path. It makes my hyper attentive to latest trends, but never with any payoff.


      • I guess when you have already decided that it’s time to upgrade you start paying special attention to what’s out there, and then you get caught up in all the hype and marketing, wanting first this, then that.

        One rule of thumb I have learned from playing chess is that when you can’t decide between two or more options, that often means that actually the true value of them is very close to each other!

        Yes, there may be many differences between them but if one was really all that much better overall than another, that would have already been apparent to you after a little bit of thought! The fact that you can’t decide is often a clue that it won’t matter very much in the end which one you go for, and you might as well save your time and energy and just pick one.

        I try to remember this in RL as well when I’m dithering over choices.

        Of course if it really could be a big deal which you go for (say two very different career paths) then it may be worth investing a lot more effort into figuring out all the consequences of the different choices.

        In the tech world getting yourself locked into a particular ecosystem might be that kind of choice. Even them, once you’ve educated yourself a bit on the issues (say of Mac v PC) if there is no obvious winner, after a point thinking more on it will not really be much help.

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