Given a Second Chance – Part One

This is the first of several posts aimed at arguing that having the latest and greatest is not necessary for most people when it comes to a variety of things. As technology is the focus here, it is worth considering what our true needs and priorities are. This post will focus on the ever evolving smartphone.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

Before we jump into the main event, allow me to set the stage. Last fall, while at work, my phone, a Moto G7 Power decided to take a dive… Into the toilet as I was just getting ready to use it! The blasted thing fell out of my pocket; gross, I know. Nevertheless, I quickly scooped it up and dried what I could with paper towels. Right away, the handset mic stopped working. I was able to continue making calls using my Bluetooth headset. Seeing that I had the phone only 3 or 4 months, I had no interest in coughing up cash for a new phone.

Fast forward to last month…

On addition to the non-working phone receiver mic, my phone began to experience random reboots on its own while I’d be on a call. I also experienced issues with text and picture messaging where, after anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour, messages would fail to send. The funny thing is that I could receive messages until my heart’s content. I tried resetting and manually configuring the SMS provider settings to no avail. That was the final straw because it’s just not feasible to reboot a phone dozens of times in a day just to do basic tasks.

Looking at the Contenders

The first place I thought of looking is my mobile carrier. To my surprise, their phone lineup had not changed one bit in the nearly 8 months I’ve had my Motorola device. I also was fed up with getting a device only to have some catastrophe, manufacturer or otherwise, take it out after less than 6 months. At that point, I convinced myself I was going with a carrier unlocked phone.  Here’s what is interesting about purchasing an unlocked phone:  it makes it easy to activate service on a carrier of your choosing, but, in some cases, it requires buying the phone at full price unlike the so-called savings you get with a post-paid contract.  

This led me, next, to search the online marketplace big dogs:  Amazon and eBay.  As I am writing this, we are enduring the global Coronavirus outbreak.  The issue I had with Amazon was that because they were prioritizing shipping of essential products, the delivery of an item, like a smartphone, could potentially take weeks to get to me.  So that led me to search around eBay for a replacment for the Moto G7 Power.  My primary criteria was as follows:

  • Max allowance of 250 dollars
  • Phone would be supported with software and security patches for at least 2 years
  • Had a good Android OS experience (What can I say?  Been a fanboy from its Honeycomb days)
  • Not locked to any mobile carrier (I’ve been a T-Mobile user dating back to its VoiceStream days, but hate the idea of being tied to only one company)

After spending an hour scouring the website for unlocked, REFURBISHED phones, I was reminded by the fact that Google, the mother of the Android operating system that many brands, such as Samsung power their devices, is where most of the mainstream cutting edge features are birthed.  This narrowed my attention to looking at the Pixel line up of phones.  Once I isolated things down to the 3a family of devices, I locked in on the Pixel 3a XL.  Next step is to hunt for the best bargain while taking into consideration the sellers reputation and most recent feedback, both positive and negative.  I found a device in good condition from a refurbisher in Brooklyn, so the short shipping time was an added bonus.  So, 3 days and $225 later, a professionally packed device arrived in my mailbox.  I also paired this device with an OtterBox case/holster as well to provide as much shock protection possible from any potential falls.  I’m happy to have a holster once more as I personally don’t like stuffing my phone in a pocket while I’m on the job.  I will spare you the likely boredom of technical specifications, but if you are interested, here they are from the horse’s mouth.

Let’s Go to the Score Cards…

While the Google Pixel 3a XL was a fine replacement for my defunct Moto G7 Power, the bigger takeaway here is that new is not always necessary.  With a little bit of homework and patience, it is possible to get a refurbished device that can and, likely, will give you a minimum of a couple of years of good use.  It is also worth considering how the Android development community frequently pumps out customize ROMs of the newest versions of Android to help keep many devices alive and kicking for years after the manufacturer stops supporting them.  That will be for another day and another discussion.  My question in closing is this:  Would you consider getting a device that is either considered mid-range or a refurbished flagship device?  Why or why not?


Until the Next Post!


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