Sunday, July 18, 2010

They got me

Let's back up for a second.

I'm not on the forefront of technology. We've established this. If I have something that works perfectly well, I'm happy with it. I don't need, want or even care about getting a newer, cooler version of it.

But I was forced to.

I was on a Verizon family plan with my dad and my brother, and we were all happy with splitting the bill and keeping our costs down. No fancy-schmancy data plans or anything like that — just a modest number of calling minutes and unlimited texting, since I nearly gave my dad a heart attack about two years ago with a bill that was a little higher than usual. Like $150 higher. Allegedly.

But my brother lives in the Bermuda Triangle of the Eastside, somewhere between Kenmore and Redmond and the Twilight Zone. Verizon's wireless service there is sketchy at best, which is also how I would describe the cleanliness of my brother's bathroom. Using it is an experience of the near-death variety.

But I've also let some tile fungus grow every now and then, so I shouldn't talk.

When my brother finally let his phone — which was even more archaic than mine, if you can believe it — die a tragic, outdated-phone death in the washing machine, my dad decided it was time to switch carriers. T-Mobile's wireless coverage includes the Bermuda Triangle, according to my brother's roommates, so T-Mobile it was. This meant that we all had to get new phones.

That meant I had to pick one. And pay for one. Ugggggghhhhhhh.

My dad and I went to a T-Mobile store last week and perused. I was prepared to choose a simple phone with a QWERTY keyboard — gotta have my QWERTY — and be done with it. But my dad had heard a rumor that this T-Mobile store was hiding a brand-new phone in its locked cabinets, one that it hadn't even displayed yet. He had his heart set on this phone, maybe even solely because it seemed to be inaccessible.

The Millses love a good challenge.

I wanted to see the phone, too, before I chose mine. A girl can't let her dad have a cooler phone than she does, can she? So the sales guy let us play with it — the Samsung Galaxy S (also known as the T-Mobile Vibrant).

It was purty.

And then my dad decided to take this shenanigan a step further and ask the manager if we could wildly take advantage of some buy-one-get-one promotion T-Mobile had going and get one of these phones for free. The manager started sweating. Then he got all shifty-eyed. Then he asked, "Well, are you going to buy accessories?"

We got the deal. We did not buy accessories. Zing!

(That makes us sound just terrible. We would have gotten cases, but T-Mobile didn't even have them in stock yet. We'll be back, Shifty Eyes.)

So I have no idea what I'm doing with this phone. I've gotten the texting down. I've made a few calls. I managed to locate a McDonald's in Olympia via GPS this morning when I desperately needed something from the dollar menu. But there are so many features that I have no clue about.

Did I mention that it came pre-loaded with Avatar? Like, the whole movie? Just for no particular reason.


I see you, Neytiri.

I did absolutely no research on this phone and had never heard of it before walking into T-Mobile. I'm pretty happy with it, though, and this review from Google 24/7 seems favorable:
This the the best screen I've seen on a phone, period. That's coming from someone who has been using an iPhone 4's Retina Display for the past few weeks. Sure there are more pixels on the iPhone 4 (most of which I can't see) but the Galaxy's much larger four-inch, Super AMOLED display more than makes up for the lacking pixels. If you have any doubts, check out the Avatar video that T-Mobile includes with their phone. Not one person I've shown this to hasn't been blown away (expletives abound).
The best part is that even with unlimited data and unlimited texting, my share of the monthly wireless bill will be comparable to what it was with Verizon with no bells and whistles.

I just love it when these things work out.

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