Smartphones are slowly but surely taking over the world. So much so that in 2013, smartphones outsold feature phones globally for the first time, with a reported 55 percent of all new phones sold in Q3 of the smart rather than dumb variety.
However, despite their entry into the mainstream, smartphones aren’t yet anywhere near being essential tools for life. Those who own one may think they couldn’t live without their iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone handset, but in reality they could, if they were called upon to do so.
The danger with this ubiquitousness is that you may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you’re perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don’t be pressured. Stand strong in the face of desire. After all, there are several perfectly legitimate reasons not to buy a smartphone.
The High Costs
Owning a feature phone is a relatively cheap proposition. You can pay a small amount of money outright for the handset and then get a cheap prepaid, no contract SIM card. Buy a smartphone, however, and you’re looking at either a huge wedge of cash to buy the phone outright, or a big monthly outlay for a data plan.
With a smartphone, you’re also likely to be tied to a contract that could cause hardship if your financial situation changes. And if you somehow damage your handset — and let’s face it, these aren’t the most hardy of devices — you may be forced to pay for a repair or replacement.
Reason #1: You shouldn’t buy a smartphone if you can’t afford a smartphone.
The Need To Disconnect
Smartphones are great for those people who want to be online and connected all the time. And I mean 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Owning a smartphone means you can be phoned, texted, emailed, messaged, Facebooked, and tweeted at any time of the day and night. And you will feel obliged to check and reply to these communications.
But what if you neither want or need to be contactable at a moment’s notice? Sure, you could leave your smartphone at home or switch it off, but the very act of owning one means you’re invariably unwilling to do so, just in case. Owning a feature phone limits this always-available mentality to just calls and texts, which is much more manageable.
Reason #2: You shouldn’t buy a smartphone if you like getting away from things occasionally.
The Time-Wasting Potential
When you first start thinking about buying a smartphone, you probably justify the cost by running through in your head how productive it will make you. Emails on the go, catching up on MakeUseOf articles while eating lunch, apps that will help you get things done. The reality is rather different.
Although there are apps to aid productivity, there are countless others which are there purely to waste your time. So, you’re really good at Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga… which is no kind of achievement whatsoever. Instagram, Snapchat, Vine? All complete wastes of time when it really comes down to it.
Reason #3: Don’t buy a smartphone because you think it will make you more productive.
The Risk Of Phubbing
For those not aware of the phenomenon that is phubbing, simply walk into any coffee shop or cafe and watch a couple for long for long enough to see it being done before your very eyes. Creepy, sure, but a lot less rude than whipping out your phone rather than giving your undivided attention to the person or people with you.
Phubbing stands for “phone snubbing,” and it’s increasingly common practise. It was never really a problem with feature phones, but with smartphones offering a whole world of time-wasting possibilities (see above) it’s all too easy to be tempted to do something other than talk to someone in the real world.
Reason #4: Don’t buy a smartphone if you value your real-life friends and family.
The Inevitable E-Waste
Smartphones are evolving at an incredible rate of knots. Each new generation of these wonder devices offer new and improved features, innovations, and upgraded operating systems which are incompatible with older hardware. Which is great for geeks who like to be at the forefront of technology.
Unfortunately, it isn’t so great for the environment and the increasing problem of electronic waste. The smartphones in use today will be out of date and due to be trashed within a year or two, and most, sadly, will end up being binned rather than recycled. Feature phones, on the other hand, can last for years.
Reason #5: Don’t buy a smartphone if you don’t want to contribute to the problem of e-waste.
It’s Your Choice…
These are just a handful of reasons why a smartphone may not be right for you. If you need an excuse to bat away peer pressure from your smartphone-owning friends, any of these will suffice.
Countering these reasons for not owning a smartphone are the many examples of what can be achieved with one. Such as the opportunity to take photos anywhere and everywhere, or the number of single-purpose devices a smartphone kills the need to own.
It is, of course, completely up to you, and you alone, whether you want to make the jump from feature phone to smartphone. Do so knowing that once you have gone over to the dark side of smartphone ownership it’s very difficult to return to the simple pleasures of owning a humble feature phone.