Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Four ancient electronics that I adore

This morning an article on LinkedIn caught my attention: People Holding on to Phones Longer.  Who woulda thunk it, but ever since the major cell carriers stopped subsidizing the cost of phones with contracts, folks are starting to figure out that phones are expensive.  This hit home because I'd like to - but don't need to - get a new phone.  Once I figured out how much money my ancient phone is saving me each month, I came to appreciate it more.  And then I started thinking about a few other old as dirt electronics that have stood the test of time.

1. The oldest and the goodest: Kindle E-reader

Sheesh how old is that thing anyway? Six years strong.
How much did it cost? $69 new back in the day.  There are many models of Kindles out now (I'm just talking about e-readers, not tablets), but it seems that the equivalent is $79 today.
Number of problems I've had with it? Zero.  Ziltch.  Nada.
How often do I use it? Nearly every day.  Occasionally it gets a few weeks off when I go prehistoric and read actual books printed on actual paper.
How's the battery? So sweet.  A full charge is supposed to last a month and I don't think I charge it even that much.  I use it the most when I go on vacation and I don't even bother to take the charger.
Reasons to upgrade? None.  Sure, the new models have touch screens (which I don't want because I think I'd be more prone to turning pages accidentally), and they also show the page numbers and the estimated time to finish the chapter, but those are really minor improvements.
Would I ever upgrade? Not until the day it dies, and then I'd get another in a heartbeat.

2. The super ancient one: Garmin Forerunner 305
Sheesh how old is that thing anyway? Unknown.  I've had it for five years.  The internet says this model came out in 2006.
How much did it cost? $80 used.  Retail price at the time was somewhere is the $200-$300 range, which was just too much for a toy.  New models are similarly priced.
Number of problems I've had with it? Mostly user error, such as when I forget to turn it off and find an empty battery the next time.  After four years I ran out of storage space and had to delete my older runs (from the watch, I can still see them in the app).  It's starting to get some age related problems in that it's very finicky about connecting to its charger.
How often do I use it? Every time I run outside.
How's the battery? Good as far as I can tell, it's only run out when I've forgotten to turn the watch off.  With that said, I also baby it and charge it once a week, so I have't really pushed it.
Reasons to upgrade? My only beef is that it's so old that the only way to sync it is to manually load my runs into Garmin's desktop software, and then export them one at a time to the app.  A newer model would auto sync, be smaller, and would give me a few extra features.
Would I ever upgrade? Not until the day it dies and yes I'll get another.  Now that I'm further along in my running, I could justify spending full price, but hopefully when the time comes I'll find another deal on a used one.

3. The new kid: Fitbit Flex
Sheesh how old is that thing anyway? I've had it for nearly three years and am shocked shocked that it's lasted so long and strong.
How much did it cost? Nothing, I won it in a work fitness contest.  Today's equivalent is $69.  I may or may not have spent more than that in buying fancy fitbit bands over the years, but a girl's gotta have her pearls.

Number of problems I've had with it? Yeah, no getting around it, the battery is flaky.
How often do I use it? Every dang day.  Among other things, it's my alarm clock.  Fitty and I are close, though we sometimes spend our vacations apart.
How's the battery? Ding, ding, ding you hit the sore spot.  Fitbit says it's supposed to last five days, and it did when it was new.  Currently I charge it twice a week.  Every once in a while it just dies.  Sometimes it lets my phone know that the battery is low so that I get a warning, other times it just ups and dies.  It doesn't happen often, but more than once it's died on my Saturday morning long runs with a fully charged battery.  Yes, I've cleaned it and reset it and done everything Fitbit support says to do to fix it. But with that said, you also heard correctly that I use it as my alarm clock, so you know that the problem can't be that bad.
Reasons to upgrade? The Flex is the most basic Fitbit out there.  Even the kids' version costs more.  With more $ you get more features such as a watch and a heart rate monitor.
Would I ever upgrade? Nah, not unless the battery gets worse.  And then it's a toss up.  If I was in a good mood, I might get another Fitty.  Or I might just get a silent alarm clock, which is the one feature it has that I can't live without.

4. The one that started the conversation in the first place: iphone 6+
Sheesh how old is that thing anyway? Four years young!
How much did it cost? Well kids, back in the stone ages when I got it, phones came with contracts.  I paid $300 and committed to staying with my phone carrier for another two years.  Nowadays it costs all the monies to get a new phone, either in a lump sum or in monthly payments in addition to your phone bill.  The price range (for the storage options that I would get) is $699 for an iphone 7 all the way up to $1,449 for an XS.  I really can't imagine replacing it with a 7 since that's still pretty old and I bet you can guess how I feel about shelling out $1,449 (a mere $60 a month).
Number of problems I've had with it? Few and far between.  The worst problem was my poor decision to get the 16GB model, so storage space is tight (seriously, worst way to save $100 ever...).  It's crashed a few times over the years.  To be specific, 0 items in the first 3 years and 3 crashes in the last year.  A simple reset made it happy again.
How often do I use it?  All.the.time.
Number of times I've dropped it and the number of protective screens that I've shattered?  Too many to count.
How's the battery? As good as the day I got it.  Even if I'm super obnoxious with usage, there's still 50% left at the end of the day and it's not unheard of to go two days on one charge.  I guess Apple forgot to sabotage mine.
Reasons to upgrade? Storage space and a better camera.  I'm thinking about getting airpods, and once I do it's inevitable that I'm going to want more storage space.  The camera is pretty nice on the 6+ but I'm always a sucker for a better one.  And let's face it, it's not going to last forever.
Have I considered an Android? Yes, but dollar for dollar the iphone has paid off.  $300 for four years and still going strong.  My previous Androids were $200 and each lasted two years...and man those suckers were dead at the two year mark. 
Would I ever upgrade? I wanted to until I ran the numbers and found out that the old one is money.  For every month I keep it, that's $60 staying in my wallet, which makes me love it all the more.  Now if I can just keep it long enough for cell carriers to start subsidizing phones again, I'll be golden.

It's your turn!  How old is your phone and what electronics have passed the test of time for you?

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