Thursday, 27 April 2017


Bit by bit the orders made for my new smartphone are coming together.

I committed myself to the phone itself four days ago, late evening on 23rd April, and expect to receive it sometime tomorrow, on the 28th, most likely in the afternoon. More on that in a moment. First there were two other things that needed to be ordered online as well.

One was a new SIM card. My present phone, Demelza, a Samsung Galaxy S5, takes a microSIM. The new phone, Tigerlily, a Samsung Galaxy S8+, takes a nanoSIM, which is smaller. Both types of SIM card have the same microchip, and so apparently, if you are very careful, you can use scissors to trim a microSIM down to nanoSIM dimensions. But why would you risk a poor fit in the phone, or - worse still - damaging the chip? Some would have a go, but not me. I therefore got in touch with Vodafone and ordered a new SIM card. That was on 25th April, and it arrived by first-class post next day. I think I am going to be charged for the postage, but hey. It was the single most important thing I'd need, to get up and running on the same day that the new phone itself reaches me. Worth £1.50, if that's going to be the charge.

But I also wanted a transparent case to protect the back and side edges of the new phone. Nothing fancy. But something that would fend off accidental bumps, scuffs and scratches, preserve the New Object of Desire from pub-table drink puddles and the effects of dropping it into one's lunchtime salad (which happened once to Demelza), avoid fingerprint-marking, and still display the phone underneath in all its magnificence. I mean, what really is the point of choosing a particular colour for a phone if you swathe it in all-round military-grade armour of one sort or another? The bog-standard Samsung offering looked fine, but in the end I went for Tech21's Pure Clear Case at £29.95, which seemed pricey for a bit of plastic, but then the price was in fact nothing very much out of the ordinary for a phone case, and delivery was free. It's arriving today. Like the nanoSIM, it's in the bag before I commence setup, and from the start Tigerlily will be immune to life's smaller knocks.

By the way, have you seen those journalistic bleatings that the new Samsung S8 and S8+ are very fragile, being unable to survive a drop onto concrete, or gouging with a sharp knife, without the glass crazing and the metal looking scaped? Of course a glass-and-metal object is going to suffer damage if carelessly handled or deliberately abused! And any normal, sensible person who looks after their personal stuff is going to treat a brand-new handheld computer/communications/entertainment device with the utmost care and respect, and not attack it with tools, nor dunk it into a bucket of water, nor see whether it bounces like a beach ball on the car park tarmac. Those are very silly articles.

I do see that the naturally clumsy and hamfisted might willy-nilly inflict harm, careful handling being beyond their capabilities. But the answer for them is to avoid buying all fragile things and buy only tough, heavy products that can take plenty of accidental mistreatment. They know who they are, and what they need to do. Those journalists are (as you'd expect them to do, for the sake of a story) spreading fear and consternation quite unnecessarily.

So the ensemble is now just missing the phone itself. Every day I've been looking for signs that something is happening with delivery, or updating my Vodafone account to reflect the new contract, which in itself would be a good sign that all is going to plan. I expect to hear something definite about delivery later today, but it hasn't happened yet. However, when I checked this morning, I found that my monthly mobile data allowance had shot up from 10GB to 16GB, and that the name of my plan had changed. Aha! That meant the contract was being put into effect. Vodafone's elves and gnomes had been busy.

Mind you, a look at billing to come gave me a temporary shock. £17 had just been paid as usual. It ought to be £60 from now on. But the next bill was estimated at £96! Yikes!

I did some hasty figuring. It was all right. My monthly billing ran to the 20th of each month, with everything paid one month in advance. So they were refunding me £13-odd out of the £17 just paid, but substituting £48 for what was now due on the new contract up to 20th May. And then adding £60 for the amount due up to 20th June. That came out to £94-odd. But the website showed £96-odd, and so I guessed that they were going to make a small charge for sending me that nanoSIM card.

All of which was fair enough. But just for a moment I thought they'd made a mistake! Or that, without realising it, I'd signed up for some expensive extra service or feature that I didn't want. You have to keep your wits about you when dealing with phone companies, and mine are not the sharpest.

Anyway, it looks as if behind the scenes all is well, and that sometime tomorrow I will be brandishing a brand new phone, all set up and ready for long and distinguished service.

And it will have to be long service. I don't plan to buy any more important electronic gadgetry until 2021. I'm giving myself a break from such expenditure. I want to save. And if I do spend significant money, let it be on the house or on ambitious holidays.

It's nearly 4.00pm. I was outside, washing Fiona down - I needed to do something useful in the front, so as not to miss the delivery. The DPD courier turned up exactly halfway through the one-hour slot notified to me, at 3.30pm, and was all smiles. He had with him the Tech21 case. Unpacked, it looks good, a quality product, and it will certainly not detract from Tigerlily's style and finish. 

I could now clearly see something I hadn't been quite sure about: the case actually covered the side buttons, leaving only the camera area and the various sockets on the bottom edge open to the breeze. You could of course still easily operate the buttons through the cover. Well, that was useful: now there wasn't the slightest danger of getting moisture onto the device when pressing a side button with wet hands. Moisture shouldn't penetrate the phone, but any water getting in through an aperture, and becoming trapped between case and phone, would be a nuisance requiring a drying-out procedure.

Holding the Tech21 case, I could now see again how big the phone would be in my left hand. It would be fine - easy and comfortable to hold. Incidentally, like many women I know, I hold my phone firmly in one hand and press or swipe it delicately with the other. None of that balanced-in-one-hand-and-operated -with-a-thumb business. The reviews seem to assume it's a man buying the phone, and that (a) he'll use with only one hand (with a high risk of dropping it), and (b) he'll carry it in his back jeans or trouser pocket (hence the call for bendy phones). Girls carry bags, and we generally put our phones in them, and for us phone size or shape is not an issue unless deliberately going out bagless!

1 comment:

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