“Entry-level” Smartphones Are Useless Crap On Major US Carriers, Stop Giving Them Press

Having just read The Verge’s review of T-Mobile’s new myTouch phones on T-Mobile, I’m in a rant mood (when am I not, though?).

Let me offer up my thesis before this devolves into a lot of swearing: there is 100%, zero reason for any consumer on a major carrier paying for a full-on smartphone plan to buy a “budget,” “entry level,” or otherwise low-end phone. None.

Listen, everyone has heard the math behind this before. It doesn’t matter if you’re on T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint – they all lead to the same conclusion: buying a budget phone is moronic, you idiot.

Are you paying $100 a month for smartphone plan? Or only 70? It doesn’t matter. If you’re on a major US carrier, there is a 95% chance you’re using a 2-year contract upgrade cycle. That means that for two years, you’re giving that carrier that amount money each and every month. At $70 a month, that’s $1680 – at $100, it’s $2400 (let’s say $2000 for Verizon’s 20 month cycle). Holy shit – that’s a lot of money!

You know what doesn’t cost a lot of money? Your fucking phone. “But David, I don’t want to spend $200 on a new phone, money is money.” That doesn’t mean you have to buy a shitty phone (unless you’re on T-Mobile, apparently – because their selection is fucking awful).

Verizon Galaxy Nexus – $99 at Verizon – a fantastic reason not to buy a Pantech Marauder or LG Lucid. Hell, it’s free on Amazon.

HTC One X for AT&T – $99 in store, $79 on Amazon or at Costco. Great phone.

T-Mobile One S: $140 on Wirefly, new or upgrade (I have to say, of all carriers, T-Mo customers have it the fucking worst for good phones at a reasonable price).

Sprint Galaxy Nexus: $50 at Wirefly.

Hey look, I just found you 4 reasons, one for each major carrier, not to buy a god-awful shitpile budget phone. And you want to talk even more value for money? All these phones will get updated to Android 4.1 – probably even before you’re dead! No Change.org petition required.

But I don’t like big screens. I don’t need something that powerful. Guess what, if old-man-Twitter-abomination Senator Chuck Grassley decides he can handle an iPhone 4S, it’s time to man up. If I hear one more person who hasn’t actually held a Galaxy S III or One X say “it’s too big,” I’m going to make a collage out of the Google image results for “women using Galaxy Note” and shame people into getting with the god damn times.

Because you know what you’re doing? It’s like you’re walking onto a BMW lot planning to lease a car for 2 years, and the guy tells you that “for the same monthly lease price, with no additional fees on return” that you can have an M3 instead of a 320i (an even less premium version only outside the US) if you give him $1200 more up front (let’s ignore gas mileage). You’d have to be an idiot to pass that up, and that is what every single person buying a budget phone on a major US carrier with a 2-year agreement is doing. You’re giving up an M3 so you can save a comparatively small amount of money up front, and you end up with a shitty 4-banger luxury econobox.

Tl;dr – if you have enough money to pay for smartphone service on one of the “Big Four” carriers in the US for 2 years, you have enough money to buy a not-shitty phone. And if you don’t, you should probably head over to Metro PCS so that you can, you know, eat something other than instant noodles on a regular basis.

And that concludes this rant

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