Amidst all this running back and forth to the hospital I’ve been preoccupied with my latest gadget. I’m doing my best to rid myself of the consumerist mentality that I’ve been brainwashed to embrace, but a few remnants remain.
I’ve been obsessing over this darn phone ever since it landed in my hot little hands. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S4. And it’s amazing.
Compared to the low-IQ smartphone that I recently abandoned, the S4 is mind-blowingly cool. It has a ton of features that are completely useless, but for some reason playing with them is really fun. For instance, it tracks eyeballs so that users can scroll up or down with a simple tilt of the head. It only works about 50% of the time (which may or may not be due to the fact that I have Asian eyes), and all the nodding makes me look pretty goofy, but it’s still so cool. Users can also scroll by waving a hand in the air over the gesture sensor. Again, it only works 50% of the time, but when it does work I feel like some kind of magical wizard. Wingardium leviosa!
After years of pining for a low-cost plan with good coverage, and a decent phone, I finally found a winning combination. I bought a used Samsung Galaxy S4 on Ebay, and sent it to Beigephone, who flashed the phone to Page Plus Cellular. Since Page Plus uses Verizon’s network, I now have great coverage, and I’m only paying $30/month. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
There is a catch. This particular plan only comes with 500 MB of data, which is pretty dismal. Since I have a MiFi device with Millenicom, I have WiFi wherever I go, so the miniscule amount of data on my Page Plus plan isn’t an issue at all. But I’m sure this will be an issue for most others.
And there’s a second catch. The flashing process with Beigephone requires that you mail the phone to their office in Texas, which means that if you’re porting your number, you’ll be without a cell phone for a few days. Upon dropping my phone off at the post office, I was told that insurance doesn’t cover damage—only loss. Seriously? What a crock! I tried not to look too disgusted (after all, it’s not the poor guy’s fault that the company he works for is ridiculous), but I couldn’t help raising an eyebrow and flaring my nostrils. Beigephone, for the return trip, sent the phone back sans insurance or extraneous padding. They apparently have more faith in the USPS than I do.
Fully anticipating some kind of impasse, I was skeptical that the scheme I had planned was going to work. Sending a $450 phone to a third party and letting them re-write the OS is pretty sketchy, especially when you couple that with purchasing the phone from Ebay. But I’m happy to report it all worked out just fine. I can now spend my free time nodding at my phone like an idiot and waving my hand over it like a street corner magician. Yippee.