What do you think the advantages are of having a smartphone?

I have happily lived with a basic cell phone for a long time, but I'm thinking of getting an iPhone.  I am sort of thinking either the 4S or the 5, and then, of course, you have to decide how many gigabytes.  There would be a learning curve, too, since I haven't used one before.  Trying to balance the extra expense against the advantages.

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I was a hold-out, too, until 2 1/2 years ago when I caved in and bought a Blackberry and added $30/month to my basic expenses.   Still have the Blackberry and it's been the best thing ever and can't live without it and totally worth the $360/year. My next phone might very well be the new Blackberry 10, which got great tech reviews and I'll wait to see user reviews.

Advantages:

1.  easier texting (I also added $5/month in texting so I don't have to worry about going over; quite necessary these days)

2.  never worry about missing an important work email, including many job offers are email only (I'm speaking not email blasts here but direct emails from people I know.  Some are emailing and not calling.)

3.  great to be able to jot notes to yourself.  I open what's called Memo Pad and I have several documents called hair, shopping list, doctor notes, etc, all kinds of things that I want to be able to jot something down when I'm out of the house

This is very basic stuff.   At present I don't use my phone for anything other than email, texts, talking, and note-taking when I need it.  There's so much more that's available.  Even when I get my next phone, whenever that is because current phone is going strong, I might not ramp it up because in the house I'm in front of the computer but out of the house I'm either driving or interacting so just don't need to be doing that much computer-related stuff while out.  But I do enough as it is and couldn't do it without the Blackberry.   So whatever smartphone you decide on, I say go for it.  

I think a Smart Phone is worth every cent I pay for it.  For one, as a freelancer, I'd have a hard time getting jobs without being able to jump on what's available immediately.  I absolutely rely on getting my work email immediately.

I don't know if you have to travel at all, but it's great to have Google Maps at your fingertips.  (I have an Android phone, rather than an Apple, so you might have to rely on whatever Apple has).  But I use it for things like finding the on-ramp back to the freeway from wherever I am or finding the UPS store that's closest to my job that day as well as a regular GPS.

Another thing I use all the time is the camera.  Most of the new phones have really good cameras now.  When I get to a job and I'm given a caption, I just take a picture of it -- and the proof of service.  Badabing-Badabang!  I've got everything I need and don't have to worry that I didn't copy something right because I was hurrying to get it all down.

Then there's Google.  You always have access to the Internet and any question you have is instantly answered!

I also have the NYTimes on my phone, and wait time is always interesting.  There's obviously a charge for that, from the NYT, but I find it to be well worth it.  I can also look at the San Francisco paper or my local city paper online, both of which are free.

And aside from work-related values, it'll probably take you about a week to find a TON of other personal uses for the phone.  Just about anything you do in your life has an "app."  It's really amazing.  Really, don't think twice.  You'll never regret making that jump from a regular phone to a smart phone.

I upgraded to a Samsung Nexus this year so that I have a hot spot available wherever I am.  I often find myself working while on the way to my daughter's games/activities/appointments and there are some out-of-the-way places that don't have access.  This way, I can go anywhere and still make my deadlines without missing important things.  I also use it for email and texting to clients.

I'm quickly adding my two cents before I go back to work.  

I love my iPhone.  My husband was a holdout, using a basic camera phone, but now he loves his iPhone.  My teenage son, it's always attached to him.

There are a myriad of reasons, but aside from what the others have mentioned, there are the iTunes and music.  It's an iPod/mp3 player as well as a phone.  You can share music, photos, and I think other info by using iCloud with family members.  

If your car has it, you can sync your phone for "handsfree" use (if you are inclined to).  You can verbally instruct it to dial your calls and/or play selected music.  If you have "Siri," she will be happy to search the internet, make calls, and navigate for you while you drive  

If you work out, walk, et cetera, you have your music, and then if you get a text, call, or email, you can respond with the one unit at that time.  There are workout "apps," tons of apps and games, although I don't play the games -- 11-year-old son is always putting them on mine since he is too young to have his own.

Sigalert.com has a great app for traffic.  I imagine that is available on any smartphone.  On any smartphone there is probably a "Notes" area for any notes.

There are several digital recording apps that you can download.  I record my depos with my phone as a backup to my backup recording on Eclipse on my computer. 

If you like to cook, apps for that as well as shopping lists.  In fact, there is probably an app for anything you need.  

Another plus is that any Apple store can check it out and fix it if you have AppleCare which is pretty reasonable.  They can fix it right at the store, and if it's not fixable, they will give you a new one. They have classes in which you can learn more about what your phone will do.  I haven't taken them, but I do believe they are free or at a nominal fee.

You can plug it into your computer to sync up your photos, music, anything.  You also have a copy on your computer of the contents of your phone, which is nice should you lose it.  There are apps for finding your phone if it is lost or stolen. We had a relative that was injured and missing, and we were able to find him by using the "Find iPhone" app..  That was worth everything!

A relative has a side eBay business which has an app that sends him "pings" when an item has sold, watched, et cetera. He can work that business at lunch or breaks from his regular job. 

There is the "Scan" app for which you line up the scan sign on a product, sign, et cetera, and it will contact the company of the Scan sign and give you information on that product, business and so on.

I love Debbie's idea of taking a picture of the caption and proof of service!  I will start doing that!!!!!!! Thanks, Debbie!

I must get back to work  I don't think you will be sorry to have an iPhone or any smartphone.  You will wonder why it took you so long after you have acquired it!  You don't have to be a tech to love it.

Thanks, everybody ~ really helpful.  Jina, does doing backup recording use a lot of data?

I think so.  I have 4.8 gigs on the recording app of 22 jobs, and only 1.8 of music which is about 240 songs and a handful of music videos. I have a 16 gig phone, and I do wish I had the 32 gig.  I should be erasing the jobs as I don't need old ones on there.  Just being belt and suspenders with jobs.

Knock on wood, I've dropped it too many times, and with the rubber case, it has not broken.  I really do drop it a lot. 

Just remembered that I recently took pictures of some of a friend's recipes from her recipe book, of course with her knowledge, and that was much easier than copying them down.

Must get back to work.  Glad you caught me!

Hope that helps!

Get a smartphone.  They pay for themselves really fast.  Check out the Samsung Galaxy.  I have an iPhone and I really like it but a friend showed me the Samsung Galaxy and it has a bigger screen.  I am considering getting one of those when my contract is up.  iPhones are great too.

There is a learning curve but it's really nice.

If I can learn the iPhone, anyone can.  I so am not tech savvy at all.  Great phone.

Okay.  I will be the contrarian.  Sure, the smartphones are a lot of fun, and I know a lot of people who love them and are probably into them a wee bit much (like my teenager daughter)  but I personally don't have much use for it.  I've got GPS in my car anyway.   I have a iTouch for music.   I calculated I spent 1750 bucks a year on two smartphones.   I mean I think that's a lot of money.  I would rather save the money and put it in the stock market and watch it increase in value.  That's how I get my kicks, I guess.   

These phones only last a couple years at the most and all the "cool apps" have to be redownloaded and better save your pictures.   I use a computer for browsing on the internet, not my smartphone.

But I'm not one that relies on e-mails from clients and I'm not looking for blast e-mail job offers anyway.

I used to think people looked like a herd of cows walking down the street, all staring at their phones.  It's really funny to walk through a crowded city like San Francisco and see practically everyone doing it.  Remember the woman who fell in the fountain?   Then I started to become that person, who had their head down perpetually staring at the phone.  And it was really for nothing important but to entertain myself.  Now, I'm not even into my phone at all.   Although I do check the Dow Jones sometimes to see how much my money has increased.

I am sure I'm in the minority on this but just offering a different opinion.   

You don't have to pay for the apps again, just download them again. 

Martha, I agree if you are not getting jobs that way, it is probably not cost effective.  

I've been reading in the news lately about people being shot for their iPhones.  Apparently it's big business.  Everyone keep your eyes open.  Don't want to be another statistic.  Pretty sad.

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