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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Life: How I bought my Samsung Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4
Sorry, if this posts seems pretty boring, but I wanted to tell you about my new phone and how I went about deciding how I would pay for it.

I like technology (I might not be very good with it), but I really enjoy owning a smartphone. I rely on it so much - obvious things like calling and texting people, but also checking my emails, getting directions via google maps, downloading skobbler as an inexpensive and accurate satnav, and using it to entertain myself on journeys with games/music. I've owned a couple of iPhones in the past and have loved them dearly. I still remember the massive buzz I got when I purchased the first one 4 years ago - it was so very exciting. When I bought my next one (the iphone 4), I was still pretty happy but I didn't have the same buzz. I put that down to my age and the fact that although it was a far quicker and more modern version - fundamentally it was still very much the same phone, so there wasn't all the fun of exploring its new features.

I'm pretty brutal with my phones - they get pretty bashed. When I was working at the Ginger Pig, I was always cooking so some of the food on my hands inevitably transferred itself onto my phone. Annoyingly, some got stuck under the home button and ever since then it's been hugely temperamental. Basically, I'm the only person who knows the exact pressure to get it working! After 26 months of ownership, I was on the look out for a new phone. I decided upon the new Galaxy Samsung S4. I'm not going to go into a huge review of the phone as this post is about paying for it, not the phone itself. I'll just say that the phone confers far more autonomy than my old phone - it really feels like it's Hazel's phone due to the huge number of options you can use to personalise it. So far, I have changed around the menus, greeting and keyboard to suit my needs and I'm sure they'll be lots more to discover.

So how did I decide which network to join?

Firstly, I tell you about the sort of tariff I was after. I wanted unlimited texts, some minutes (I don't call very many people) and plenty of Internet data. In terms of the phone itself, I wanted a 16Gb Samsung Galaxy in white. Here's a comparison of the most suitable tariffs.


O2 - 24 months - 1 Gb data - unlimited calls - unlimited texts
£37 a month
Total = £888

3 - 24 months - unlimited data - 500 minutes - 5000 texts
£35 a month + initial cost of £49
Total = £889

EE - 24 months - 1 Gb (4G) - unlimited calls - unlimited texts
£41 a month + initial cost of £280
Total = £1264

giffgaff - no contract - 1 Gb - 250 minutes - unlimited texts
£10 a month
Subtotal = £240 + cost to buy Samsung S4 sim free and unlocked from Amazon £552
Total = £792

In the end, I went with who I have been with for the last 2 years - giffgaff. It was the cheapest option, by a considerable margin. I bought the phone from Amazon unlocked and then ordered a SIM from giffgaff.

giffgaff SIM card
the giffgaff SIM has a nano SIM incorporated into it - you just need to pop it out
The best things about giffgaff are the fact that the coverage is great (they run on the O2 network) and there is so much freedom. You simply buy a goodybag once a month to suit your needs. I buy the £10 a month because it gives me unlimited texts, 250 minutes and 1Gb of data. However, if I was to go away and not take my phone then I wouldn't bother buying one and, equally, if my usage suddenly increased I'd buy a more expensive one like £15 a month (400 minutes, unlimited data and texts). It's worth pointing out that giffgaff doesn't have a phone helpline - instead you refer to the online forum. This works perfectly for me - no hanging about on the phone waiting for someone to pick up and I'm yet to have a query that the forum can't answer. Finally, it is a large initial expense - if you'd rather split the costs over 24 months, then one of other options is probably better.

PS I didn't bother to look up Vodaphone. Martin's work iphone is on Vodaphone and he has the most appalling signal ever (in the middle of London!). He has to stand on a stool in the kitchen every time he calls his parents in Manchester to prevent his phone cutting off. Rubbish.

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