A few months ago, I was doing my morning stretches in a back alley when I dropped my iPhone 6 of four years on the rough, San Francisco pavement. It was the same spot that I had seen someone shoot up, but that’s for another time. Obviously I was displeased, but little did I know that after that moment, my life would never be the same.
Let me walk you through what happened after that glorious, slow-motion fall from grace. Drake’s Apple Music-exclusive video for “Nonstop” was still playing. And suddenly, the switch was indeed flipped. The beautiful $50 (which, for my Canadian readers, translates roughly to $45 too expensive) red leather case that enveloped my phone was scraped across the top bumper. The majority of my mouthwatering Retina HD display had an ornate web of cracks from the top right to the bottom left. But not too bad, right? Nothing a good old-fashion iFixIt visit couldn’t solve. Well, not quite.
A few hours later, I was administering my favorite dose of pain on myself: recording my own horrid singing voice on numerous painstaking acoustic covers of the same song so I could critique myself. My voice memos literally looked like “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Low Lands 1,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Low Lands 2,” … “Sad-Eyed Lady 10,” … “SELOTLL 26.”
Midway through the cover, my phone started vibrating erratically. I picked it up only to realize that it was now a hot potato, unbearable to touch. So I wrapped it in a hand towel and stuck it into the side of a couch. Later that night, I unwrapped my dear iPhone to find that it decided wouldn’t restart despite my greatest efforts. I couldn’t get it to turn on. There goes my entire computer science degree, right out the window.
Next, my mathematics degree was employed as I realized that I could either get another iPhone 6 for roughly $150 or I could get a better iPhone for at least double that. To avoid a lengthy debate with myself about the second-hand electronic market and the various risks involved, I decided I needed a new-new phone; I couldn’t use someone’s old one. Hence, my options were limited to what my meager salary could afford me. As anyone who’s still above the ground today will tell you, you really need a phone to survive these days. Like really, really need a phone.
I imagine that most people in my position, with my mistrust of second-hand electronics, would just pull up to the Apple Store or a retailer and just swallow the pill that is this country’s Apple addiction. But I’m different. And more than your basic “different” — I’m 2-Chainz-level different.
im genuinely convinced that the only reason some people think iphones are better than androids is because of the brand of iphone and not the phone itself. like what iphones are associated with. because they suck otherwise
— TS | Mugman (@mugmanryu) September 18, 2018
After having been without a phone for an entire 36 hours, I pulled up to the nearest Metro PCS and asked what they had for the lowest price they could offer. After some jingling and dingling around the lowest reachable areas of the display case, we collaboratively found a phone.
It was the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime. Having been wrapped around Apple’s finger since my first iPhone 4S in my senior year of high school, I knew I didn’t know anything about Samsung phones. Or really any phone that wasn’t an iPhone. I used to get into lengthy debates about why iPhones are better while never having done the research to say much about why, except the worn-out clichés that most people rely on. Honorable mentions include: “The design is way more intuitive,” “It’s more secure!” and my personal favorite, “I don’t care, it’s just better.”
None of these were substantiated with either actual knowledge of Android phones or experience using them. Instead, I had decided I knew what I already knew, and I didn’t want to know what I didn’t want to know. This was a self-sustaining attitude that kept me from trying anything but an iPhone for my entire smartphone upbringing. But today was different. Today, I had to hang my pride at the door of that Metro PCS store and say, “Hey, maybe the rest of the world that hardly uses iPhones is on to something here.”
So I purchased that brand-spanking-new Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime (not to be confused with the regular, plebeian Samsung Galaxy J7) for … exactly $150. I was thrilled. Beyond thrilled. It felt like the first day of my new digital life. Did I seriously just buy a new, un-used smartphone that’s not already phased out and obsolete for just $150? I had to check the receipt twice. The Metro PCS cashier was nice enough to let me put my SIM card in it before I committed to the phone to make sure it actually worked with my provider.
I clicked a few things on that bad boy and, suddenly, I was digitally regenerated: I was back on the cellular network like everyone else. It felt good. After having been without a phone for a whole day and a half, I was thankful to have any phone at all. My gratitude was later heightened when I started using the phone. Just as the pavement had shattered the screen on my precious iPhone 6, this cheap little “Android phone” (making a point about how Android is an operating system and doesn’t actually create cellular devices as far as I know) had shattered all of my expectations of what a phone could do for me.
Looking back to that fateful day when my iPhone broke, I am in awe of how the events unfolded and how my life changed as a result. I am eternally grateful to the tech fates who pulled the right strings to bring me to this decision that otherwise would have never happened. Some would say it was meant to be, but I say that I was always an Android user at heart — I had simply been blinded by a certain fruit-named company’s grasp on my wallet and mind.
On July 26, 2018, I broke free. Up next, how it’s affected me and the various tradeoffs of still using a Mac.