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I have joined the 21st century

18 December 2020

I wrote a column a few days ago griping about the need to invest in a "flagship" smartphone.

The last thing I wanted to spend money on right now was a smartphone that would only ever really be used for running a few apps relevant to my work.

So I decided to take a bit of a punt and try to find the best cheap phone I could and hope that it would do the job.

My budget: under $300

Well a couple of days ago, after reviewing much information, specs online opinions and cyber-catalogues, I bit the bit the bullet and here's what happened.

The minimum specs I needed were an 8-core processor, dual-band wifi, and something better than Android 8.

After much looking around I reduced the list of options to just two...

The Oppo A5 2020 edition and the Motorola G8.

Normally the G8 is a hefty $349 but it was on special for a shade under $300 when I looked. The Oppo sells for $249.

On paper, the two phones are very similar -- albeit the G8 seems to have better cameras and an extra GB of RAM.

Being the tight-arse that I am, I plumped for the Oppo, mainly because it was still cheaper but also because I love palindromes.

I have to say that after several days' use, I think it was a good deal and my bet paid off, it *does* run the app that I needed to review the camera on my bench right now. That camera is also a kick-arse product BTW.

Despite its many virtues, I won't be using the Oppo as my talky/texty phone though.

It has a 5,000mAH battery that apparently provides two full days of normal use between recharges -- but my flip-phone goes for five days and the flip-phone fits very nicely into my pants-pocket without bulging or making me feel like I'm pleased to see someone.

The other reason is that the Oppo takes a nano-sim whereas my current SIM is a full-sized one that I had to physically cut down to get into a mini-SIM holder. There appears to be nobody in the district that can provide me with a nano-SIM and transfer my number to it. WTF?

I've got to say, this new phone does seem like great value for money though, especially when compared to my wife's expensive Samsung. Sure, it doesn't have as much RAM (but has microSD-card expansion storage up to 256GB) and the cameras are only "okay" -- but I wasn't after a camera or somewhere to archive all the world's knowledge.

The screen is surprisingly good, for such a cheap phone. As an "old bugger", my eyesight isn't what it used to be so the difference between a "retina display" and this somewhat lower res one is purely academic.

Ah well, at least I'm future-proofed for another few months... until I find yet another app that requires an upgrade.

It always pay to prepare for the future I guess... after all, that's where we'll all be spending the rest of our lives.

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