Living without my Galaxy S5 smartphone, day 11: horror and bliss

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

It was 11 days ago, at 12:30 in the afternoon, when I voluntarily parted with my Samsung Galaxy S5. That moment marked the beginning of an experiment – one meant to show what would happen if a techie like myself had to survive without a smartphone. Since then, the only device I've been using for my mobile communication needs has been a cheap, basic phone with no apps, no games, and absolutely no access to the internet. 5 days into my journey, I shared some of the observations I had made until that point, but I was sure there was more to be experienced in the days to come. I wasn't wrong, as it turned out. 

So yeah, over the past 11 days, I've been woken up by my potato phone's ear-piercing alarm clock tone instead of my smartphone's Angel's Feather Smart Alarm. On my way to work, I've been listening to the radio (which seems to have no more than 12 songs in its collection) instead of streaming my favorite tunes via Spotify. I've been butt-dialing my contacts, I've been struggling with texting on a keypad, and I've been asking others to google stuff for me because I simply haven't been able to do it myself. Oh, the horror!

But in all seriousness, being away from my Galaxy S5 hasn't been all that bad of an experience so far. Sure, It made me somewhat nervous at first, but eventually, I started adapting to living without a constant access to the internet, social networks, and funny cat GIFs. In fact, I'd say it is kind of nice not having my phone beep and vibrate every 7 minutes. It is a distraction greater than I thought, and with the temptation of wasting time on a game or social media gone, I've been feeling a bit more productive both at and outside of the office.

You know what I have not been feeling, on the other hand? Phantom vibrations – the sensation of my phone vibrating inside my pocket when it actually isn't. For those not familiar with the phenomenon, studies have shown that it is common among smartphone users, especially among younger people as they are more strongly attached to their mobile devices. I'm guessing these phantom buzzings disappeared because my basic phone, capable of receiving nothing beyond texts and calls, was vibrating much less often than my smartphone. Therefore, my brain was not under this constant anticipation of a vibe caused by a new email or IM arriving. 

Nevertheless, I'd be lying if I say that I don't miss my smartphone. I do miss how it brings the latest tech news to my fingertips, how it keeps me entertained when I'm bored, how it keeps my brain occupied with another level of Color Zen, and how it lets me manage notes and reminders. But most of all, I miss having the Galaxy S5's awesome camera on me all the time. Seriously, I really enjoy taking photos, and I don't feel complete without a camera on me. This made me take out my dusty, 10-year-old point-and-shoot camera and carry it around in case I ever needed it. Needless to say, it wasn't the same. My old camera was slower, wasn't quite as capable as the Galaxy S5 in low light, and wasn't as fun to work with, not to mention that carrying a separate device just to take photos was a burden. Yet another reason to appreciate smartphones, I guess.

That's all for this update on the progress of my experiment. To be honest, I've been coping with the absence of my smartphone more easily than I thought I would and I'm genuinely glad for subjecting myself to a brief period of abstinence. But I'm also eager to get my Galaxy S5 back in a few days. Soon after that, I'll be back with a thorough article dedicated to my experience and to all that I observed during the 2 weeks spend without my handset. 

Story timeline

Related phones

Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh(21h 3G talk time)



1. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Lol that comment underneath the banana... very funny :) Although I am now stuck with the word banana in my head as a minion would say it..

2. androidmachines

Posts: 31; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I don't understand why Phone Arena thinks we care how it is to live WITHOUT a smart. We been living without them, tell us how it is to WITH one. I'm sure the haters that are always posting here would like to hear you troll Samsung.

6. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Maybe because he's still talking/blogging about... phones.

15. Phonecall01 unregistered

Maybe they think we care as much as you taking the time to read and comment on the article...

17. aksa123

Posts: 367; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

It's called research man, research.

20. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Because we live in a connected world where I phones essentially become part of us. Living without one for research purposes is a good idea here. I just wouldn't be the one to do it.

3. arjunezdaz

Posts: 32; Member since: Nov 30, 2014

I am replicating this one with a 5 day challenge with a Rs 1000 phone (approx USD 17 dollars) :)

4. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Well at least you got rid of lag for a while ;)

19. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

A good while. Three or four years, at least.

5. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Regarding that banana , you should've added Sorry for long post , here's a potato

8. PorkyBurger

Posts: 585; Member since: May 18, 2013


7. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Aw, poor baby! At least he gets to use a small, slim phone. Try living with a Moto Ultra Classic like we had to in the early 90s. Camera? Better have a Polaroid if you want the pictures quick.

12. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

The Ultra Classic slim, you could beat a horse to death wit it an not lose the call. I witnessed them being destroyed after digital came along, they used a three pound hammer an about five to ten over head swings! Was a daunting task even to watch. Had a alarm, if right pin wasn't entered it call a phone of your choosing to alert you. NiCd an NiMH days, yay they're in the past, woot.

14. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I wonder how you know you could beat a horse to death with it.. that's quite specific... :)

16. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Buds I ran with an lived with then, taught me, everything is a weapon. We'd spar like kato an clouseau, no kidding, machete's to picture frames. That phone could take a few mild baseball bat hits long enough to close gap, elbow to forhead making him retreat from heavy weaponry to anything else close by an gather steam again. Pots, pans, cast iron especially, anything...I mean anything. Once he tore freezer door off to fend of spearing attack with Dowling. Was so funny we all died laughing our arses off, but it worked, we had to tape door on again. Tequila, puffs, tin foiled windows so neighbors werent calling army an go hard! Everyday coming home, Spidey senses would go off charts, I've a scar or two on hands an face still as does my bud. 8) Spidey sense will always tingle near home now, when we visit each other, we still ambush one another. Crazy can be fun with right people.

18. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Lol, cool story and some insights into your live (even a small insight). And yes crazy can be fun with the right people hahaha

9. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

You experiment could had easily been titled, going from adolescence to Manhood.

10. iampayne

Posts: 322; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Should have used a raZr flip

11. matrix_neo

Posts: 334; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Is that you Nick T? You're kind of cute guy. LOL!!! If i ditched my smartphone, going to buy a featured phone, I will choose Nokia. Still no companies can matched Nokia in featured phones category. Better build, better battery life and cheaper price. And only Nokia still selling featured phones.

13. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Asked others to Google stuff for you? Dude that is like buddy that quits smoking, but will smoke yours gladly. All quitter did was, quit buying. You're still connected. 8)

22. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I know the answer to this question, but what did college kids do before Google or the internet?

21. techsavvy.jaz

Posts: 163; Member since: Feb 07, 2012


23. chiefwo

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 10, 2015

Smart phones are great technology..IF used properly. I had one for work (they paid) and it was a "Mill stone" around my neck...basically had me working 24/7 for free...expected to answer it at 2am..respond to e-mails... So when budget cuts took it away I was soooo happy to see the idiot thing go! Now for my personal phone I have a regular dumb phone...I keep the rigger it beeps once and then vibrates..I answer it when I want..when it is convenient. Now, will I get a smart phone?...Yes...why?...because it is an invaluable tool ..I will use it to keep track of my home security system and my banking...and for information while on the road. I will use Republic wireless service and pay no more than $40 a month. I will NOT be giving this number to my is a private number...and will not be used for work..period! I will not walk around on "cloud 9 "with my face stuck in my smart phone screen like some sort of out of control robot. The smart phone / tablet / computer /TV are not alowed in the bed room....So I will control the technology and NOT the other way around. I see the Smart phone as an Intrusion into my private a 3 lane high way driving through your life...I do not need to be connected to the net 24/7....I am not interested in what is happening on my Facebook account....

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