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!
Smartphones are fun, but highly distracting
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.
This could have been a picture of a beautiful night scenery, or of the warm sunrise, or of the lady that I saw dancing on the street the other day. Alas, I didn't have a camera at that time, so here's a banana.
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.