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phone downgrade (but not really)

Time for a new old phone.

There are some things in the tech realm I outright reject mainly for practicality reasons. If the whatever-it-is isn't practical, I will most likely not own it. When it comes to cell phones, I will by default always go with the cheapest possible method as long as it serves my purposes. And if it doesn't, I won't use it.

I am a dirt cheap cell phone user, and have been using the Tracfone service for a few years now, and the service works great in the Tampa Bay Florida area for the most part.

I've gone through several phones over the years, starting with the 10-dollar basic candy bar phone, then up to a QWERTY, then to a touchscreen, then back to a QWERTY and now I'll be "downgrading" to a slider soon.

The current Blackberry-style QWERTY I use is the Samsung S390G. Works well, but it has a lot of "menu hell" going on and I've never been able to get used to the keypad. For a while now I've been waiting to dump it for a phone that better suits me.

Well, Tracfone finally offered one, the T404G. Same triple-minutes-for-life as the S390G, and can do 7 hours talk time or 14.5 days standby time on a single battery charge (try that with any modern touchscreen smartphone).

I lose Wi-Fi capability by using the 404, but since I never use that, I don't care. I also lose the ability to play YouTube videos on the phone, which again is no big deal.

What sold me on the phone was the slider keypad and the ridiculously long battery life. And if you're wondering how the 404 gets such a long battery life, it's because it has no touch controls (it's all tactile) and no Wi-Fi.

The 404 is old technology in a phone that can still be bought new; I think the model is something like 3 or 4 years old. That doesn't bother me because the handset has the goods that make it a great basic phone.

Other people spend hundreds of dollars on new handsets and $780/year and up just for phone service. The 404 is under $30, and my prepaid cell phone bill is under $36/year. I'm not kidding. How do I get it so cheap? It's because I do mostly texting with it, and when I need to place voice calls from home I use Skype which costs me $2.99/month.

And yeah, that means my complete phone bill (Tracfone + Skype) for the entire year is usually $72. Sometimes it inches up to $100 for the year (again, for the year) depending on how many photos I send or receive with the cell phone, but not often.

Going cheap with a cell phone is the only way to do it. Apps are crap. What matters is texting, photos and a phone that can last a very long time on a single charge. The T404G via Tracfone can totally do that, and I'll be happy to own it.

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