Guest editorial: skipping upgrade, again.
A brief history of… phones – by Daniel Dur
…or why I will skip upgrading my phone this year, again
Let’s start with a bit of history.
I’ve got my first Android phone around January 2011 in the form of a Motorola Defy. Everything was nice until, about 21 months later, with no update beyond Gingerbread (v 2.3.3) in sight (not even unofficially) I decided that it is time for a change. And a Galaxy Nexus fell in my hands (September 2012). Another 20 months later the story repeats itself: Texas Instruments exits the smartphone SoC market and the last (unofficial) update is Ice Cream Sandwich (v 4.4). I liked the Nexus line, especially for its price/performance ratio so I went on with a Nexus 5 (May 2014). Another 18 months have passed and the 2 GB of RAM started to be more and more of a bottleneck for me.
Since I was supposed to get a new phone from work and the iPhone 6s was presented as my only option I took it (October 2015). Bad mistake! I managed to not throw it against a wall for less than 3 months. Thank goodness I could exchange it for an Android: a brand new Xperia Z5 mini. Nice phone, except for those 2 GB of RAM! (…and the screen artifacts in bright light, but I could live with that). A pattern was already forming here… but this time I tweaked it and… BAM! OnePlus 5 came along and I jumped the boat in August 2016.
And here we are today… a little after OnePlus 7/7 Pro were launched and I feel… unimpressed. My trusty 6 (1+5=5 :-P) runs very smooth (but Real Racing 3 is the most demanding game I’m playing these days), the battery still holds a very decent charge and, probably most importantly, OnePlus is (still) delivering a steady stream of updates. There is no notch, the phone sits firmly in my hands, the fingerprint reader sits on the front, where I like it and the size is still manageable (by 2019 standards).
Talking about the fingerprint reader, I am really impressed by it and I am still waiting for the in-display ones to catch up. Oh, and there are the OLED screen with enough pixels, the headphone jack, the hardware buttons, the unlocked software… I could go on for another few minutes.
As it is probably clear by now I am not a phone groupie. I am changing phones because I am pressed (mostly by lack of software updates) and now… I am happy with my phone.
I have this friend that used to change phones every few months. He used to constantly bug me after each OnePlus lunch: “Aren’t you going to buy the 5T/6/6T? Well… not yet! Of course there was also the financial aspect. I couldn’t justify losing a few hundred Euro buying something that was newer, but overall not much better. I must say that a OnePlus 6 he’s rocking these days is the phone he’s kept the longest in… probably ever.
To widen up the perspective a little and to give a better context to my appreciation of OnePlus 5 I have to mention that since January 2018 I’m also carrying around a Galaxy S8 as a work phone. But between unimpressive fingerprint sensor (both in positioning and accuracy), the curved, narrow screen and the rather unpleasant software customizations, it tends to live most of its days at the bottom of my backpack.
A conclusion? Bleh! Maybe next year… or whenever I’m forced to…