The question “Why would I want a smartphone and what could I do with one?” has been asked here several times. Nobody, not once, gave up any suggestions as to the utility of such a device. Being unable to conjure up a use for one, I always refused the offer when Mr L made it.

Well, now I have one I can:


  • Figure out when to take the dogs for a walk according to the Tide Tables
  • Play games on the boat when I get tired of knitting
    • Crush Candy
    • Escape from rooms
    • Solve puzzles
    • Kill pigs
    • Blend colours
    • Navigate balls around mazes
    • Find hidden objects
    • Stack blocks
  • Read a book on the boat when I get tired of playing games – though my Kindle is now effectively redundant
  • Take photographs when I am out and about without a real camera…
  • …and edit and play with the images…
  • …before uploading them directly to a variety of sites…
  • ….and browse those sites to look at the images from other users
  • Read the Guardian and The New Scientist at will
  • Do a quick calculation
  • Count my knitted rows…
  • …or work out my tension (gauge)
  • Time my baking or set an alarm for any other purpose
  • Carry a shopping list that will not blow away in the slightest puff of Orkney wind
  • Follow my own tracks with a GPS tracker
  • Look up what stars I am seeing
  • …and the ones I cannot see on the opposite hemisphere
  • Listen to my entire music collection even when away from home…
  • …or the radio
  • Tell the time when my wristwatch has stopped yet again
  • Carry the ferry timetable with me
  • Check a map for directions
  • Dictate notes
  • Check the weather
  • Skype
    • or ICQ
    • or Google Talk
  • Keep up with subscriptions at YouTube (KnitPro and Simon’s Cat)

I can do just about anything other than to make a phone call, so long as I am within reach of a free WiFi point – like at home. I could even Tweet or post to Facebook but FB makes my brain bleed.

A Sim card is required and then a payment Plan. Trying to work out the best plan for my needs is proving to be a headache. Really all that I want is what I had before – a Pay as You Go calls-only top-up system. I really don’t want to get  used to mobile Internet access. I’m happy to move my little legs as far as the library should I need access when I am in town, or pop into The Reel for a coffee and a connection. I just do not want to go on paying 25p a minute for calls as we are now doing on our Vodafone PAYG.

I really see very little need for Internet access on the go; 99.9% of stuff will wait until I am back at my desk. On the other hand, until this last week I could see no use for a smart device at all. Now I am strangely hooked. So maybe a PAYG scheme that includes some internet access?

Once more, I am in your hands, dear readers. I am sure most of you are far more savvy than I am. Can you advise me? We were looking at giffgaff, which is on O2 and only gives 2G coverage here. Vodafone similarly offer 2G. Orange have 3G up here. I need low cost but reliable calls. I do not text, nor do I want to. I might occasionally want to Google something or look up contact details on a website, that kind of thing. I hope not to get addicted to snapping pics and immediately sharing them. That’s sad.

Help me?



  1. September 16, 2013

    My husband finds Virgin cheap and reliable.

  2. September 16, 2013

    Your kindle isn’t redundant, just waiting for a sunshiny day when you can’t read the screen of your smart phone, or when the battery goes flat after too much GPS-ing. After draining the battery of mine in about 2 hours, I then went to find out how to improve battery life: basically, turn off everything you aren’t using, turn screen brightness down.

    No ideas about tariffs – I’ve had a contract phone for years. I hate to think what it has cost me, particularly since I’ve lived in really bad reception areas for the last 5 years.

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