Jan 1, 2015

Why I Still Have a Flip Phone, aka How I Missed the Smart Phone Era

"I want to put a ding in the universe." ~ Steve Jobs

And ding it was, partly because of the I-Phone which Jobs helped create, which led to more Smart phones manufactured by a slew of companies. I'll give you a visual history of cell phones leading to the Smart phone, beginning with the first cell by AT&T in 1946:

(that's the kind I have)


And finally....the Smart phone pictured with the genius, the  smug Jobs.

I don't have an I-Phone or any other kind of Smart phone and here's the reason why: When the Smart phones became really hot in 2007, I changed jobs and ended up at Cozen O'Connor international law firm in Philadelphia with a Blackberry which is a kind of Smart phone, but it belonged to the firm and I didn't mess around with it by learning how to install apps. It simply wasn't mine and I didn't want to rock the boat.

Then I had the stroke in April, 2009, and I had to return the Blackberry by mail in exchange for my shoes and make-up that were in my cubicle. I got a flip phone that served as my lifeline in case anything happened--a fall, a slip, a seizure. But post-stroke, after the first year, I didn't bother to change it. The flip phone was good enough.

But now, 6 years later, I want more. Here's a rundown of the highlights:
--By the 2nd year,  I started to write a book and this blog, both named "The Tales of a Stroke Patient."
--By the 3rd year, I started to go shopping in my wheelchair or walking with my quad cane, depending on my mood which wasn't great. 
--By the 4th year, I wanted braces because the medics, at the time of my stroke, shoved an endotracheal intubation tube  down my throat so I could breath, and in the process, knocked some teeth out. 
--By the 5th year, I was searching for support groups to invite me to their meetings as a public speaker about strokes.
--And now, I desperately want a Smart phone.

So I got in touch with four manufacturers of devices that could help stroke survivors use a Smart phone with only one, operable hand or anybody who drops or loses or uses the phone constantly. For survivors, the phone or case with device could go on your bad hand which leaves your good hand to do all the work. Or the phone with device could go on your good hand leaving your thumb to do all the work. You'll  just have to judge for yourself.  

The ratings of the devices were done on the following: ease of use, comfort, durability, and cost, with 5 being the highest. I refer to the devices as they are known: the FLYGRIP, the goStrap, the LAZY-HANDS Phone Grip, and the Universal ring, all available on Amazon. The search term I used on Amazon was "cell phone [name of device]".

They all come with very strong adhesive backing to stick directly on your Smart phone or the case that encloses it. And you can buy extra adhesive in case the adhesive wears out. Clean your cell phone or case with a dry eraser like Mr. Clean before applying the adhesive backing. Or you can use an antiseptic towelette like Lysol, but leave it dry before applying the device. If your case is the glossy kind, the adhesive stick is "iffy." If you decide you don't want the device, use a credit card to break the seal. 

I had four used cases that were donated by providers and affixed them each with magnetic weights to equal an average 6 ounces for each phone. I used each device for 2 weeks, 2 hours each a day. Now, I was ready to evaluate.

Ease of use--5
The FLYGRIP was the best rated in every category. After 5 minutes, I couldn't even detect it on my fingers. It comes in 3 sizes and the only one of the 4 devices that comes with a 60-day, money-back guarantee! It's the most costly, but the guarantee makes it worth it. 

The goStrap:
Ease of use--5
I found the goStrap the second best. It accommodates everybody because you fit only two fingers through the strap. During 2 hours each day, I was aware of the strap the whole time. It's do-able, but again, I was aware.

The LAZY-HANDS Phone Grip:
Ease of use--5
The finger grips were easy to put on, but I was aware of them the whole time. My fingers are slender and they just about fit. So if you have exceptionally fat fingers, this product may not be for you.

The Universal Ring:
Ease of use--2
Cost--$3.92 reduced from $21.99
This ring doesn't have the stability of the other 3. It's awkward in only having one finger through the ring. And if it's really cold weather, the ring would be equally cold because it's the only one I reviewed made of metal. The ring serves as a stand for your Smart phone. But seriously. Is that necessary? It's no wonder it was reduced in price!

So there you have it. At last, I'm going to get a Smart phone with the FLYGRIP! And I'll enter the Smart phone generation quietly, as if I didn't miss anything. Shhh.
Postnote: I obtained an iPhone after this post was written. I use the FLYGRIP, too. The only thing I'm wondering is, how did I manage without the iPhone for so long!?! Aah. At last, I join the millions of people sitting round-shouldered over the  iPhone, texting, calling, weathering, cnn'ing, and shopping online!