Black Friday Shocker - My Plans Averted


This has been a crazy year for gadget shopping and Black Friday. I had somewhat of a clear plan of attack, and it was derailed.

As you know, I've been salivating over the Samsung Galaxy Note II phablet. I was eligible for an upgrade in October (or so I thought). Once the price of $299 was unvelied for the second generation Note, I decided to wait it out for a while.

But something happened that forced me to change my plans. My daughter lost her Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone on the day before our family vacation. So I decided to go for the Note 2 now, and hand off my current Galaxy S2 to my daughter because she wasn't due for an upgrade.

I was really excited about getting the Note 2 even though I wasn't ready to part with the money. So I perused the web for Black Friday deals. The lowest price I found was $249 through Amazon.

Before ordering the phone, I decided to make a quick trip to the AT&T store in Ohio where I was spending Thanksgiving. I wanted to hold it in my hands for the first time. I had tested a first generation Note before, but I wanted to see how the new form facctor would feel.

Right off the bat, my first thought was "this smartphone is way too big". I was shocked that I had such a reaction. I've been wanting a humongous smartphone since the first generation Note was released. This was the moment I had been waiting for, and I didn't have that "magic feeling" that I was expecting.

The store did not have a working model, and I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to try out the new S Pen and all of its features. I thought that maybe my mind would change and I'd feel better about the size if I had a chance to test drive the stylus.

I played around with a few other smartphones, including the Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, and the Nokia Lumia 920. I was most impressed with the Lumia 920, and started having thoughts of making a switch in my game plan.

Even though the Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8 was clearly the most intuitive and impressive operating system of all, I admitted to myself that I'm not ready to ditch Android and make such a big switch. So I stayed focused.

I fondled the Galaxy Note II one more time, then I left the store more confused than when I had arrived. I went back home to drop the dough on a new phablet.

When I logged into my AT&T account, I was met with a surprise: I wasn't eligible for an upgrade!

Apparently, AT&T changed the rules on early upgrades for the primary account holders of family plans. The old rule was that you could do an early upgrade and new 2-year contract at the end of a year. But the new rule is 18 months minimum time before you can do an early upgrade.

At first, I was frustrated and angry. But afer I settled down, I was actually relieved that this happened. I wasn't ready to pull the trigger, and I'm finding that I am undecided on what I want with a smartphone.

By the time I am eligible for an upgrade, I probably won't be getting a Galaxy Note II. I will have had enough time to make a well-informed decision, and I'll have a better gadget strategy.

I'm leaning towards going back to Gadget Strategy B, which is having a smartphone that is actually a phone, then a 7" WiFi tablet, and my laptop. Who knows... maybe I'll get my stylus craving settled with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

In the meatime, my money will be staying in my bank account.

Carlton Flowers
Frustrated Gadget Addict