Since I was going to be staying in the US for more than a month, on my first day there, I went over to Best Buy and got myself a T-Mobile sim card and plan, and the staff there helpfully offered to install the sim into my phone, then the Asus Zenfone Max 4. Upon handling my phone, she commented “you know you’re battery’s expanding, right? That’s dangerous, it could explode or such”, but I shrugged it off. I’m no stranger to batteries expanding, it happened before to my old Samsung Galaxy phones and I had to buy replacement batteries then. Unfortunately, the Zenfone Max 4 did not have a replacement battery, so that was out of the question. I ignored it for a while, and just hoped the phone would last until the end of the trip.
During the rest of the trip, I would notice it was starting to pop out of its case, and I had to push down on it to hold it together, and I accepted that I had to get a new phone as soon as I got home. Even performance-wise I had noticed in recent weeks that it was already quite sluggish. Literally during the flight back home while the phone was powered off in my pocket, I would bring it out and need to push it back together again, I was worried I wouldn’t have a phone when I landed. I guess it’s fortunate that the phone made it all the way home.
Luckily, I had a contract renewal available with Globe, which meant I could get a new handset. Even before the flight home I started looking at their website to see what handsets I could get; the choices were either an IPhone (way too expensive), a midrange Samsung Galaxy A-series phone, and a Chinese-manufactured phone (Huawei or Oppo). I’m not fond of the idea of Chinese telecom companies, so I decided to go with a Samsung again. I had used two Samsung phones before, both Galaxy S’s, so I was kind of coming home, I guess?
I settled on the Samsung Galaxy A50, as it was the best midrange phone there. My P999 plan meant I had to do a bit of a cashout, but that was fine. Specs-wise, it compared favorably to the Zenfone Max 4, except for the battery which was 20% less than the Zenfone. The high battery life was why I chose the Zenfone in the first place, so I figured the slight drop would be tolerable. Another minor concern was that the new phone would be USB-C, my first such device. It meant I wouldn’t be able to reuse all my old MicroUSB cables, but I guess that’s not much of a loss.
I thought about doing the contract renewal over the phone, but that meant having to wait a few days for delivery or pickup. I was worried the old phone might die soon (experience shows it’ll probably chug along for a while though), and I wanted an excuse to go to the mall, so I did the renewal at the Globe store instead. It was a pretty quick and painless process (fill up a few forms, wait in a queue, yada yada all done), and I had a new handset two days after I came back from the trip.
The handset itself looks pretty good and as expected it’s performing a lot better than the older phone, since this unit just came out early this year. It’s a lot thinner and slightly taller and has a cool reflective back frame. There’s a triple camera that reviews tell me are really good but I wouldn’t know because I’m terrible at photography. Maybe I’ll take some comparison shots with the old phone if I feel like it. The battery life is reasonable, looks like it could last a full day if I do a full charge.
One thing I want to do differently this time to try to maximize the battery life is to avoid leaving the phone charging overnight, since that’s supposedly bad for battery life. Like many other things, I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive about my phone’s battery always being charged, so I like having the phone fully charged when I wake up in the mornings. (My friends will happily tell you that if they send me a phone screenshot where their battery is at like 13% my first comment would be that they need to charge.) This time I will try to wean myself off that habit, let’s see how that works out.