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Was going to say this. If you are legitimately poor, you can get a used Moto G 2013 for $35 and activate it on Freedompop for some free data each month and use wifi wherever possible.

That would be a phone on a budget. iphones are absolutely just for prestige, the same way Macbooks in universities are.

If you're poor and don't want everyone around you to know it, why would you buy the phone that screams "hey, I'm poor and got the cheapest possible phone!" Everyone has something they do to stand out from the people that surround them. It's cruel to suggest that folks living in poverty can only be deserving of assistance if they embrace their poverty and advertise it to the world. There are real costs to appearing poor in our society. Is it a surprise that people would spend what little extra money they have on things that help them appear not quite as poor as they actually are?

And you will remain poor and some people will continue to say it is everyone else's fault.

I've been there (before smart phones). Watching people wait for payday so they can go drinking. Everyone had a nicer car than necessary. Clothes or shoes to look like the situation is improving instead actually improving their situation.

Yes there is a marginal improvement in lifestyle. But there is always a marginal improvement available so that you can be in the bottom of that next group of Joneses.

I'm 45 and this is now making me remember some of the conversations I had with people who lived through the great depression. That generation was stamped with a frugality and practicality that just isn't being passed along anymore.

I think you're raising the phone to a much higher level of importance than it truly holds. The fact of the matter is that if someone can afford a brand new iPhone6, they don't deserve any help buying food because they spend a huge chunk of available food money on an expensive luxury. It must be torturous to use a phone you can actually afford!

>It's cruel to suggest that folks living in poverty can only be deserving of assistance if they embrace their poverty and advertise it to the world.

When I'm getting buyer on something cheaper than an iPhone, why should I help someone else get a full price iPhone? If they want to put the work in finding a second hand one at a cheap price, good for them. But why should I help them pay for shinier equipment than I even get for myself?

> It's cruel to suggest that folks living in poverty can only be deserving of assistance if they embrace their poverty and advertise it to the world. There are real costs to appearing poor in our society.

Can you offer an alternative? I can't see anything else being workable and not insanely expensive.

I am not poor yet I have a Moto E that I bought from Best Buy last black Friday for $10. I love it. Anybody that would judge me based on my choice of phone would promptly get their face laughed in.

I am not poor and have a beat up Moto E bought for $99. I don't think anybody thinks I am poor either. A phone (and $300 sneakers) are very bad devices for signaling status.

thats totally irrelevant here.

iphones are absolutely just for prestige

I have an iPhone 6S (and previously an iPhone 5) on Verizon, through my employer. Personally, my wife has a Nexus 4 and my daugther a Moto G, both on T-Mobile pre-paid. Both of them tell me about crappy network coverage, poor camera image quality, and so forth.

I'm not saying these aren't perfectly acceptable alternatives when you're on a budget or are frugal or these just aren't things you care about, but the iPhone and using a better carrier are not just for prestige. For many people, they are a better product and provide a better experience.

And I'll point out: usually spending more money gets you a better product. Whether or not it's better in ways you care about is obviosly a personal decision.

edit: so you disagree? What in my argument here is wrong?

edit 2: this comment was directed only at the assertion that buying an iphone is just about prestige. I completely agree with the original article.

Network coverage has little to do with the phone (it can, but it's minimal). Poor camera and image quality are not purely Apple solvable. The Sony xperia range have brilliant cameras and image quality (unfortunately the Sony UI is sub-optimal in other areas).

Also, An iPhone 6S would be more reasonably compared to a Nexus 6P, not a Nexus 4.

The iPhone doesn't have a monopoly on quality,

> Network coverage has little to do with the phone

The network coverage part of my comment was in reference to freedompop. Not sure who freedompop contracts with, but I went with T-Mobile because at the time they were much cheaper than Verizon. Their coverage is also much worse in my area.

> The iPhone doesn't have a monopoly on quality

I didn't claimed that it does. They were examples of devices I have direct experience with. The iPhone 5 was a similar generation to the Nexus 4 and Moto G and was a better (but more expensive) device. The Sony xperia devices similarly cost more than a Moto G, do they not? And you just wrote they have a suboptimal UI, so for someone who cares about that, that might rule out those devices.

My argument is not that iPhones are the only quality devices. It's that spending more usually gets you a better product, not just a more prestigious one.

I agree the lowest tier of phones cameras are not as good as an extremely expensive phone camera. Besides the whole I want to actually own computers in my possession part, part of the reason I have an S4 is for camera fidelity. My grandmother has a Note 4, predominantly for its good camera.

But we are not talking about luxurious features. A Moto G camera still takes better photos than almost any consumer camera from before 2003 that most people had (I'm talking the old disposable point and shoots or a a bulky film camera). If you need to take pictures, an entry level phone like the Moto G does more than enough of a good job - you can easily take photos of anything, you have flash, and they will be reasonable pictures. You will know what it is a picture of and discern light detail. It does the job.

> It does the job.

Certainly. Again, was just addressing it's not only prestige. Look, I own a Nutribullet. It does the job. But it's a complete frustration to use on a daily basis. I'm replacing it with a Vitamix at like 3X the cost, because I'm tired of dealing with the Nutribullet's quirks. And that's just a fricken blender. :-)

You can get a new one for that price when it is on sale at Best Buy. I picked up a Boost Mobile one that I use as a jogging companion due to its size. It may be from 2013, but it functions really well.

I was going to say you could get a similar level iPhone for a similar price -- most people seem to compare top-of-the-line iPhones with low- or mid-range Android devices.

But then I looked up the iPhone 4s (2013's low-range) on eBay and didn't see one for less than $70. I'm honestly surprised by that.

I'm a huge advocate of using refurbished two or so year old phones for anyone I have influence on the purchasing decisions of, because while there was a period of extremely rapid feature growth (2009-2014) since then phones have been "good enough" in the same way notebooks and desktops have been "good enough" since about 2007.

There is a price floor I find on any older phone. They generally won't fall below $50, and I always find the Moto G 2013 exceptional in how you can get them really cheap. A great example is that I am always watching S series phone prices on Swappa, but in my experience (pre-S7, usually this list shifts down a price tier when the new phone comes out):

S2 for $80, S3 for $100, S4 for $150, S5 for $225, S6 for $300. When the S7 comes out, the S3 will probably drop to S2 range and S4 might drop to S3 range, but I expect less of a decline than that because since the S3/4 the feature differences have diminished substantially. An S4 is still a beast phone today - 1080p 5" screen, quad core CPU, 13MP camera.

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