When Cheap Costs More than you Bargained for Featured

Just like the next person, I like a good bargain.  I light up at the very thought of a discount, especially when it comes to something usually expensive.  Being in the field of technology, most of the best high tech gadgets seem to fall right into the regions of too expensive, in my honest opinion.  Luckily, I have friends who prove to me, time and time again, that nothing is too expensive to buy.  Of course, it depends on your disposable income.  One of my closest friends told me that I am 'cheap', regardless of my disposable income.  I retorted several times back (as juvenile as that sounds) with "No, I'm not.  I'm frugile: there's a difference - I'm not cheap".  However, the latest life episodes I just had with my uber-cheap phone proves to me that I probably should spend just a little more on my next phone. 

Being an idealist, I believed I could find a non-expensive phone that was dual sim, had WIFI and tethering capabilities, could take decent photos and allow me to stay connected on Whatsapp and various other media whilst listening blissfully to some wonderful music I loaded up on.  I soon learned that K19,000 (when the kwacha was probably K500 to the USD), was basically right up there with pigs flying and hell freezing over: a wonder to see but highly unlikely. 

After my previous, still in the range of 'cheap' phone fell for the first time and was somewhat destroyed beyond my interest to repair it, I ventured forth and bought an ITEL 1353.  It was dirt cheap, I soon learned why.  These where the whys:

  • the cameras (front and back) produced generally incredibly disappointing photos
  • the sound output of stored audio clips was horrible
  • it had sporadic glitches where it would just go off by itself, restart and various applications would not display properly, such as the keyboard. 

Surprisingly, I find I adapt to abnormalities quickly and I soon learned to live with the above.  However, there was just one great problem that I found was unacceptable in any way, shape or form.  This, as I have come to believe is that this brand-new 'dirt cheap phone' came pre-installed with malware!  How does a whole company allow for malware to be shipped with such?  I absolutely do not know. 

You see, what would happen is, as soon as my phone has an active internet connection, all of a sudden I would start seeing download icons of which I had not initiated any downloads.  Subsequently, I would start to see icons of programs I did not install or provide consent to install.  Then, almost worst of all, I would start seeing disgusting pop ups of complete rubbish.  If you have used the internet in the last couple of years, it takes no stretch of imagination to guess what kind of rubbish this was.  Lastly, installing anti-virus, cleaning my storage devices, deleting the applications and everything else would do absolutely nothing to thwart the vengence of the 'crapware'. 

Finally, after countless searches on Google, I found that so far, factory resetting the phone,  scanning my micro-SD on my laptop, and most importantly placing a password on the main directory of my micro SD card seem to have fixed my woes.  This is just a temporary measure before I buckle down and bite the bullet of getting something that does not torment me for owning it.

Obviously, I would recommend you avoid a phone that does this to you, regardless of the cost.  However, when you notice suspicious activities, icons, downloads, battery drainage etc on your phone, get it checked out.  Install antivirus if you can.  Change your application installation settings if you know how and if you notice suspicious folders, (ONLY if you know what you're doing) delete them.  As I hold out for a better mobile pretty soon, I realise that sometimes cheap is far more expensive than I bargained for.  That goes for everything really: products and services. 

There's a life story in there somewhere.  There has to be a place where the value is more important than the price.  If you are already there, I hope to find you there.  What do you think?  When is it ok to go cheap or expensive? How do you quantify 'value' in monetary terms?  Your thoughts are welcome.


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