When tradition triumphs over technology

A 3G fixed desk phone

The young and tech savvy lap up technology and take to new devices without needing to consult user manuals or be taught how to use them.

Take the smartphone for instance. Everything feels so intuitive that most of us can easily switch devices or even platforms without feeling lost.

But there’s still a group that’s very old school when it comes to learning new things. One of them is my mum. She’s in her 80s and not accustomed to change or new things.

When she moved in her new apartment, we thought the best way to keep in touch with her was to give her a mobile phone. We opted for a feature phone with a keypad so that she doesn’t have to learn too many new things.

Alas, after more than a decade, she’s still wrestling with using the phone, so much so that she doesn’t bring it out with her anymore.

After much consideration, we thought of switching to a normal landline with a desktop phone for her. But, a check with our telco revealed a grossly prohibitive cost because analogue lines have disappeared and we needed to pay a hefty sum to activate a digital line.

If only there was a desk phone that uses a 3G SIM card. This way, we get the best of both worlds — desk phone with numerical keypad minus the need to install a digital line.

An online search revealed many offerings of such phones but most were China-made and run on GSM or 2G.

We dug further and finally found a phone that matches our requirement on Lazada. To be sure, we read and reread the specs. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any review so we didn’t have any inkling if it would work for us.

At S$62 without shipping cost, the no brand China-made phone was a low-risk punt that could solve an urgent problem for us. We paid an extra S$3.99 for priority shipping.

The phone arrived promptly and was easy to set up. My mum took to it like fish to water as it was similar to the phones she was used to years ago.

Here are five reasons why we think this phone is great for those who cannot keep up with technology:

  1. Quick setup. Getting the phone up and running was a breeze. The seller even provided an adapter to accommodate SIM cards of various sizes.
  2. Easy to use. It’s like any fixed line phone and doesn’t require additional learning. It handles like a desk phone.
  3. Accommodates SIM card. This is the clincher for us. Just slot in a SIM card and the phone is up and running.
  4. Affordable. At S$62, it is cheaper than a low-end mobile phone without compromising many features.
  5. Comes with mobile features. Caller-ID and SMS can be viewed from the LCD screen. What’s best is that this screen is bigger than my mum’s last feature phone.

If there’s an area of improvement, it’s the need to hit the call button after the numbers have been keyed in. But, that’s easily overcome with the quick dial feature where a call can be made by just holding on to a pre-determined digit.

Overall, we highly recommend this desk phone because it’s perfect for the elderly and those who are not as tech savvy. It’s functional, practical and offers great peace of mind. We found the phone on Lazada. If you find another somewhere else, do share the link with us.

How to get the best deal

How to get the best deal


Torch lightA friend of mine once told me that his purchase is better than mine because he paid more for it. He may be right if the products are of different quality but they were the same.

Not wanting to debate too much with him, I was secretly thrilled inside of me that I got the better deal.

After researching on the product and deciding that it’s what you want, it’s time to look for the best deals.

From experience, it boils down to three things: right shop, right price and right timing.

  1. Right place: The sites that you gathered information on the product may just be the right place. Some e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are massive and can list lots of shops offering the same product. And sometimes, brick-and-mortar shop can have great deals too! My family bought a Nakamichi bluetooth headset for under S$20 (usual price is about S$90) while on a trip to Changi Airport Terminal 4 in Singapore.
  2. Right price: Compare, compare, compare. Don’t buy from the first store or site, or even if the ads are shouting at you from your social media sites. I regretted big time one such incident when I bought something online without thinking twice only to find out that it was selling at less than half the price elsewhere.  Take time to search for the best price. Use the “sort” feature in sites such as Aliexpress.com and Lazada.sg. A word of caution. If the product is too cheap, be very cautious. It may be a good deal or a scam.
  3. Right timing: Timing is important if you’re in no rush to buy. Look out for sales and special discounts. The shop of my favourite football team offers discounts and deals regularly — sometimes even several times a week. I take advantage by looking out for “free overseas” shipping because it can save me lots.

I hope that these tips are helpful. I’ll update them if others come to mind — it’s a learning process and we don’t want others to make our same mistakes.

If you have other tips, do share with us.