Brandon Eleuterio


Buying Phones and Cars

Brandon Eleuterio
2016 Kia Sedona

I don’t like to shop. Whether I’m wandering through physical stores or aimlessly scrolling through Amazon until my impulses take over, neither is my idea of fun.

My ideal 4-step shopping experience:

  1. I realize I need more socks.
  2. I identify my favorite pair of socks.
  3. I go to Amazon and find the last time I ordered that exact pair.
  4. I click re-order.

When technology is involved, buying doesn’t follow this easy recipe. Advances in electronics, computers, and mechanical devices mean ordering the exact same phone or car isn’t practical, especially when I tend to wait longer than most to replace them. By the time I’m ready to upgrade my 2017 Moto X4 or my 2007 Acura MDX, a significant amount of time has passed and technology has left me lying in a ditch disheveled and confused.

I begin my journey with research. Looking at reviews and product comparisons I begin to piece together the new, unfamiliar landscape of phones and cars. A lot has changed since I last bought.

Next, I build a list of features and qualities that are important to me. Reliability, availability, ease-of-use, color, size, and price to name a few. Then I prioritize that list. There’s no product out there that will meet 100% of my demands. I have to decide where I’m willing to compromise.

Eventually, I narrow my decision down to a few brands and models. At times I’ll reach an impasse. One review says Kia Sedonas are slow to steer and don’t accelerate very well. Another review says Honda Odysseys drive faster but handle like boats. Do I wanna be in a sailboat or a speed boat? I can’t decide.

Then, I realize the problem. These reviews are comparing 2016 vehicles to each other. My current car is 9 years older. Isn’t it possible that MOST 2016 vehicles have better acceleration, steering, and handling than a 2007 MDX? Why don’t reviews compare vehicles between different years?

Sites like make this easier when researching phones, but it’s still challenging because you’re comparing raw numbers. I know processing is faster and cameras take better pictures, but how has the overall experience improved in the last 4 years? I know the Samsung Galaxy S21 camera is better than last year’s model and not quite as good as Google Pixel, but aren’t MOST cameras better than my Motorola from 2017?

Because I wait so long to upgrade phones and cars and I’m not trying to win a blue ribbon for the best phone or car on the block, it doesn’t matter as much which model I choose. If I’ve narrowed my choices down to 2 or 3, any one of them is going to bring me leaps and bounds ahead of where I was 4 or 14 years ago.

My wife and I ended up with a 2016 Kia Sedona and two 2021 Samsung Galaxy S21 phones. After two months and a couple of amazing road trips, we’re happy with our mini-van choice. The phones are still en route – I’m sure we’ll be pleased with those as well.


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