While on the way to Katoomba, my Nexus phone died. This was day 4 of my 4-week vacation. Damn. I am completely dependent on my phone for maps, directions, finding good places to eat and taking pictures quickly. I have a real camera to take higher quality photos but it’s too much of a hassle to take it out of my bag especially when I see something funny passing by.
I returned to Sydney on 12/31 and had my phone examined at a repair shop. I thought it was the battery and I tried all the troubleshooting and more on Google’s support site. When I brought the phone in, I told them the problem. They plugged in the phone and it started charging! They said to come back in 15 minutes so they can still diagnose it. They said I could have had a bad charging cable. They gave me a Samsung Galaxy S3 as a temp phone so they can contact me. I went to Starbucks across the street to wait. I felt really stupid that I didn’t try checking the cable and that I might have to shell out some cash for such a simple problem.
When I returned to the phone shop they told me that the mainboard on the phone was bad. I knew the phone was broken! I was actually a little more relieved that I didn’t overlook such a simple issue, but I was still screwed. I still needed a phone and they weren’t going to charge me for the diagnosis since they couldn’t fix it. I asked if I could buy a used phone from them and they said they didn’t sell phones. They ended up selling me the Galaxy S3 phone that they gave me as a loaner for $100USD. They set up my Project Fi SIM card and I was able to get text messages and make phone calls. No data though. I mostly needed data but I’ll take what I can get.
You might be wondering why I didn’t get a new phone while I was there. I have Project Fi through Google and they’re support team said that only US Google Nexus/Google Pixel Phone’s are compatible with the SIM card.
The next day, I definitely wanted to have data. I went to a 7-Eleven and looked at their prepaid SIM cards. I purchased a SIM card for $2AUD and then bought a 7 day plan for $15AUD that included 2.5GB of data. There was a cheaper package that included only 500mb of data but I didn’t want to come up short. Overall, that’s still a pretty good deal. This helped me (mostly) for the rest of my stay in Australia. The only problem was that the GPS was buggy. It kept placing my location about 1 block away from where I really was. This caused a lot of confusion and aggravation. I used the Galaxy S3 for the remainder of my vacation but I was so excited to come home to a significantly better phone. It’s nothing new at the time of this writing: the Nexus 6P. It’s just that the Galaxy S3 is so bad and frustrating to use that it was like using a double-edged sword.
After a week of using the phone, my data was used up on the last day as I headed to Thailand. Since the SIM card included a new phone number, I signed up for a new account with Uber and used my friend’s referral code. This helped get me a discounted ride to the airport.