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Sydney: A Broken Phone and a Replacement


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.


Sydney Travel Itinerary:

Sydney Opera House: Circus 1903

Sydney: A Broken Phone and a Replacement

Sydney: Boxing Day 2016

From Sydney to Katoomba by Train

Hiking Around the Blue Mountains in Katoomba, Australia

Katoomba, Australia: The Jenolan Caves

New Year’s Eve Chaos in Sydney, Australia 2016

678 KBBQ in Sydney, Australia – High Expectations

Meeting Koalas and Kangaroos at Featherdale Wildlife Park – Sydney