I am a gadget enthusiast, so when T-Mobile announced their JUMP program a year ago, it caught my attention. If you haven’t heard of it, the program allows you to trade in your device after 6 months for a new one. It also offers insurance on the device. From the outside, it looks like a ripoff. Here’s why it’s not.

A flagship phone will cost you around $650. If you get it through T-Mobile, you are paying $0 down and $27/month. JUMP costs $10/month, so after 6 months, you have paid $162 for the phone, and $60 for insurance1. T-Mobile pays the difference, regardless of the condition, and you walk away with a new phone.

Doing this on your own will cost you $600-700 up front, plus the time to sell a device (and ship it to the buyer). And if it breaks in that 6 months, you are on the hook for repairs or a replacement.2 You may get slightly more than the 75%3 of the price T-Mobile “pays” for it, but not enough to offset the streamlined transaction and insurance.

The real issue is whether it is prudent to upgrade a phone every 6 months. Probably not, but right now the HTC One hits some checkmarks4 that my Nexus 5 did not, and I’ve already paid for the JUMP, so I am pulling that trigger as soon as I am eligible.


  1. I’m not sure about other insurance plans, but T-Mobile also covers theft and loss. Basically, you are paying to always have a phone. 
  2. I have been down this road, about a week after paying in full for the phone. Then it is another 1-2 weeks before it comes back from Samsung. You never need that insurance until you do. 
  3. If you are not grandfathered in, they only pay half the cost of the phone. It is basically the same story, just over 1 year instead of 6 months. 
  4. Battery, external storage, tap to wake. 

Sound off

Comment

  1. The phone du jour is the HTC One M8, and I am a phone connoisseur. My JUMP-grade came up, and I had to pull the trigger. The Nexus 5 was a fantastic phone, but it was lacking in a few areas: battery life, camera, and tap to unlock. So I pulled the trigger and have been using this beast for a few weeks. Here are my thoughts so far.

    HTC makes a really pretty device. The Nexus is very utilitarian, which comes from prioritizing price over build quality. Samsung and LG focus on adding mostly-useless crap and letting their phones look like a Band-aid and a child’s toy, respectively [see update]. I would rather have brushed aluminum and front-facing speakers than a heart monitor and 4 different ways to unlock my device and take a screenshot simultaneously.
    Speaking of speakers, the BoomSound speakers on the One are amazing. Before, I was living in a world where cell phone speakers were just supposed to be low-quality and tinny. Not anymore.
    Blinkfeed is OK, I guess. If there were a way to add my own RSS feeds, it might be useful. Hopefully they will add this feature (or make it less complicated to find).
    Motion Launcher needs to be on all phones, from now on. It makes so much more sense than the side buttons.
    T-Mobile bloatware is dumber than Verizon bloatware. They offer you a 30 day trial for voicemail transcription, but only if you agree to pay $4 per month after that. All for something Google Voice does for free.
    The camera is pretty solid. The low resolution freaks people out, but it is as martphone, not a Nikon. Standard smartphone cameras don’t take good pictures in low light, but this one does pretty well. The editing tools are great as well. The Duo Camera is just ok – it is not a necessity, but adds some editing options to close-up pictures:
    Charlie greets me
     
    All in all, the HTC One M8 is a solid phone, and I would recommend it to anyone. It comes at a premium price, but it is the one Android phone available right now that has the looks, feel, and function of a premium device.
    Update: LG announced the G3 while I was writing this, and it looks like a phone that an adult would use.

  2. The phone du jour is the HTC One M8, and I am a phone connoisseur. My JUMP-grade came up, and I had to pull the trigger. The Nexus 5 was a fantastic phone, but it was lacking in a few areas: battery life, camera, and tap to unlock. So I pulled the trigger and have been using this beast for a few weeks. Here are my thoughts so far.

    HTC makes a really pretty device. The Nexus is very utilitarian, which comes from prioritizing price over build quality. Samsung and LG focus on adding mostly-useless crap and letting their phones look like a Band-aid and a child’s toy, respectively [see update]. I would rather have brushed aluminum and front-facing speakers than a heart monitor and 4 different ways to unlock my device and take a screenshot simultaneously.
    Speaking of speakers, the BoomSound speakers on the One are amazing. Before, I was living in a world where cell phone speakers were just supposed to be low-quality and tinny. Not anymore.
    Blinkfeed is OK, I guess. If there were a way to add my own RSS feeds, it might be useful. Hopefully they will add this feature (or make it less complicated to find).
    Motion Launcher needs to be on all phones, from now on. It makes so much more sense than the side buttons.
    T-Mobile bloatware is dumber than Verizon bloatware. They offer you a 30 day trial for voicemail transcription, but only if you agree to pay $4 per month after that. All for something Google Voice does for free.
    The camera is pretty solid. The low resolution freaks people out, but it is as martphone, not a Nikon. Standard smartphone cameras don’t take good pictures in low light, but this one does pretty well. The editing tools are great as well. The Duo Camera is just ok – it is not a necessity, but adds some editing options to close-up pictures:
    Charlie greets me

    All in all, the HTC One M8 is a solid phone, and I would recommend it to anyone. It comes at a premium price, but it is the one Android phone available right now that has the looks, feel, and function of a premium device.
    Update: LG announced the G3 while I was writing this, and it looks like a phone that an adult would use.

  3.     I am a flip-flopper. The newest thing is always best; the grass perpetually greener. It is why I just got a <a href="http://pilchernet.com/2014/04/30/to-jump-or-not-to-jump/" rel="nofollow">new phone</a>, and why my employer using Windows XP (!!!) on all employee laptops until late last year drove me crazy.
    

    In addition, my favorite form of procrastination is reading about new ways to do work. All the bases are covered – the illusion of work, thinking about work, theoretically improving future work – to feel productive without actually being productive. Lifehacker is the ESPN1 of feeling productive, my main source of finding new ways to work (especially the How I Work series).
    This is most likely the reason that I cannot choose a to-do/note-taking/organizer program. There are so many, but I think I finally have it narrowed down to about 4.
    My previous favorite was Workflowy, basically an infinite nested list. Todo.txt is the open-source nerd tool, which just uses a .txt file. Trello makes everything into a bulletin board with cards pinned on it, and Evernote does all the things, everywhere.
    Services2
    Workflowy
    Todo.txt
    Trello
    Evernote
    Cost
    $49/yr
    Free
    Free for personal
    $45/yr
    Photos
    No
    No
    Yes
    Yes
    Tagging
    Yes
    Yes
    Limited to 6
    Yes
    GTD-oriented3
    Kind of
    Yes
    Maybe
    Definitely
    API
    Working on it…
    Unnecessary
    Yes
    Yes
    They all work great, but at slightly different things. Evernote would be the best option, with its ability to store photos. but most of its function comes from storage, not helping me to process that storage. I am still figuring that bit out, and will probably use one of the other tools to do it.4
    My favorite right now is Trello. I tried it a year or so ago, and it seemed better suited for group projects. Now, they have a better mobile client, and the documentation is easier to find. Also, the keyboard shortcuts5 are great and make using it fun. I would highly recommend using one to sort out daily life. None of them will meet all your needs6, but you can make them work together to hit all your bases.

    Come to think of it, ESPN : sports :: Lifehacker : working. What percentage of ESPN’s programming is actually showing a sporting event? 
    OK, you got me, those are all referral links. Throw me a bone 🙂 
    I’m only about a quarter of the way into the book. But from all the lifehacking articles I’ve read over the past few years, I know the concepts. When my wife tried reading it, and stopped in roughly the same place to go do something else, I told her she clearly learned all she needed. 
    There are ways to connect all these services to Evernote on the backend – forwarding Workflowy logs to Evernote, syncing with Trello boards, and todo.txt
    Keyboard shortcuts are the stickshift of the internet. Not always necessary, but makes things a lot smoother, and people who always use them swear by them. 
    That is more of an existential problem than a productivity problem.