As we draw closer to the festive season, you might be putting some of the most recent gadgets on the top of your Christmas list. Our resident fresher weighs up the pros and cons of joining in with the smartphone revolution.

Up until September, I was the proud owner of a £10 phone. We all know the perks of owning such a cheap, indestructible little device and it never bothered me in the slightest that I still used my camera to take photos, my computer to surf the internet and my MP3 player to listen to music.

That was until my smart phone savvy friends introduced me to the iPhone 3GS from a students perspective. The inner geek in me couldn’t help but be swayed by the idea of being able to keep my timetable handy at all times and edit it with ease, read countless (free) eBooks, and not only take but edit photos before uploading them quickly to Facebook.

I found myself wondering if those annoying emails which had recently been piling up in my inbox were right – was having up-to-date technology really an ‘essential’ part of student life? It’s certainly plugged that way, with countless apps being aimed towards students and most of apples advertising images consisting of content young adults sitting cross legged in front of their latest, slimmest laptop.

Perhaps I should have listened to that instinctive repulsion of this particular targeting campaign, because when I finally did acquire my iPhone I discovered that many of my friends felt the same. My excited Facebook status that gleefully announced my joining the 21st Century was met with more than one ‘iSheep’ comment; and another friend begged me not to become someone who’d spend social gatherings more concerned with what was going on online than right in front of them. I swiftly realised how many young people are still adamant on resisting this iCulture and are nothing but increasingly aggravated by being bombarded with offers, deals, competitions, and over-all, the attitude that owning such devices are a must for our generation.

Despite the negative vibes (and the awful, monthly dent on my bank account for the next two years), I have to confess to being fond of my new phone. That my two hours of travel a day can be spent listening to an audio book if I forget the hard copy, or that I can keep up to date with group events while being on the move is heavenly for my slightly disorganised brain. I adore the photo-editing apps which allow me to capture the mood of a rainy morning or a drunken moment with a friend, and finally having a music player than can hold more than a few hundred tracks is a huge bonus too.

Yet as for it being an ‘essential’ part of student life, I’m not too sure. The cost is one of the most obvious drawbacks and when I’ve had to forego a night out in order to pay for the damn thing, I admit I’ve often cursed my decision to say goodbye to my old £15-a-month contract. Additionally some of the brightest, most hard working students I know are complete technophobes who wouldn’t have it any other way, and to be quite honest, my timetable is still a crumpled piece of paper at the bottom of my bag.

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