Dean Clough

April 19, 2023

Portico Darwin: Lowering The Flag


2 Minute Read
Flag of Ukraine.jpg

I dedicate today's post to the phone snobs Miguel Shannon and Andy Jones. 

If you buy expensive mobile phones - like my two very dear friends - why?  Because unless you're a gamer or a 4K movie producer, are you sure you need a (dark, intimidating background music is playing now) Flagship Phone?  

Here are the phones presently considered "the best" among those available in the United States.

I am sure these are absolutely fine devices, all.  But aren't they getting kind of expensive and why spend the money?   And/or subject yourself to a usurious contract from Verizon or AT&T to get one?

Because for what are you using your phone?  Are you sure you need the most RAM, fastest processor, and most ginormous screen?  Might it be an image thing, like driving a Ferrari (vs. a used 2014 Mini Cooper S Convertible)?

Recently, in Houston, I went swimming with my phone in my pocket.  Smart, I know, but it did provide me with another opportunity to find a great-but-not-a-flagship phone. 

What I'm calling a Banner Phone.

And the banner phone I bought and had delivered poolside at the soon-gone Murphy Villa?  Google's Killer Pixel 6a.  For the record, between Julie and myself, we've owned a Pixel 3a, 4a, 5a, and now, the 6a.  My last phone was a 4a.

There has not been a dog in the bunch and about 6 weeks in, the 6a is no exception.  In fact, it's the best phone I've owned.  I'm not sure why anyone needs more? 

I should add it costs $300.

I get that it not being an Apple product is a show-stopper for many, which is a shame, but understandable. 

However, if you'd consider making a change, or are already using an Android phone, I can tell you this handles everything I do with aplomb.  Its battery is an all-day/all-night thing.  The photos it takes are fantastic, the norm with a Google phone.  The screen is beautiful with great color.  Its Bluetooth sound on headphones and speakers is great.  It's plenty fast, at least to this old white non-gamer man, in terms of apps, and also its 5G and WiFi connectivity.  And I deem its size and even its appearance to be Goldilocks. 

And while I'll concede it doesn't have the consummate luxury of an iPhone 14 Pro Max Super Duper Steve Jobs Edition XXL, it doesn't have the camera problem many fancy phones have nowadays, either.   

And the Pixel 6a certainly doesn't feel or scream cheap.  Yes, the phone's housing is plastic, but who doesn't put their phone in a case?  And those are made of?

Here are some other, less obvious reasons why this $300 phone makes sense.

  • It runs pure Android, direct from its owner, Google - good enough, and sorry iOS fanpeople
  • I own the phone and it has no contract
  • It is optimized for my carrier of choice, Google's Diamond Certified Fi

Perfect?  Absolutely not.  It has no headphone jack nor a MicroSD slot, although what mainstream phone has either today?  And for $300, of course you're only getting 128Gb of storage - but I don't find that a problem with a combo of downloads, WiFi, and streaming.  I do wish it had wireless charging, which it doesn't.

Lastly, two disclaimers.  It's obviously easier opting for a 6a if you're already a Google product customer in terms of Gmail, Photos, Calendar, etc. vs. being wedded to Apple's walled prison garden.  And the biggie:  these phones come and go all of the time, and Google changes its prices often.  And the 7a is supposedly coming out in early May.

But for now and in sum, the Pixel 6a is a phone that does what phones do nowadays:  everything.  In this case, though, it does everything very well for not much money - the definition of a banner phone.

And you can trust me, as phones are in my blood:  that's my father at a Bell System central office.  He's in the well-tailored dark suit, and saying "One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy - you guys got that?" 


Sure, he has a lot of comments.  But when they're favorable, I really enjoy it.  I give you Mr. Hunter Deuce.

Good blog today; reparations are not an easy topic to discuss much less write about, but you put some interesting stuff out there.

But his fawning adulation of this blog is not all from Hunter.  No, he dropped a bombshell.  

In news you'll see only here, Hunter and Fi Deuce are the proud new parents of these little tyrants.
Their previous sabertoothed feline seemingly had a predilection for mine and Julie's ankles, via claw and even cuspid.  Maybe the rigorous training regimen Hunter has planned for them will make a difference this time?

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


Featuring The Phone Call, here, and on their Diamond Certified eponymous debut album, are The Pretenders.

Indeed, this joins the greatest debut albums in rock history:

  • The Cars
  • Boston
  • Aerosmith
  • Van Halen
  • The Doors
  • Led Zeppelin
  • R.E.M. Murmur

Fun Fact:  nearly every one is eponymously titled - an odd coincidence, although I can see a logic to it, as well.  

Are there any big debuts I've forgotten, eponymous or otherwise?  Zero 7's Simple Things might be too obscure for many, and it's not really rock, but it probably belongs on the list.  

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.