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[personal profile] emgrasso
A couple of months ago our company switched cellphone carriers and those of us near or after the end of our current contracts were upgraded to Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phones.

The phone is beautiful -- great screen, great battery life, screen buttons big enough to use easily. Big enough visually to use as an e-reader, and good for games. Great speaker-phone mode, which was just as well: I complained early on that the phone was too heavy to hold to my ear during a long conversation and my CEO said he generally used a headset or speaker mode.

During the past few months I have had erratically increasing problems with my right arm and shoulder, including one very sore spot on my upper arm that my chiropractor said was a muscle insertion point.

I was needing frequent chiropractor appointments and occasional use of a vibrating massager gadget just to keep my arm partly usable, and waking up in the middle of the night because the shoulder stiffened up and hurt so much.

On Friday my DSL went out and the phone sat on the table being a hotspot all day, and I noticed that my arm was feeling a bit better. I avoided picking up the Note phone all weekend and by Monday the improvement was continuing.

I arranged to swap out the Note 4 for a Galaxy S 4 mini, which seems to be the lightest smartphone Verizon carries, and the improvement has continued.

Before handing in the Note, I weighed it. Including the Otter-box, it was 8.6 ounces. I assume the problem was holding that weight up and still, at focal distance.

The tablet I use for a lot of my reading is nearly a pound with the leather easel case, but I tend to prop it on things rather than holding it in mid-air -- I think the Note just hit a sweet spot regarding leverage and muscle tension. (And possibly amplified whatever problems the tablet was already causing.)

The Note was large for my hand too, so I was stretching my hand to support it as well as tensing against the weight.

The mini is a lot less usable than the Note 4. Typing stuff in the onscreen keyboard is really difficult and I wouldn't want to read much on the tiny screen. But it works as a phone and GPS and hotspot (DSL went out again yesterday) which are the functions I really need from it. And my arm is clearly improving.

It is still a little sore, and this morning it was stiff from being slept on until I moved it and stretched. But I was able to move it and stretch it, without worrying about what other damage I might be doing to it.

Maybe I'll see if I can get used to using a stylus.

I wonder how many other people are having ergonomic problems with the new larger phoones without realizing it? Especially kids and women with small hands.

April 2017

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