Swopsmart Scholarship

Technology is an incredibly innovative and magical thing that has continued to surpass our wildest dreams to become realities in the 21st century. Our global communication has skyrocketed with social media and mobile phones, work is significantly easier thanks to software and computers, and it is easier than ever to record and capture memories that are permanent. Of course, although technology can have its downsides, I believe that technology has overall created a positive impact on our world.


When asked what my favorite technology products are, I love computers and laptops in general. They are such powerful machines that can be used to build masterpieces. You can edit award-winning Hollywood movies, edit professional marketing advertisements, design beautiful art, write the next New York Times best-seller, mix the newest hit on the radio, and engage with thousands of social media users with the tap of a button -- the possibilities are limitless, so long as humans continue to create. When I think about what I can do with a computer, I become excited with the potential. Also, self-driving cars are really amazing.


As for least favorite technology, that is a difficult question for me to answer. I'm appreciative of all technology and the benefits that it brings us. If I had to choose one, I would say that I'm wary of smart home devices. They are phenomenal in theory and add incredible convenience, such as smart security cameras, smart lights, and even smart TVs. However, data privacy is becoming an increasingly hot topic, despite many people that I've talked to being complacent about the subject. However, it's concerning to me that I've talked to my boyfriend about something like "teeth whitening toothpaste," and was then immediately shown an ad for a similar product while watching YouTube -- despite having never searched for it online or mentioned it elsewhere.


Another technology that I love is mobile phones; they're basically mini supercomputers that fit in your pocket. As an Apple person, I just purchased the new iPhone 12 Pro Max. Last year, Apple sent me a survey after my iPhone 11 Pro Max and asked, "What can we do better next time?" My only suggestion was to have a premium phone in blue. I like to think that Tim Cook personally read my survey, and that's why we now have the Pacific Blue.


Overall, I really enjoy the new phone. Despite the three lenses of the camera still seeming like a bit much, the photos are incredible. Although I haven't tested it too much myself, I've heard that the photographs in dark come out absolutely stunning. I am also a fan of the square design that they brought back from the bodies of the old iPhone 5.


However, despite being in love with Apple and deeply entrenched in their ecosystem, I am a big fan of the Samsung Z Fold2 that launched around August of 2020. Does it have a ridiculous name? Yes. Does it cost as much as a MacBook Pro? Yes. Is it a sexy phone? Also yes.


My first smartphone was a Samsung Note 2 (which I dropped and broke), then a Samsung Galaxy S4 (which I also dropped and broke), and finally a Samsung Galaxy S7 (thankfully that survived and I sold) before I switched to Apple. I haven't looked back since; but despite all that, the Samsung Z Fold2 catches my eye.


I remember when the first folding phone was first announced three or so years ago. It sounded like magic, and a very neat concept -- especially to a tech nerd like myself. At the time, I worked in the mobile department at Best Buy. It was my job to live and breathe cell phones (which also gave me a distorted sense of money, but let's not talk about that).


Microsoft may have been the first company to launch a folding phone, but I was waiting to see what Samsung and Apple would do as the biggest manufacturers of mobile phones. Of course, Apple will probably come out with one in five to ten years given their track record, but I'm sure that it will be worth waiting for.


In the meantime, Samsung has done some very interesting things with their folding phones. The first Galaxy Z Fold had some issues, and it was initially delayed. But once it came out, the big screen was beautiful and felt like a small tablet in your hands, similar to an iPad mini. There was only a small rectangle for the display on the front as part of the screen, which felt a bit disappointing. They also made the Galaxy Z Flip, which brought back the satisfying snapping sensation when finishing a phone call but in the form of a powerhouse of a smartphone. (As a side note, I've been watching a lot of Korean dramas lately and since Samsung is a Korean company, you can bet that there is some very obvious and well-done product placement. There's nothing more appealing than your favorite K-drama character dramatically closing their phone after some revelation or shocking declaration of love!)


But never fear, Samsung thankfully learns from its mistakes (like the Note 7 fiasco)! The Samsung Z Fold2's whole front is now a display, and can be used as one solo screen rather than opening the whole device. This seemingly simple design change was appealing enough for me to look at potentially buying used Z Fold2's, even though I absolutely do not need a second phone, and even made me think momentarily about switching back.


Speaking of buying used phones, let's talk about Swopsmart! Swopsmart offers you a trade-in value for your used mobile devices such as Apple and Samsung phones, tablets, and a few other Apple products such as Apple Watches, AirPods, and Apple TV as a convenient and easy way to dispose of your old devices while receiving value for them. You can fill out a quick and simple form online to receive a quote based on your device's specs and condition. Then, you send your products off to Swopsmart with free shipping (and who doesn't love free?). After Swopsmart examines your devices and ensures that your information is wiped so as to not compromise your data, you will receive payment same-day via PayPal or be mailed a check. How convenient!

This was written for the 2020 Swopsmart Scholarship. I decided to answer all three questions instead of just the one due to the format being a blog post. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and have a wonderful day.

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