Tag Archives: Iphone

How to get the most money for your old smartphone

So, the latest and greatest smartphone is just on the horizon and you want it, you want it badly. Trouble is your only half way through you current phone contract and there is going to be a cost implication involved. And probably a large cost implication.

You have two choices: You either buy out of your contact early, or you buy your new device SIM-free and use it with your current contract or a pay as you go SIM. Depending on how long you have left on your contract will determine which option you go for.

Now I am a sucker for new tech, I really am. When I want something I just have to have it and ill do anything possible to get my hands on the latest smartphone. Yes it usual costs but if your clever about it you can minimise this cost a great deal. The trick is to use your current smartphone as equity towards your new one.

I have compiled this short guide to help you in getting the most money for your current smartphone, and as such avoid having to pay out too much towards your new one.

Apologies if your not from the UK. Although this article is based on UK prices etc, the concepts should still be relevant no matter where you live.

1. Think phone value.

You need to be smart right from the beginning and consider the future value of your phone. If like me you change your device IMG_0769more often than you change your pants (not literally of course) then this is important. If you sign a new phone contract today, think about how much your new device might be worth in a year. If you don’t know much about smartphones then do your research. Have a look at SIM free prices and consider the actual value of the phone. Remember some branded phones will depreciate in value quicker than others. For example Apple and Samsung branded devices hold their value very well.

2. Be careful if signing up to a contract.

Do not sign up to an expensive phone contract if all you are getting is a entry/mid level phone. Chances are it will only be worth a few hundred quid and if you want sell it in a years time it will have little worth. Also, think about how much you are paying a month and remember that if you do decide to buy out early you will need to pay your monthly fee times by the amount of months you have left. This can be expense so sometimes its a good idea to get a bit of equity in the device from the start.

3. Look after your phone.

This may sound obvious but look after you phone. Insure it, put a case on it and for the love of god don’t keep it in the same pocket that you keep you keys in! The future value of your phone depends massively on its condition. People looking for second hand phones on Ebay will be much more attracted to ones advertised as being ‘immaculate’ as opposed to devices listed as having ‘some light scratches’. Its not difficult to look after you device. Treat it like your own child and it will reward you later in life. Furthermore, make sure you keep the box, instructions and all accessories. This will effect the future price.

3. Know where to sell your device.

Chances are your network provider or local phone shop will give you bugger all for your old phone. To get the best price shop around. There are many different avenues for selling your smartphone. Lets explore these:

4. Ebay

Ebay is a very good means of selling your device. It takes a lot of stress out of the process and sorts most things for you. There is also some comeback if it all goes a bit Pete Tong (That means wrong my American friends). You will have to make sure you Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 20.21.57listing stands out so make sure you use loads of pictures showing off the condition of the device and pay attention to your excerpt. If your device is immaculate then make sure you get this in. Also don’t list it too high or you won’t get any attention. Think about your delivery costs too as anything too high will put people off. One downside of Ebay is the charges. Make sure you know how much you are going to be charged.

Just over a week after the iPhone 6 came out, the iPhone 5S 16GB is selling for around £260 on Ebay in the UK. After you take into consideration the 10% seller fees you are going to get less that £234. You need to decide wether you can get more money via other avenues.

5. Recycle websites.

Recycle websites are great at giving you quick access to selling your phone and you should definitely consider checking them out. The easiest option however is to just log on to a comparison website such as Sellmymobile.com and they will give you the best price. You are still worth checking individual websites yourself as some may be excluded for the comparison website searches. Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 17.49.35

Again, a week after the iPhone 6 came, the best price I could find for the iPhone 5S 16GB was £255. This isn’t bad when you consider this is the actual price you will get and all you have to do is post the phone to them.

6. High Street stores.

You should never discount high street stores as they will often give a good price for your old gadgets. You should definitely pop into your local town/city and explore the local trade in shops. Popular trade in stores in the UK include CEX and Game.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 18.22.06Again for the 16GB iPhone 5s CEX would give me £258 and Game £260. Clearly this would be the preferable option based on the fact that that there are no hidden costs. These prices do however rely on the device being in perfect condition.

What is good news is that there are plenty of options for selling you smartphone when you decide that its time to get a new one. All you need to decide on is wether you want to sign up to a new contract, or wether you you can afford to buy a device SIM-free. Personally I opt for both options and try to purchase my devices outright whenever possible.

You will certainly save money in the long run if you buy your device outright but of course this often results in a much larger up front cost.  Remember, where there’s a will there’s a way. Think smart and think ahead. There is always a way of getting that shiny new smartphone!

Why your iPhone isn’t automatically the best

What exactly is the best smartphone available today? This really is the million dollar question. A question which is intensely difficult to answer because the answer is totally subjective.

Not so long ago when purchasing a new phone we had to make a choice. We had to choose between high end optics and power. Smartphone vs camera phone. Fortunately all that ended with the introduction of modern day smartphones. All of a sudden you could buy a device which incorporated the latest internals with a half decent camera. There were still decisions to be made however and that is marginally still the case today.

The original iPhone was an excellent example of an all round device. It had some of the latest hardware under the hood, intuitive software and included a camera as a bonus. There were however other smartphones on the market with better optics and more power under the hood.

Today this isn’t such an issue however as the latest smartphones offer similar characteristics; the latest hardware, cutting edge optics, super displays and the latest and best in software. So what makes one device better than another? If there is no longer such a variation in hardware then what is it that makes us buy one device over another? What makes one device better than another?

This is going to sound controversial but all smartphones are the same. We have one simple choice, and that is one of Operating System (OS). Typically your either into iOS, Android or Windows mobile. All modern day device use the latest hardware from the likes of Qualcomm and Samsung etc. So really we are just buying into a brand. I have used both Android and iOS for years. They are ultimately the same and offer the same user experience. They are both very good in what they do. The newer OS, Windows mobile is also good at what it does in that it is fresh looking and relatively simple to use.

This all leads me to the conclusion that there are two underlying factors which dictate what our next device will be. The first as already mention is the OS. This is really the only ‘choice’ we make. The second is concerned with brand loyalty. brand loyalty however ultimately revolves around good marketing and this is what dictates what we think is the best device.It has little to do with anything else as ultimately we are all suckers to marketing.

So the question as to which smartphone is the best all comes down to brand and popularity. Lets be honest all those people who buy into brand Apple. Do you actually know what you are buying or are you just being told that your Apple purchase is automatically the best thing ever for no reason other than it being Apple? The same point stands with Samsung. People will buy into the Galaxy brand for example because Samsung is very good at telling the consumer that the Galaxy range of phones are awesome.

Fanyboyism is not a good thing. It prevents people from making balanced decisions and choosing the smartphone which is right for them. People who buy into brand Apple fanatically believe that the iPhone is the phone of Christ and that nothing else is as good as it. Not so long ago I glided into work with my new HTC One smartphone. It was an exceptional device and a very well rounded product. Upon showing it off to my colleagues somebody said “yeah but its not iPhone is it?” What does this even mean!? I don’t think she knew herself. She couldn’t tell me the difference between LCD and OLED technology, or tell me what processor was powering her iPhone. No of course she couldn’t. And this is the point, she just assumed that the iPhone was the best thing ever because that is what she is led to believe. So if you ask somebody like this what the best smartphone is, they would merely reply “obviously iPhone”.

So what is the best smartphone ever? My opinion is that this is an impossible question because the answer is entirely subjective. I think I got pretty close with the HTC One. It had brilliant build quality, a nice camera, cutting edge internals and a cracking screen. It worked really well and HTC Sense does a really nice job of bringing everything together. It was also a great size. I also love the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For people who chew through video and media, and surf the net then its perfect. I currently have an iPhone 5S. I got it at release. Its a good smartphone. Build quality is second to none, its very powerful and it has a good screen. That said, the screen is way to small (I cant type on it with my sausage fingers), the finger print reader is temperamental and the prices of accessories are frankly extortionate. I also rather dislike Apple’s philosophy. Why shouldn’t I be able to use a third party car charger just because its not made by Apple!?

The point i’m trying to make is that there is no such thing as the perfect smartphone. It totally depends on what you want. People are fundamentally ignorant when it comes to purchasing their new smartphone. They are taken in by cleaver marketing and the occasional loyalty to a particular brand. Consequently this is not always helpful. When you look at the story of HTC you will see my point. HTC make some absolutely excellent smartphones and in fact have done for years. HTC Sense is easily the best OS skin available and the company have always been at the forefront of Innovation and design. The problem is however they just cannot compete with the popularity of Apple and Samsung, not to mention their marketing budgets. So you see most people don’t actually know what the ‘best’ smartphone is. They just get told. They follow like sheep.

Its drives me mad when I look on online forums and see people arguing over which operating system is best, which brand is best. Accusing each other of being ‘fanboys’. These people don’t actually know what they are talking about. These people are like brainwashed religious fundamentals. No amount of education and persuasion is going to change their mind. They will die for the cause. But there will never be any change because this is brand power at its best. Apple have been incredibly successful at creating the brand. Apple devices have gone far beyond the function for which they are designed and are now designer accessories. Sporting the latest iPhone is like showing off an Armani suit. Its the cool thing that everyone needs.

So again, and in conclusion there really isn’t a ‘best smartphone’, it all depends on what your opinions are. Personally I don’t care about brand and reputation. When I get a new smartphone I think really carefully about what I need and whats best for me. In hindsight the iPhone 5S was a bit of a mistake, I should have stuck with my head and got a Galaxy Note 3. I just get frustrated with the iPhone, its just not as good as what your led to believe. So please don’t accuse me of being a fanboy because I don’t have a favourite brand. I just buy the things which are most compatible with my lifestyle and my needs.

This is my opinion anyway. Sorry if this is a little controversial. If you disagree, or ever agree then please let me know.

iPhone 5S review

The iPhone 5s has been one one the most hotly anticipated smartphones of the year, setting new sales records for Apple and causing the usual controversy. If you were lucky enough to have gotten one at release then changes are you stood outside a shop for hours or just got incredibly lucky. I ordered my 32GB gold 5s at midnight on release and I still had to wait about 2 weeks for delivery. What follows is my hands on user review. This is an honest owner review and contains my own impressions and opinions. I am not an Apple fan boy and what follows is an impartial account of how I have found the device. I hope you find it useful.

Build and design

As usual the IPhone 5s is a beauty to look at and hold. Apple have been making the best quality smartphones for years and the 5s does not disappoint. The device is basically built around a top quality aluminium and glass chassis and comes in 2 new colours: champaign gold and space grey. Aesthetically the 5s is exactly the same as the 5. The device is also incredibly light weighing in at only 112g. What I like about the 5s is the way it feels and the way it fits in the hand. There is no finer quality smartphone on the market, although the HTC One comes incredibly close! Like the iPhone 5, the 5s features two speakers on the bottom edge with the lightning connector wedged between them. The headphone jack is situated just to the left. The volume rockers are situated on the left side edge with the vibrate switch above it and on the top edge is the power/lock button. The setup of the buttons and switches is pretty good with everything accessible through one handed use. My only gripe is that if you use the device in the landscape aspect your hand covers up the speakers. This is particularly irritating when playing games. I would suggest using headphones to overcome this. Another issue is with the device chipping and scratching, particularly around the edges. I have not experienced this myself due to using a case but I understand other people are experiencing this issue. All in all however the iPhone 5s has a stunning design and the new colours are a nice addition.

Hardware and performance

The iphone 5s is built around Apple’s new A7 processor. This is the worlds first smartphone processor to feature a 64bit architecture. Don’t get too excited though as the 5s only has 1GB of RAM meaning it cannot fully utilise this technology. More on this here: http://techtimemachine.co.uk/2013/09/17/apple-a7-and-64bit/. That’s not to say that the A7 isn’t lightning fast. It is. It absolutely blazes through tasks and applications like nothing else and IOS 7 is buttery smooth. Benchmark results seem to suggest that the A7 is one of the fastest mobile processors out there (if not the fastest) and gives Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 a run for its money. Although the A7 processor cannot fully utilise the 64BIT architecture it certainly brings with it a performance boost. The A7 is clocked at 1.3ghz with a PowerVR G6430 GPU in tow and 1ghz of RAM in support. This makes for a very smooth user experience and yet again Apple shows that a gig or RAM is plenty.

I have been playing Dead Trigger 2 recently and this looks stunning on the 5s. Shadow and lighting effects look amazing and reflective water effects can be overwhelmingly good for a pocket device. I have experienced no lag in gaming and the iPhone 5s is a real powerhouse in this department. IOS 7 is also incredibly smooth and looks great on the 5s. I’m a massive fan of this update and couldn’t imagine going back to IOS 6. The sooner people get used to IOS 7 the better. It’s the best update yet. One of the things that really attracts me to i-devices is the way things look. Apps and icons always look great and this is where IOS possibly has an edge on Android. Everything always works smoothly and it is simple to use. IOS 7 just enhances this experience and cleans everything up.

The main hardware difference between the 5 and the 5s is the introduction of Touch ID. This is Apple’s home brewed finger print scanner and is capable of remembering up to 5 prints. My experience with this has been mixed. When it works its spot on. Its dead quick and hassle free. However I tend to suffer with pretty dry skin on my fingers and as such Touch ID often can’t read my prints. This can be a bit frustrating when I have to revert to using the password. It is however often a great experience and really comes into its own when purchasing apps.

Screen

Apple have always been at the forefront of screen technology. Who remembers the first time they laid their eyes on retina display? Of course when I say apple I actually mean LG and subsequently Sharp. Apple moved away from LG with the 5 and 5s and partnered up with Sharp. Clearly Apple thought the screen was good enough to incorporate it in the 5s and as such it has not been changed. The experience is still one which is top notch, however this is no longer the best display out there. The display supports a resolution of 640 x 1136 which works out at 326 pixels per inch (ppi). This isn’t bad by any means but for a 4 inch display it could be better. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for example sports a huge 5.7 inch Super AMOLED HD display which manages a ppi of 386! So not only is it much bigger but it has a sharper resolution. The Note 3 is probably the best screen on the market right now and it really does overshadow the one found in the iPhone 5s. That’s not to say that the iPhones display is bad. It is still really sharp and I haven’t noticed any pixelation, even when zoomed in. It also produces great colours, sunlight legibility is great and and viewing angles are also very good. A similar display can be found in the HTC One but I feel the iPhone does it better justice. One thing I do dislike is the size. 4 inches is just not not good enough by today’s standards. I feel that this strains my eyes and just isn’t big enough for an immersive gaming/multimedia experience. Granted this display keeps the size down but I feel it could be made bigger without effecting the size of the device too much, if at all. There is plenty of unused space on the front of the device and I reckon the iPhone 6 will utilise this and make for at true edge to edge viewing experience. I also find it very difficult to type on the keyboard and accuracy could be improved. Sometimes it just does register me touching it.

Camera

Apple have opted to stick with an 8MP snapper but this is by no means the same as the one found on the iPhone 5. Like HTC, Apple have decided to increase the size of the sensor. This is now 15 % larger and the aperture has also been enlarged and said to allow an extra 25 % light in. Again like the HTC One this allows in more light and makes for better low light performance. The camera interface has been given a make over with IOS 7 and whilst basic it is functional. I’m not going to bog you down with science but my experience wight the camera so far has been pretty positive. The 5s takes some great pics and certainly performs better than the HTC One. Low light performance is good but I find the sensor becomes a little overloaded in strong light. Video quality is also very good and the slow motion feature has been very fun to use. My experience of the camera and video has been very positive and performance is very good. It’s exactly what you would expect on a high end device. I would like to see a 13MP snapper on the next iPhone however.

Conclusion

Over all I have been very impressed with my iPhone 5s. It is very powerful and everything comes together fantastically on IOS 7. One thing I have been a little disappointed with is the battery life. On standby this is pretty good but when you start using the device for multimedia and web browsing etc it really starts to eat through the battery. I often struggle to make it to the end of the day. I have noticed a bit of an improvement after the latest update but it is still not fantastic. Another issue for me, and perhaps my main gripe, is the size. It does feel to small for me. I know for some people this will be a positive thing but for me I just feel as though I need something larger. It feels a bit like the iPhone 5s is strapped into a straight jacket. It’s capable of so much but with that tiny display it just can’t reach its potential. The iPad Air is where we will really see what the hardware is capable but with the iPhone 5s it all just feels a bit restricted. It’s like using a nuclear reactor to power your garden shed. It’s capable of much much more but but not in its current setup. That’s not to say that the 5s isn’t a great device because it really is. It’s amongst the best you can get. It’s just not THE best. Android is easily as good as IOS nowadays and Apple no longer offer the most intuitive and revolutionary hardware innovations. There is plenty of competition to Apple and if they are not careful they will lose that edge that they have had for so long. In this age bigger is better. As such let’s hope the next iPhone takes notice and does something about that tiny screen!

If you have any experience with the 5s please let me know how you have got on.

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Apple vs samsung – battle of the benchmarks

Samsung have been accused of cheating benchmarks with its recent flagship devices – namely the Note3. I find this interesting as there seems to arising a bit of a witch hunt against Samsung. Samsung is no different to any other company in that it tries to get the best out of its products. It seems to me that whilst samsung are one of the premier manufacturers of smartphones, they have yet to achieve the status of Apple. What I mean by this is that Apple is almost untouchable. The Apple brand is enormous and enjoys a very healthy fan base. Anything with the Apple brand on it is assumed to be better than everything else. Apple could quite literally put their brand on a turd and people would still flock in their thousands to purchase it. Because of this spectacular following Apple are considered untouchable. People are so In love with the brand that they can’t bear to have it criticised.
I recently showed my HTC One to a colleague at work and she said “it’s not iphone though is it?”. This just proves my point. Narrow minded people who haven’t the slightest clue about the latest technologies and innovations will just automatically assume that the iPhone is the greatest thing since sliced bread. This is because of the Apple brand. Samsung – as the now largest manufacturer of smartphones – have also had phenomenal success in recent years, particularly with the Galaxy range. However, they are not as big of a brand as Apple. Apple is fashionable and trendy where is Samsung is perhaps not. So my point is that samsung do not enjoy the same following as Apple and therefore are likely to be subjected to a lot more criticism. Until samsung finds itself in a place where people would actually sell their own grandparents to buy their latest phone then they are not going to enjoy the success of their major competitor.
Samsung doesn’t yet have the immunity of Apple. Apple can do no wrong by its fans but Samsung has yet to achieve that status.

iOS 7 download issues

Apple have finally begun to roll out the much anticipated IOS 7 but so far it has been far from a smooth process. Some users are reporting a “software update error” whilst others are unable to connect with iTunes at all. Personally I had a message tell me that I didn’t have permission. I have also found download times being massive and the download timing out. Let me know how you get on.

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Apple A7 and 64bit

What an exciting week its been. With the announcement of the Iphone 5S and 5C, everyone is talking about Apples new 64-bit A7 processor. But what exactly is all the chat about?

Apple are marketing the new A7 processor as being the worlds first 64-bit mobile chip. And with Samsung claiming that their next processors will also be 64-bit surely this is the way forward?

Well yes and no. Whilst clearly a step in the right direction, this is also a bit of a marketing gimmick.

In theory a 64-bit processor is twice as fast as a 32 bit processor. The idea being that a 64-bit processor and Operating System (OS) is able to make better use of the systems RAM and processor and as such deliver much better performance. Whilst this is true in terms of desktop computing, here lies the problem in current mobile set-ups. The main reason for having a 64-bit processor and Operating System is to be able to access more than 4 GB’s of RAM – as is the limit with 32-bit processors. With the Iphone 5S only having 1 GB of RAM we are unlikely to see a massive performance increase over current high end 32-bit processors. Sure, Apple’s new A7 will be faster than the last generation of processors but it is not the leap forward Apple would have us believe. That is not to say there is no future for 64-bit processors. I see this more as Apple future-proofing and gearing itself up for future IOS devices – devices that can fully utilize a 64-bit architecture. With IOS7 being Apple’s first 64-bit OS, Apple are clearly paving the way for a new breed of I-devices.

Clearly though from a marketing point of view Samsung and others will need to be seen as keeping up with Apple. Samsung have already acknowledged this point and I’m sure other manufacturers will soon follow.