Mobile Network

Use this comparison site to pick the best and cheapest mobile phone network in the UK

21 July 2014 ~ 8 Comments

Top 5 value-for-money smartphones

top 5 value for money

Everyone knows about the latest and greatest superpowered smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Apple iPhone 5S and the HTC One M8. They pack in the latest technology and the most features and are really at the cutting edge of modern industrial design. However, despite the high performance, they have a price tag to match.

Not everyone can afford £1000+ on a new mobile phone and commitment to a contract of two years or more. Furthermore, anyone following technology knows that early adopters pay over the odds and sometimes even subsidise other consumers for the right to boast that they a device at the bleeding edge of tech.

Smarter customers often look for bargains instead of obsessing over the very best. By going for a phone that’s a generation or two behind the curve, you not only get a product with amazing performance but you also save a lot of money. Simply, it’s the best way to maximise the bang for your buck. And it’s pretty clear that nowadays, even a phone that came out two years ago offers a blisteringly fast user experience, the same solid build quality and more features than you’d probably ever use. If you want better value for money, you can still get amazing performance – after all, most phones today offer better tech specs than laptops and digital cameras from just a few years ago.

We now have bargain smartphones available that refuse to compromise on performance. Today we’re rounding up the top five phones that offer the best value. These handsets are all less than half the price of a new Galaxy S5 or iPhone 5S but still keep up with the latest games and apps. In our opinion, they are easily the best value for money smartphones you can currently get. Have a look for yourself!

Nokia Lumia 520

Only £79.84

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Smooth, stylish and smart, the new Lumia 520 is packed with great features it’s hard to live without. Windows Mobile has massively improved recently and on top of that, there’s no denying that Nokia, with all their experience, make stunning-looking devices.

At an incredible pricepoint of under £80, it’s hard to argue with the Lumia 520. Anything else this cheap without a contract will be sluggish and unresponsive in comparison.

It also boasts a super-sharp 4″ screen, crystal call quality and many other perks such as a physical shutter button and digital lenses.

If you don’t mind a Windows Phone device, there is absolutely nothing that comes close to the price/quality ratio of the Nokia Lumia 520.

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Lenovo A820

Only £109.22

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lenovo a820

When looking at Chinese phones like the Lenovo A820, the main selling points is just how much phone you’re getting for your money. It has 1 GB of RAM and a quad core processor but still costs just over 100 quid. If you don’t have hundreds and hundreds of pounds to spend on your mobile phone but still want all the bells and whistles of a smartphone, this is a great choice to go for.

We’ve already written a full in-depth review of the Lenovo A820 but to summarise, the highlights of this handset are the power saving features, the long-lasting removable 2000 mAh power cell, the amazing dual-SIM ports and the fact it comes with a quad core processor.

This handset is incredibly cheap for the hardware you’re getting and it offers incomparable value compared to almost any phone available on British high streets.

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Moto G

Was £159.99 Now only £149.99

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moto g

Yes, you read it right. The Moto G is a Android KitKat 4G smartphone that only costs £150! It boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, boatloads of RAM and much more besides.

The battery is great and the two cameras produce snaps of amazingly good quality. Perhaps best of all in the impressive curved 4.5″ screen coated with Gorilla Glass. The casing is even water-resistant!

LTE 4G, HD display, Quad-Core Speed Android 4.4 KitKat and all for less than £150. A bargain!

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Nexus 5

Only £260.00

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nexus 5

The Nexus 5 surely needs no introduction. Built by LG, the Google-branded Android handset comes with an 8 MP OIS camera featuring HDR+ and Photo Sphere‚ a 4.95″ Full HD IPS Display, fast 4G LTE and a 2‚300 mAh battery.

The phone has a nice matt rubberised back and feels great to hold. Compared to high end competitors like the iPhone 5S, you get a bigger, better quality screen and the Nexus is just as blisteringly fast.

The Nexus 5 is outstanding and comes at an incredible price for a well-specced product that just exudes quality.

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Was £489.00 Now only £275.79

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lg g2

If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can still get great value for your cash. The LG G2 blows away most of its competition with a 2.26Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB RAM, 13 megapixel OIS camera and a 5.2″ full HD display.

On top of that it boasts a massive battery to keep it going all day and genuinely useful software features such as tracking zoom, Knockon and Capture PLus.

The phone is gorgeous to look at with the bezel-less screen and amazing build quality throughout. The display density is 424 ppi and the colour reproduction is clear and vivid. Overall, the LG G2 is a great handset and an utter bargain at this price.

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18 July 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Another bumper payback season

giffgaff payback june 2014

Giffgaff remit payback payments every six months in December and June. The latest payback period ran from December 2013 to May 2014 and the budget virtual network just released the latest statistics from their most recent payout. Payback is their way of providing mutual returns to their members that they have been doing since they first launched. This time the total paid out was over £2.4 million!

Get a free Giffgaff SIM

Giffgaff market themselves as “the network run by you”. This means that they go to significant efforts to solicit feedback from their users and also reward users for helping out in their community forms. They save money by relying on users as the front-line customer support. And the forums are filled with useful members willing to help out with minor issues such a APN settings or activating a SIM card.

In return for their work, Giffgaff rewards helpful users with payback – money that they can choose to receive either as airtime credit, cold hard cash or as a charitable donation. Keeping in theme, Giffgaff allow its members to choose the charities each payback period and match all the contributions with their own donation.

Payback is processed every six months in June and December and, as Giffgaff has grown as a network, the amount of people helping out has grown massively as has the amount of money paid back to the community. We’ve been carefully charting Giffgaff’s paybacksince the first payments went out back in June 2010.

We put together the graph below keep track of Giffgaff’s payback payments so far. What do you think will happen to the trend in the future?

giffgaff payback june 2014 graph

When the network first started, the total payback given out was only £27,000. But it soon reached a quarter of a million and by May 2012, Giffgaff had massively expanded and payouts hit over £1 million for the first time. The graph got even steeper over the next year or so before levelling off just below £2.5 million where it is right now.

They have also been giving more and more to charity. In 2011, after Giffgaff doubled the amounts, donations were about £15,000. And in the last twelve months generous users have contributed over £50,000 to charity which Giffgaff have doubled again. Overall, over £200,000 has been even away in total.

Giffgaff’s CEO Mike Fairman has also revealed that members such as uzzyy have earned about £20,000 a year from working with the network. The top earner regularly makes over £10,000 every six months.

For more information, check out this cool infographic. But to summarise, Giffgaff stats also show that members from London earn over £1 million every payback period with the West Midlands not far behind and the North West of England making almost £1.6 million! If you’d like to earn payback too you should get involved and sign up to a Giffgaff account.

Ordering a SIM card to get started is completely free. You also get £5 free credit to start you off and you will be able to start earning as soon as your activate your SIM card. You don’t even need to use it – just having an active SIM qualifies you to get payback payments!

Are you a Giffgaff customer already? How much payback did you earn this time round? And what’s your best guess for the total paid out next time in December?

16 July 2014 ~ 1 Comment

Saving phone battery to beat the TSA

mobile phone battery life

The big news from last week is that US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) have banned people from taking mobile phones on flights if they have run out of battery. Ostensibly as part of new “security” measures, if your phone is dead when checked by airport staff, they can confiscate your device. We’ve come up with the ultimate battery-saving guide to make sure you extend your smartphone’s battery life as much as possible so that the TSA goons can’t confiscate it.

We’ve all been in situations when your phone doesn’t have as much juice as we’d like. Maybe you’ve been rushing around enjoying yourself on the last days of your holiday and haven’t had a chance to plug in the charger? Or perhaps you’ve been staying in a busy hostel with few power sockets to go round or even are camping or staying in a remote jungle lodge with no generator. And of course, we know what it’s like making the long arduous journey to catch your flight home only to find that listening to music on the way has killed your battery.

We know, they know, everyone knows: it’s a completely useless policy and excessively rigid that does nothing to make any of us safe. It’s just pointless security theatre designed to appease and perpetuate fearmongering. Don’t forget that electronics are already swabbed with explosive detectors.

In fact, if anything, this new measure probably makes us less safe. Nearly all of the security workforce will be mindlessly waving through passengers with working phones as that’s the way they are taught to work with an inflexible list of blanket security directives. Meanwhile, it’s not the most challenging project to modify a battery so that it delivers power but still has room to conceal other components.

But unfortunately, we have no choice. While these new measures allow arrogant and bullying airport staff additional opportunities to abuse us, we still need to make sure that our phones are charged and working if we want to make that flight. So how do you get the most battery life out of your phone?

Use an external battery pack

A simple solution. Buy an external battery to ensure you can always top up your mobile phone and keep it going for longer. We recommend the Mophie Powerstation Pro which will handle any phone or tablet and has a massive 6,000 mAh cell which will give you multiple full charges. n better, it has an output of over 2 amps meaning it will recharge your phone as fast as possible. It is also impact and splash resistant.

Don’t turn it off – use Airplane mode even when on the ground

In our tests, it turns out that most smartphones munch a huge chunk of battery booting up. Airplane mode, however, is the next best thing to having your phone completely off and can be triggered quickly and easily. Unless you’re waiting for an urgent call, keeping your phone in Airplane mode can easily multiply your battery life and you can still turn it off to send a quick email when needed.

Turn the screen brightness down and reduce screen time

Especially with the big screens that are now popular, the display is one of the most power-hungry aspects of a smartphone. Reducing the brightness can make a massive difference to how long you can go between charges. Try to resist the temptation to constantly check your phone too as every second of screentime chips away at your battery life. Another good tip is to use a static wallpaper instead of CPU-intensive active wallpapers.

Turn off automatic uploads and updates

Many phones are sending data over the internet in the background even when you’re not actively using them. Turn off automatic updates and background processes and especially watch out for apps like Google+ and Dropbox that might have been configured to automatically suck dry your battery life by uploading photos and videos.

Don’t use mobile data at all

The mobile internet radio on your phone is a big power sink. If possible, always choose Wifi over mobile data or use switch to 2G only .

Turn off other radios such as GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Unsurprisingly, communicating remotely with radio signals sent over several miles requires a lot of power. GPS can almost be as bad as mobile data especially when trying to get a location lock. Turn it off when you’re not using it and also think about turning off other short-range communications such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Don’t watch videos or play games

Decoding video and playing games are terrible for battery life. Not only are they highly CPU-intensive but they also require the screen to be constantly on. Avoiding both of these activities will make a huge difference if you’re struggling to eke out the last few drops of power.

Use something else for music

Dig out that old mp3 player. Using your phone as music device also saps its power pretty quickly.

Use a battery saving app or mode

Android also has plenty of other great options. Many phone shave a battery saving mode that minimised power-hungry actions. And you can use automation apps such as Tasker to profile your phones usage to automatically only use battery-sapping features when necessary. It’s also worth looking into apps such as Juice Defender.

Carry a spare battery

The simplest option! No use for people with crappy phones with non-removable batteries but if you’re smart, you can just have a spare charged battery in your pocket to instantly boost your charge and ensure you always have a bit of juice spar.e