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28 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Top 5 smartphones for battery life

mobile phone battery life

You’ve probably already heard – the latest genius idea from the arbiters of freedom, the TSA, is to require you to turn your mobile phone on before boarding flights. Ostensibly as part of new “security” measures, if your phone is dead when checked by airport staff, they can confiscate your device.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a post on its website. It warned: “Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.

We’ve already written at length about how this new directive is a completely useless policy and so rigid that it does to increase our safety. It’s just another example of pointless security theatre.

However, we have to be pragmatic. The simple facts are that smartphone put greater demands than ever on our phone’s battery life. And now, you simply need to have enough power left to demonstrate that your phone will turn on to get through airport security.

So, to help you decide what’s the best phone to buy for battery life, we’ve taken a look at handsets with the best batteries. It’s no use sacrificing features and power just for days of standby time so we’ve only looked at recent smartphones. But we’ve made careful measurements of the real-world battery life you get from a full charge when using your phone normally including making calls, browing the internet and watching videos. The results of our test produced the following list of the top five smartphones that are least likely to cause you to miss your flight.

Nokia Lumia 1520

Only £335.00

more info

nokia lumia 1520

The Lumia 1520 has a massive 3,400 mAh capacity battery. Amazingly, even though it has a huge power-hungry 6″ display too, it lasts a long time. Windows Phone 8 isn’t always the most efficient mobile OS, but it works great here!

In terms of talk time we got almost thirty hours out of the phone.

Web browsing was also very impressive. Over wifi with the screen constantly on we got about twelve and a half hours on average.

Finally, we looked at its performance on video. Watching videos on the massive display looked great and it lasted well over ten hours every time we tried! Amazing :)

Battery life

 

Sony Xperia Z2

Was £559.99 Now only £476.99

more info

sony xperia z2

The Sony Xperia Z2 is a great phone. Not only is is waterproof and dust resistant but it also comes with a 20.7 megapixel camera sporting 4K Ultra HD video recording and a lush 5.2″ display.

Despite all this power, it also has a great battery life. When using it to make voice calls, we saw a single charge lasting well over twenty hours.

It also did well in our internet browsing test. We managed to get over eleven hours use out of the battery.

And the 3,200 mAh battery also performed well for video playback on the lovely screen. Our tests constantly showed that it would last for over twelve hours.

Battery life

 

Motorola RAZR MAXX

Only £199.99

more info

motorola razr maxx

The Droid RAZR MAXX had a pretty impressive battery life but the GSM version, the Motorola RAZR MAXX, manages to do even better. This might be because it’s running a later version of Android but who knows.

In terms of calls, it lasts well over twenty-one hours on a single charge.

Browsing the internet over wifi is also a strong point. In fact, it will keep going for over nine hours!

And video playback is where it really excels. Believe it or not, but the RAZR NAXX can endure for well over fifteen hours without a top-up. That’s pretty amazing!

Battery life

 

Huawei Ascend Mate

Only £214.40

more info

huawei ascend mate

The Huawei Ascend Mate is no slouch. For only a bit over £200, you get a 6.1″ screen, 1.5GHz Cortex A9 processor and a 16-core graphics chip. Thankfully, you also get a huge 4050 mAh Li-Ion battery.

Talk time was already very impressive with the phone lasting over twenty-five hours.

And the performance for web browsing wasn’t bad either with a full charge lasting over eight hours in our tests.

Despite the massive display, the handset also impressed when we subjected it to a video playback stress test. We managed to keep it going for over twelve hours.

Battery life

 

HTC One Max

Only £140.56

more info

htc one max

Another great choice is the HTC One Max. This comes complete with an impressive 3,300 mAh cell.

The official rating for talk time was twenty five hours. We didn’t quite manage to match this in our tests but the actual score of over twenty two hours wasn’t bad either.

The web browsing performance was also decent with the phone lasting well over eleven hours on one charge.

Finally, we tested video playback in the same way as before. HTC’s smartphone did great and we were able to keep watching for over thirteen hours. Not bad!

Battery life

And, as a bonus – not a smartphone but a great idea nonetheless:

Morphie Juice Pack PowerStation Pro

Was £104.99 Now only £85.48

more info

morphie power station pro

As everyone who owns a smartphone knows, battery life leaves a lot to be desired especially compared to the dumbphones we used not so long ago. This is where the Morphie Juice Pack PowerStation Pro comes in. Morphie have been pioneers in producing additional battery packs and this is one of their flagship products. It features rugged metal construction as well as an additional 6000 mAh of battery power to ensure that your phone will keep chugging on for days and days. Even 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.

It may be expensive, but this is a high-end product and should be able to recharge your handset to full capacity at least twice meaning it’s perfect for a long weekend away. It can also charge standard USB devices from its meaning it’s quite versatile. From experience, we know that this product can be an absolute lifesaver is worth taking with you everywhere you go.

26 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Now Mobile busted: astroturfing exposed

now mobile logoAs one if the biggest UK communities for virtual networks, we get a lot of discussion of the latest offerings and tariffs in our comments sections. In fact, our lovely readers have left over 3000 comments over the last few years and we’re always happy to hear people’s opinions and experiences whether they are good or bad.

However, it’s our responsibility to provide a fair and impartial platform for discussing mobile networks. And nowadays, corporations are coming up with cunning and conniving ways to manipulate consumers. One of these is astroturfing which can aim to alter public viewpoints by pretending to be an impartial customer rather than a paid employeed. According to Wikipedia, it’s “a practice intended to give the statements or organizations more credibility by withholding information about the source’s financial connection”.

As a result, we try to keep an eye out for people attacking competitors or praising their own companies under the guise of an anonymous member of the public and without disclosing that they’re working on behalf of a corporate political sponsor. We’ve already managed to publish a detailed exposé of Vectone Mobile who used pseudonyms to promote their own services.

In that case, we managed to track down the comments to their Head of Online Marketing. We even cross-referenced the email address the comments came from with IP addresses used to promote Delight Mobile, a sister company of Vectone. Armed with this conclusive proof, we were able to reveal that this was a common practice at Vectone.

So of course, when we receive glowingly-sycophantic comments, we take a careful look to check nothing is awry. Recently, someone calling themselves “Cameron” left a comment about Now Mobile saying, “You ALL need to check Now PAYG out, their tariffs are so good. They are so transparent too!”

This already seemed a bit unnatural and contrived to us. And then they went on to say “No fair use policy at all – this month so far (they won’t be impressed with this)”.

Our BS-detector was now beeping like crazy so we dug into the website logs:

cameron comment

What’s that, the comment was left by wasim.akhtar@nowpayg.co.uk? Isn’t that a domain that’s similar to Now Mobile? We decided to visit nowpayg.co.uk – what do you know, it’s the Now Mobile website! But that’s not evidence in itself – it’s very easy to leave a fake email address to mislead people.

What about this name, Wasim Akhtar? Why is that the name of the email address yet the user chose to have the comment appear under the name “Cameron”? What reason would someone have for wanting to conceal their name when writing a positive comment about a company? Well, let’s look a bit more at who this Wasim Akhtar could be. A simple Google search brought up the following:

wasim akhtar

Well, what do you know. It seems someone called Wasim Akhtar works for “Now Mobile Telecommunications Ltd”. And he’s Head of Retail. What else can we find?

wasim akhtar 2

So Wasim has been working there for some years now… But this still isn’t enough. Someone could have done all this research themselves and used his name in a type of reserve astroturfing to make Wasim and Now Mobile look bad.

Is there any way we can find out for sure? Well, for a start, the webserver logs give an IP address for the person who left the comment. Let’s see what we can dig up with that.

A simple command can query the WHOIS database for the IP address 194.72.102.146. This is the output we got.

mnc@umami:~$ whois -c GB 194.72.102.146

% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See http://www.ripe.net/db/support/db-terms-conditions.pdf

% Note: this output has been filtered.
%       To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.

% Information related to '194.72.102.144 - 194.72.102.159'

% Abuse contact for '194.72.102.144 - 194.72.102.159' is 'abuse@bt.com'

inetnum:        194.72.102.144 - 194.72.102.159
netname:        NOWTEL
descr:          FTIP003263549 Nowtel Management Limited
country:        GB
admin-c:        MK12425-RIPE
tech-c:         MK12425-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         BTNET-MNT
mnt-lower:      BTNET-MNT
mnt-routes:     BTNET-MNT
remarks:        Please send abuse notification to abuse@bt.net
remarks:        Please send delisting issues to btnetdns@bt.net
source:         RIPE # Filtered

How very interesting! Seems that the comment was left from a computer owned by Nowtel Management Limited? But who is this Nowtel? Well, it’s a company based in London. And it turns out it’s the parent company of Now Mobile. Nowtel launched Now Mobile in July 2010.

Oh dear, Wasim: Busted!

Astroturfing is bad enough as it conceals your true intentions and aims to mislead and manipulate your customers. At no point in his comment did Wasim reveal his real name publicly nor disclose that he works for the company he was recommending. In fact, he actually did the opposite – by writing “hey won’t be impressed with this” he’s trying to give the impression that he’s in no way affiliated with Now Mobile.

We looked into Nowtel a bit more and found that one of their Core Values is “Be Transparent”. They also proudly claim that “Honesty, integrity and openness is at the heart of our business”:

nowtel transparent

What’s your take, readers? Is it “transparent” for Now Mobile employees to pose under different names and publish comments praising their own company while simultaneously pretending to be completely unrelated? Is there any instance when it’s not appropriate to fully disclose their employers? And what do you think about Now Mobile now you’ve read about this?

18 August 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Our comparison table just got better

compare

That’s right. The most detailed, up-to-date and comprehensive comparison of the UK’s mobile phone networks just got better.

We originally built our comparison table to help you work out which mobile network offers the best deal for you. We think that by giving you all the information, you’ll be able to choose the best value network for your specific needs and usage patterns. Many mobile networks advertise with misleading graphics that only quote some of their prices and even hide their costs from their websites – this puts all the relevant costs in one place.

We were the first and, despite being copied many times over the years, we still think we’re the best. To keep our comparison table up-to-date and relevant we’ve put a ton of work in over the last few weeks to manually check all the details and update tariffs and pricing. We also added dozens of new networks to the sample including Talkxtra, Wildlife Mobile, Econet, Kontakt Mobile, Lomo Mobile, Simple Call Mobile, Smart Pinoy and Talk Home Mobile. We now offer a total of 45 different tariffs to compare!

Other tweaks we’ve made include restyling the same to make room for a frequently-requested Voicemail column. Also, after working to make sure we’re the most up-to-date site on the web for UK mobile phone coverage maps and 4G signal figures, we updated all the coverage columns on the comparison table to the latest figures.

As a result, it’s the only network comparison chart that really includes everything. And to make life easier, we designed it so that you can sort any column in ascending or descending order so you can instantly see which networks have the best prices. This helps you save money in the simplest way possible.

To top it all off, we’re offering a colour-coded PDF of our table as a completely free download. This makes it really easy to see at-a-glance which networks offer the best value and it’s perfect for printing out to refer to.

As ever, we welcome your thoughts and comments. And if you notice anything that’s out of date or any inaccuracies please let us know. Thanks!