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04 December 2014 ~ 1 Comment

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

03 December 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Giffgaff outage – December 2014

Giffgaff is down! We’re getting reports that Giffgaff is suffering a partial network outage. It’s not yet clear whether O2 and Tesco Mobile are also affected. We’ll update from across various sources as the situation progresses.

2G and 3G calls – grn_pix.jpg Available
2G and 3G texts – grn_pix.jpg Available
2G and 3G data – grn_pix.jpg Available
Emergency calls – grn_pix.jpg Available

Update 18:02

giffgaff down dec 2014

Okay, it’s been a while now with nothing new to report so we’re going to close down the liveblog. Thanks for following and to all those who contacted us with updates :)

Update 17:15

Update 17:11

Giffgaff community website seems a bit sluggish at the mo…

Official Update 17:07

Update 17:06

Update 17:02

The outage has also been reported elsewhere now.

Update 17:00

It’s 5pm now so this has been going on for about two hours. Thankfully we’re hearing more and more people getting their mobile data back again but it’s still not fixed for everyone. But – without trying to jinx it – the worst might be over now.

Official Update 16:58

Giffgaff have changed the status icons to show that everything is Available again now.

Official Update 16:56

Hi all, thanks for being so patient with us on this while we work through a fix. Quite a few of you are now posting that you can access your data once more, and we’re pleased to confirm that this service is now back up and running. The main website should also allow you to view your balances and goodybag allowances as usual. If not, try a simple refresh – sometimes, the wrong page gets cached in your browser and a refresh updates it.

As part of our troubleshooting steps, we blocked access to giffgaff.com from mobile devices, and we’re going to be lifting that restriction soon. In addition, some of you may find that transactions that you were doing during the issue take a while to process – for example, activations or topups – we’ll be working through these as soon as we can. If you’re planning on topping up or activating a SIM, I’d recommend holding off for a short while until we clear that backlog.

Update 16:52

3G appears to be up in most places but not 4G yet.

Official Update 16:41

We’re still working on bringing things back up. I know quite a few members have reported their data is working once more but we’re not yet in a position to confirm it completely. I’m checking in with the folks.

Official Update 16:34

Hi everyone

Thanks so much for your patience, we understand how frustrating it can be not being able to get signal/data when you need it. Thanks to everyone reporting locations to us, it’s really helpful for us to know which areas have been affected by this so the right departments can look into this issue further.

We’ll be updating this as soon as we make any progress in getting this resolved so stay tuned.

Thanks again for your patience in this and we apologise for the inconvenience caused by this.

Update 16:32

We’re getting reports that data is now back up in some areas. Downtime was approximately two hours.

Update 16:25

We’re hearing that not all phones are down. It might depend upon what goodybag you’re using. So far, it only seems to be affecting data.

Official Update 16:17

Hi all, sorry for the blip in the community site, we had to restart it to make sure everyone could access it without it slowing down.

We’re still investigating the cause of these issues – you may be able to see that out main page is now available in a limited capacity. Once we make further progress I’ll make sure to keep you informed.

Update 16:10

Data still down here and nothing new to report from Giffgaff themselves.

Official Update 15:48

Hi all, a quick update for you on this. We have a couple of early ideas of what could be the cause for this based on the behaviour of giffgaff as a whole and we’re in touch with the people that provide various different services to make sure we can narrow it down. Once we’re certain of the cause of the issue we’ll move ahead with steps to address it and I’ll make sure you’re all aware.

I want to apologise for any issues you’re facing – I promise that we’ll get it sorted as soon as we’re able.

Official Update 15:17

Hi all – we’ve seen some intermittent issues with the main giffgaff website being unavailable and so to make sure we can get it sorted we’ve taken the site to our outage server. This means that you won’t be able to access My giffgaff or the main site until we get it sorted and bring it back up.

We’re also investigating reports of network issues for some members, although others are reporting no issues. Once we know more we’ll make sure that we loop you in on that as well.

Keep an eye on this thread for updates as soon as we make progress.

Update 15:24

Yup: definitely an outage. Officially acknowledged now:

Update 15:21

Seems that the website has been down for some time too.

Update 15:20

Giffgaff seems to be down. Keep checking back here for the latest updates.

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26 November 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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nokialumia520

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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LG G2

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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