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28 July 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

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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.

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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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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18 July 2014 ~ 9 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!

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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?