04 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Tons of mobile coverage updates

4g mobile

With the UK’s 4G rollout now in full swing, we’ve been kept busy making massive updates to our coverage comparison table. We have also been updating all the individual coverage pages for each network with the latest figures to ensure that everything is completely up-to-date.

The main networks have been increasing their 3G coverage over the last few years in order to meet Ofcom’s requirements. Sadly, other mobile network coverage websites haven’t been keeping up with these changes but we believe we’ve currently got the most accurate data listed in our tables.

We’ve also made substantial updates to our dedicated 4G coverage page as more and more towns, cities and airports have their 4G signals turned on. On this page of our site, you can see all the coverage figures in one place and also check which virtual networks have activated their 4G services. We’re also maintaining a list of the frequencies each network is using for their 4G connectivity.

Finally, we’ve gone to a lot of effort to add details for more networks to our coverage section. We now have individual coverage pages and UK mobile signal coverage maps for – count ’em! – 43 UK mobile networks! We believe this is the most comprehensive list of coverage figures anywhere on the web. The new networks we’ve added include Donate Mobile, Allpay Mobile, Banana Mobile, C Mobile, The Co-operative Mobile, Freedomtalk Mobile, RSPCA Mobile, Talkxtra Mobile, Wildlife Mobile, Econet, Kontakt Mobile, Lomo Mobile, Simple Call Mobile, Smart Pinoy and Talk Home Mobile.

As ever, please let us know what you think and if you have any ideas for improvements. And definitely drop us a comment if you notice anything that’s out of date or any inaccuracies or discrepancies and we’ll sort it out to make sure we stay the most detailed and up-to-date resource online for UK mobile coverage.

Continue Reading

Tags: , , ,

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

Continue Reading

10 July 2013 ~ 27 Comments

Is this the UK’s cheapest PAYG tariff?

321 tariff

Three Mobile have massively shaken up the UK market with a rather-appealing new pay-as-you-go tariff called 321. The new pricing is the height of simplicity and dirt cheap to boot with calls costing just 3p per minute, texts coming in at only 2p each and mobile data being exceptionally good value with a charge of only 1p/MB.

Compared to the competition, this is clearly far and away the best deal going as long as you are relatively light mobile phone user. While it is possible to get better value from bundles offered by some other mobile networks, the new pricing is hard to beat. To sweeten the deal even more, Three are offering hundred and 150MB mobile web browsing allowance for free every time you top up by £10 or more.

Previously, networks such as White Mobile were offering the cheapest rates available with calls being just 6p a minute and SMS text messages coming in at 5p each. However, they were rather unknown and untested option and only a brave user with transfer their main mobile number to them. However, now Three Mobile – which is a major high-street brand and one of the biggest mobile networks in the UK – is offering rates that totally crush those offered by White Mobile and their other competitors.

In fact, the treaty one tariff is at least half the price of that previously offered by White Mobile and pretty much an order of magnitude cheaper than the other major mobile networks such as Orange, Vodafone, O2, and T-Mobile. It’s hard to think of a good reason why you’d pay 30p for calls on T-Mobile will you get the same thing to any number at any time on Three for just 3p. Likewise, why would you pay 12p for sending a text on O2 when Three are offering you a price of just 2p? The data charges where things get really silly: budget operators such as ASDA Mobile will charge you 50p/MB for mobile data whereas Three’s new tariff is a almost-unbelievable 50x cheaper!

We really welcome the fantastic value offered by this new pricing structure. Hopefully it will really shake up the UK mobile market and encourage competition. The price cuts that they have introduced are pretty astounding and will only mean better value for consumers no matter what network they are on.

This move will only serve to cement Three’s place as one of the fastest-growing networks in the country. While other mobile operators in the UK are struggling to retain their existing users, Three gained over 1 million new customers in 2012. They also the biggest 3G network in the UK right now and have superb high-speed coverage and great data rates.

Is it too good to be true? Well the tariff has been live for a few days now and in our tests has been working fine at the rate advertised. The only catch, if there is any, is that tethering is not allowed on Three’s PAYG plans including this 321 tariff. This means you can only use your PAYG SIM in mobile phone devices and not dongles or tablets such as the iPad. You will also find your account is blocked if you share your phone’s Internet connection by tethering it to a computer or tablet.

So how do I switch?

Switching your phone to Three Mobile in order to take advantage of this great offer is really simple. You don’t even need to change your phone number.

First of all, just make sure that your handset is unlocked so you can use it on Three and that it supports the 3G network that Three uses. Pretty much any modern handset will be fine, but if your phone is particularly old it’s worth checking that it works on 3G as Three does not support 2G any more. If your handset is not unlocked, there are several guides online that make it quite simple or you can always take it to a shop and pay about £5 for them to do it for you.

If you are an existing Three Mobile PAYG customer, switching to the 321 tariff is as simple as calling customer services on 333 from your mobile phone. If not, you can just go to Three’s website and order a free SIM card which they’ll post to you in a couple of days.

Keeping your phone number is really easy as long as you get your PAC code from your existing mobile operator. We’ve got a full guide to switching mobile network and porting your mobile number to a new mobile network already published on the site.

And that’s all there is to it. Runs some quick calculations to see whether you’ll save lots of money by changing to this tariff and if so, get started switching over!

Will you save money if you start using Three’s 321 tariff? Or is your current network offering a better deal? Do you know of any network with better PAYG prices? And, if you think you can save money, are you switching over today?

Continue Reading