Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ask Adrian: Our tech editor tackles your trickiest technology problems

 

IPhone 7 Plus
IPhone 7 Plus
Minirig Bluetooth speaker
Russell Hobbs Impact Iron
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

QI know there's a lot of hype over the new iPhone. But is it really worth getting it over the current model? Will it come down in price if I wait a bit?

A In the tech world (and maybe the entire consumer world), nothing matches the hype of a new iPhone. You'd swear it was a matter of life and death, the way it's reported.

That said, the iPhone - and similar smartphones from Android manufacturers - have changed our lives. So it is interesting to see whether any new functions look promising.

There are a couple of reasons to consider getting one of the new iPhones (there are three of them).

The first is screen size. On its new top model, Apple has increased the size of the display without making the actual phone bigger. It has done this by getting rid of the 'bezels' (the bits between the edge of the screen and the side of the phone). In other words, the screen now stretches entirely from one end of the phone to the other. As you can imagine, this gives you a bigger display. And a bigger display means that it's better for watching and reading things on. If this doesn't sound like you, or if you still only use your smartphone for messaging and some light social media, then it won't make much of a difference. But most people, without knowing it, are starting to use their phones to watch more and more video. This can vary from a few minutes scrolling through Facebook autoplay videos shared by friends to full-on Netflix, Sky Go or RTÉ Player episodes. Adding an extra 20pc to the screen without making the phone into a brick sure helps with this video-watching.

The same is true for reading, especially for those whose eyesight isn't what it once was. With a bigger screen, you can increase the size of the font and still have full pages with the same amount of text.

There a few other reasons to consider the new iPhone. The cameras have been improved again, this time making them better in low light and for people with shaky hands. We know from all industry statistics that phones are replacing cameras for ordinary people, particularly parents with young kids. So a better camera makes a difference.

A long-term reason to have a new or relatively new iPhone is that Apple has a habit of cutting off services for phones that are three or four years old. New services it introduces, some of which become very popular, are habitually not accessible on older models. This is obviously deliberate. Nevertheless, it's a consideration.

That said, Apple (together with mobile operators) now continues to sell last-generation models for a year after a new model is introduced. That means that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which have been the top models for the last 12 months, are now available for around €100 less than they were last week. Speaking from experience, I can say that both of these devices are excellent. They will remain high-end phones for at least another two years. Furthermore, there are hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland who have one of these devices, meaning that there's widespread support for them, as well as countless accessories.

As for discounts on the new iPhone over the coming months (January, for example), forget it. Apple never discounts its iPhones and I don't think I've ever seen a retailer offer a discount on one in the way it might for other products from time to time.

In short, the new iPhone has the latest and greatest technology under the hood. But the iPhone 7 that it is replacing is still a top-end phone with years of life in it.

RECOMMENDATION: iPhone 7 Plus, inset, €799 or from free on operator contract

Email your questions to caomahony@independent.ie

Two to Try

Minirig  (€150 from Amazon.co.uk)

Where do you start with Bluetooth wireless speakers? One that stands out is the Minirig. For such a small speaker, its sound is magnificent. Fifteen watts of power gives this hand-made, brushed aluminium tubular speaker real oomph, especially when you place it in a corner or near a panel. It also has a couple of ports that allow you to physically tether a second Minirig or cable in a phone. The only downside is that it's not charged up with MicroUSB, using its own charging connection. But once charged, it lasts for ages.

Russell Hobbs Impact Iron (€59 from Argos)

Any old iron? Nope. This column prides itself on appealing to the modern man. Being one myself, I sometimes knock the iron off the board. Russell Hobbs' new version claims to withstand a 1.2m (4 feet) drop without any adverse consequences to the iron. It can do this because of its rubberised coating. A bonus is its three-way auto shut-off feature, which means you're not constantly worrying whether you (or someone else in the house) left the iron on that morning.

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