Business Technology

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Ask Adrian: Our technology editor tackles your trickiest tech problems

 

Charge: it is a basic law of electronics that batteries lose their capacity
Charge: it is a basic law of electronics that batteries lose their capacity
Impressive: Nokia’s 2720 is easy to use and offers a gentle basic entry into some of the most popular online apps, too
iPhone 11
Panasonic Lumix G90
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Question: I need to upgrade my phone. I have had an iPhone 6S for a few years and the battery is now very bad. Should I stay with an iPhone and is the new one worth getting?

Answer

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If you had said you have an iPhone 7 or newer with bad battery life, I might recommend simply getting the battery switched. You can do this for around €80 and you will definitely notice a difference.

In general, a phone's battery lasts around a year before you start seeing something of a decline in its ability to hold a charge. Don't worry, there's no conspiracy or built-in obsolescence - it's a basic law of electronics that virtually every battery loses a fraction of its capacity every time it's charged. This is as true for a phone battery as it is for a laptop battery, a car battery or a camera battery.

Having said that, the iPhone 6S is quite an old phone with relatively low storage, a basic camera and is generally a lot slower than newer models. In reality, you may not have it that much longer before something else gives out.

Your timing is good, though. Apple has just announced its iPhone 11. And while that has some powerful new features (particularly the cameras), it has one big positive effect for those who don't need that absolute cutting edge - it has knocked over €100 off the price of Apple's existing iPhones, all of which are still excellent.

The Phone 8 starts at €549, while the 8 Plus starts at €669. Bear in mind that these were close to €1,000 two years ago: they're very powerful smartphones.

Even better, the iPhone Xr - which has a gorgeous 6.1-inch screen and the 'notch' for Face ID - starts at €729, down from €879.

If you're comfortable with the fingerprint button, go for the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus (which has better battery, a bigger screen and more cameras than the smaller '8' model). If you don't mind going button-free and can afford the extra €100, go for the Xr model.

If budget isn't that big of an issue, the new iPhone 11 (6.1-inch screen) starts at €829 while the iPhone 11 Pro (5.8-inch screen) starts at €1,179 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5-inch screen) starts at €1,279.

Obviously, all of these prices are for buying the phone outright. If you're buying it through a mobile operator, you'll pay a lot less upfront but you'll be tied into a two-year contract varying from €40 to €65 per month.

However, the new iPhones do not come with 5G compatibility for faster data access. Apple is reportedly set to wait until next year to launch a 5G model.

If you decide (for budgetary reasons, for example) that there's still life enough in your iPhone 6 to last another year and you're willing to pay for a new battery instead, there are a few shops that will do this for you. Compu B and Harvey Norman will both do it, for example, as they're both registered as official Apple repair centres. In some cases they can do it while you wait, but if they're busy, they'll tell you it might take a couple of days. Generally, you're encouraged to book an appointment in advance though their websites.

Other mobile phone shops will do it for you, but you should know that Apple takes a harsh view of non-approved dealers opening up their phones, to the point where they'll cancel any outstanding warranty if there's a follow-on problem. (In your case with an old iPhone 6, this may not be a concern.)

Question

I know you review lots of smartphones but my mother has been asking for an older model, like we used to get with Nokia. Is there any one you'd recommend?

Answer

There have been a handful down through the years for those who really just want a button phone for calls and maybe a text or two. In general, these have been dominated by specialist brands such as Doro, which deliberately markets its phones to older people who want handsets with large buttons and relatively few internet bells and whistles.

Believe it or not, Samsung has also consistently done a low-tech 'feature phone' with a physical keyboard and small screen - usually costing no more than around €40.

Having said that, the most impressive model I've seen in recent months is Nokia's new 2720 (€89). It's a flip phone with a physical number keypad on one end and a 2.8-inch colour screen on the other. To answer a call you flip it open. To finish a call, flip it shut.

But it also offers a very gentle basic entry into a handful of the most popular online apps, too. So it supports WhatsApp, Facebook, Google and one or two others. The idea here is that if friends or family use something like WhatsApp all the time and want to plug you in, you can be, while still essentially using an old-fashioned phone. It's well worth looking at.

 

Recommended: Nokia's new 2720 (€89)

Email your questions to ­ caomahony@independent.ie

 

Tech Two

Apple iPhone 11

From €829 from retailers

2019-09-21_bus_53402134_I1.JPG
iPhone 11
 

For anyone who wants a 'good' camera with the latest features but not the dead weight, Panasonic's new G90 is excellent. It has top-end video capability and great control for still photos. It's perfect as both a travel camera and one for 'vloggers' (because of its mic and earphone ports, stabilisation and flip-out screen).

Panasonic Lumix G90

€1,049 from retailers

2019-09-21_bus_53402174_I2.JPG
Panasonic Lumix G90
 

The newest iPhone comes in three grades: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Most will opt for the 'basic' iPhone 11 because of its price and screen size. As a replacement for last year's iPhone Xr (still on sale, €150 cheaper now), it has an extra telephoto camera on the back, more power, tougher glass and better battery life.

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