Our technology editor Adrian Weckler tackles your trickiest tech problems
I have a HTC Desire 310 smartphone which is about seven years old and has served me well. Recently it has got slow and the screen freezes sometimes. I want to buy a new sim-free Android phone and am looking for one that is under five inches long.
All the retailers that I have checked have a range of phones that are 5.7in and upwards in size. I use the phone for checking news, emails and WhatsApp mainly. Would you know if it is possible to purchase a phone of this size anywhere or am I chasing a lost cause?
— Eamonn Heslin
You’re not wrong about screen sizes. There are very few smartphones out there with a display under five inches in size. This is purely down to demand — people can see and read things far more easily on larger screens, while battery life has now caught up to make them last at least a full day.
You obviously have your reasons for wanting (what is now) a miniature smartphone. Unfortunately, for your Android preference, the only really decent phone under five inches is Apple’s iPhone SE (4.7in display).
You could go for Alcatel’s ‘1’ Android model, which has a five-inch display. An Post Mobile also sells a five-inch Android handset called the Emporio S4. But I can’t, in all honesty, recommend either of those phones. They’re just too basic for what I suspect you’re looking for — a long-term replacement handset.
So assuming you won’t consider the (excellent) iPhone SE and are trying to keep your new Android as close to five inches as possible, I’d steer you towards Google’s Pixel 4a (€390 directly from store.google.com).
It has just about the smallest screen you can get on a decent Android smartphone — 5.8in. Let me say a word about this, though. If you actually place this Pixel 4a back to back with your old HTC Desire 310 model, you won’t see much of an actual size difference. In fact, they’re exactly the same width, while the Google phone is only 12mm taller than the HTC, despite having a much bigger screen. The reason for this is that the technology has advanced to the point where new smartphones have almost no ‘bezels’ (the bits between the edge of the screen and the actual side of the phone) anymore. So the same size ‘phone’ in your hand now has a much larger screen simply because more of the front side is the actual display.
Can you give me advice on getting a TV? I need one with a width of less than 110cm but I have no idea of key specifications or brands to look for.
– Paul P
When you say ‘width’, I’m presuming you mean from one side to the other, rather than how the TV manufacturers measure it (from one corner of the screen to the opposite one).
In this case, you’ll be looking for a set with a screen of between 40 and 43in in diameter. A 43in telly will generally measure between 95cm and 100cm from side to side. If 110cm is the actual size of your space (say in a bookshelf unit), you really will need a few extra centimetres each side to get in behind it for cables and the like.
As for brands and models, you won’t go wrong with a basic Samsung 43in TV, like its TU7100 model (€399 from Harvey Norman or DID Electrical).
Recommendation: Samsung 43UETU7100 (€399 from Harvey Norman or DID Electrical)
I bought an Apple Mac Mini around 2005. It was mostly used for email and for uploading photos. It started to cause problems and then it wouldn’t start up. All my techie friends tried to get it going but to no avail. I held on to it in the hopes that someone would be able to retrieve the photos. Do you think that this is possible or should I just let it go?
— Carmel Tuffy
While it’s possible that your hard drive has corrupted or failed, the more likely explanation is that it is a different kind of problem that stops the machine from switching on. In this case, you should be able to get whatever photos and other files are on the device’s hard drive. But unless you really know what you’re doing and you have the right equipment, you’re almost certainly better off getting it done by a professional. This will likely cost you between €80 and €150, depending on where you go and whether you need them to give you an external hard drive to switch your photos on to.
If you’re in Dublin, the Laptop Lab offers a pretty decent service for this — I had something similar done to an ancient Apple ‘Time Capsule’, which was a storage drive and internet router built into one. They managed to get the stuff off the drive, although they had to hack it (with my permission) to do so.
Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Logitech MX Anywhere 3 for Mac
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