How to get the most out of your mobile phone

James Walker of Resolver on how to get the most out of the money you spend on your mobile phone.

James Walker of Resolver on how to get the most out of the money you spend on your mobile phone.


James Walker of Resolver on how to get the most out of the money you spend on your mobile phone.

James Walker, from Resolver. Picture: SuppliedJames Walker, from Resolver. Picture: Supplied

How long would you expect a sofa to last for? Ten years? Twenty with care? How about a new car or caravan?

When we buy goods, we have certain expectations about how long we expect them to last – even though we may intend to replace them before their time is up.

With bigger goods, we tend to expect things to be more substantial and therefore last longer. But weirdly, we seem to have lower expectations of smaller items. Maybe it’s because they’re portable, 
or easy to lose or damage.

Chief amongst those items are mobile phones.

Mobile phones are losing their edge when it comes to innovations. With top spec cameras, apps, screens and other developments running dry and handsets hitting the £1,000 mark just on name and desirability alone, people are questioning if a phone that packs in after two years is really value for money.

All of which begs the question, if a high spec mobile phone lasts around three years before problems kick in, then is it worth it? Many people are ‘downgrading’ to older model phones or even retro handsets like Nokia’s beloved 3310.

But what steps can you take to avoid the mobile phone meltdowns? Here are my tips:

Replacing bits

The simplest way to keep your phone going is to replace bits that aren’t working any more or are damaged. However, this can be seriously expensive and complicated. Before splashing out on a new phone, check online to see how much it will be to replace a broken screen or a damaged battery. Bear in mind that with some businesses, if you don’t use an authorised repairer then you void the warranty. So saving some cash on that plastic screen replacement from the stall on the market could cost you big time if something else packs in and you have to go to the phone provider.

Follow the battery life tips – but bear in mind they’ve changed in recent years

There are tons of tips on extending your phone’s battery life online. But understanding how the phone works (a little) can help you get the most out of the battery. Most phones will start to lose battery power after a while, generally 400 full charges (cycles, to use the industry term) drops you 20%. Very roughly, that gives you about five years of charging every day. But in reality, this varies loads. Doing simple things like avoiding extremes of hot or cold for your phone, topping up a phone battery charge while it’s at the 40-50% mark rather than running the battery down and checking your settings to see what apps are eating up your battery will help.

Know your warranty

Most phones are sold with a warranty – a guarantee for your phone covering basic fixes and repairs. Now regular readers will know that warranties are usually pretty rubbish and give firms loads of options to get out of repairs. Get to know your warranty and see what it covers you for. Don’t forget to put in your diary when it runs out too. Warranties are misleading names for these agreements as they aren’t insurance contracts. Insurance contracts are regulated whereas the agreements that come with your phone are not. But the phone provider still has to follow laws that back you up, like the Consumer Rights Act, that govern items that aren’t working as they should. If in doubt, fight back and make a complaint.

Get a good insurance policy

If the guarantee or warranty that comes with the phone isn’t great, get an affordable mobile phone or multi-gadget insurance policy. Never buy from the retailer, they’re usually overpriced and poor value. Check online and find a good policy for less than a tenner a month that will cover you for all eventualities.

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