Wednesday, 22 April 2015


Above: An iPhone user upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and VR Gear.

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! It’s great to see you as always! Yes, indeed! I hope the weather has been treating you well as it has me here in bonnie London, UK!

Yes, it’s that upgrade time of the year... Okay, okay... It’s upgrade season all year round! Anyhoo, if it just so happens that you are due for an upgrade and unsure about where to go next then this is article is for you! Read on!

#Upgrade #Upgrading #Samsung #GalaxyS6Edge #GalaxyS6 #MotoG4G #Nexus6 #HuaweiAscendG7

Upgrading can be very, very stressful as you want to make the best possible choice for your money. Your friends will tell you this with the greatest of enthusiasm but what is good for your friends may not be necessarily good for your purposes – we’ll come to your purposes in due course... Here’s a set of Synapse Circuit Golden Rules upon upgrading...

1. Always look for the best deals with a network / carrier. The best way to ascertain whether or not you are getting a good deal is to look at the same make and model of any handset that you are interested in and see what all the networks are charging on a 24 month contract basis. Look at the inexpensive handsets on offer right up to the most costly; doing this should make you familiar with the differential factors that affect the price:-

The 64-bit Octocore processor is the highest standard on Android and iPhones these days followed by Quadcore and then dualcore and they are priced accordingly. Not all 64-bit smartphones are the same, so if you see one that costs £199 it may not be as powerful and as fast as one costing £750.

Then there is the camera; if the picture and video quality is of great importance to you then you can expect to pay for it. These days it’s the Android handsets that contain cameras with the largest megapixels (MP); from 13MP to 20MP. At the moment the iPhone has kept the camera at 8MP.

RAM is a very important factor. These days the premium Android handsets have a minimum of 2GB to 4GB of RAM. RAM helps to make interacting with the interface effortless thus avoiding slowdowns and stuttering = “lag”. RAM will also allow you to multitask between several different applications opened at once on your phone i.e. with enough RAM you should be able to go from one memory intensive app to another and another and another without the phone slowing down or stuttering the applications. Again, not all phones are made equally – not even at the top of the range!

Internal Storage is very important for not only the operating system i.e. Android, iOS (iPhone & iPad) and Windows it also stores your downloaded apps from respective app stores, photos, videos, sounds and downloads (pictures, video, PDF, sound and document file from other sources like Facebook, web pages and so on). These days the trend for the high premium end of Android phones is to start with 32GB of internal storage. Many manufacturers still have a 16GB minimum standard. The iPhone and some Android manufacturers have the following options for internal storage: 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB of internal storage. Naturally, the larger the internal storage capacity the higher the cost! Lately Samsung has jettisoned the 16GB standard for 32GB on its flagship premium handsets.

I think that the iPhone is ridiculous for the asking price to have 16GB as standard.

External Storage can be an important factor if you take a lot of pictures and videos. Then there’s storing files that you have downloaded from the Net! External storage options come in the form of a microSD card. Some manufacturers do not provide the option for a microSD card such as Apple and the iPhone and those that do tend to specify a capacity i.e. some allow up to 32, 64 and 128 GB. Usually the more expensive the handset allows for the highest microSD card capacity. Not having access to an external storage microSD card may be a deal breaker for you. But 32GB isn’t bad, plus there is a solution that is known as USB-On-The-Go which is basically a USB stick with a micro USB connector. Most Android phones will make use of USB-On-The-Go.

Screen Sizes & Resolution can also affect the cost of a handset. These days the typical screen for a handset starts out at 4.7 up to a little over 6 inches. 6 inch phones are known as phablets (phone meets tablet). Android phablets does not necessarily mean that you can negate an Android tablet as there are tablet specific applications that you will not get on the 6” handset.

Most Android phones can have a High Definition (HD) resolution from 720 x 1280 to full HD 1080p and Quad HD which is 1440 x 2560 also known as 2K. Another important factor of the screen is the pixel per inch = ppi. Currently, the highest ppi rating on a phone 577 on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge! The higher the pixels per inch the less you’ll be able to make out the little dots (pixels) that make up what you see on a screen. Let’s get it straight right now; the iPhone retina screen is dead!

It’s not as complicated as it may first appear but get to know the individual components of a smartphone to understand what it is you are paying for. Don’t think that that an inexpensive handset is going to be the equivalent of the top of the range if that’s what you are looking for. Otherwise budget handset can be a good thing!

You will find all the important attributes of a smartphone within the “specifications” section if you are looking online.

2. Don’t feel that you have to be loyal to a network you’ve stayed with for ex-amount of years! Get the best deal. If you want to change your network / carrier then don’t let the person at the other end of the phone change your mind. Again, look at the amount of data (Internet usage), calls and texts you are paying for and compare with other networks / carriers and the kind of phone you could have (rule number 1).

3. Make sure that when you cancel a contract you do it over the phone! Do not go into a store and cancel because the sales assistants will seldom tell you that you must cancel with Customer Services over the phone. And be sure to stop the direct debit on the same day that you cancel because the chances are the network you are with will take it regardless! I had that problem with Virgin Mobile. Never again will I take out any form of contact with Virgin Mobile.

4. It’s always a good idea to pop into a store to check out the latest handsets but do not feel under any pressure whatsoever when a sales assistant tries to use sales selling techniques on you. Just laugh at them! Most of the time these sales people are confidence tricksters; the trick, if you don’t know, is for the sales assistants to get the customer to keep saying “yes”. No! Do not fall for it. See what happened when I went with a friendto check out the possibility of a new handset (and to get a free power bar)with the network EE. Remember: There is a reason why the sales assistant is called precisely that and not Customer Assistant. All these tricksters want to do is guide your money into the cash register. It’s sad but true!

5. If you are going to pay more than £40 each month for a top notch phone then you better had get an unlimited something i.e. data (Internet usage), voice and / or texts.

6. Haggle! It’s worth trying to see what a network will offer to keep your custom or to have it. “What are you going to offer me to stay?” “I am thinking of leaving my current network because I am paying too much for such a small Internet data allowance... What can you offer me as a new customer?” If you decide to go with Three or Tesco mobile mention my name, Blue Gene / Synapse Circuit, and see if you can get a discount. “My friend, Blue Gene, says that you could do me a good deal as he has contracts with you...” I can’t guarantee anything but it is worth a try! Three and Tesco can be quite good by the way of offering an incentive. I have found that EE, Virgin and O2 aren’t flexible at all.

Because the standard of Android handsets are increasingly high it means that what was once considered high-end is now available at a mid-range price. Such handsets are affordable and that means you can take out a SIM only contract that should give you more for your money!

Above: The Motorola super-budget smartphone, Moto G

I would advice to stick to known brands like Motorola and Samsung. I will give you a wholehearted recommendation to purchase outright and that is the Motorola Moto G 4G model. It features a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, a 5” 720 x 1280 HD screen resolution with a 294 ppi rating, 8MP main camera that can record HD video up to 1280 x 720p, 8GB of internal storage, up to 32GB of microSD storage and the latest Android operating system which is version 5, codenamed Lollipop. Sure, the internal storage isn’t that great at 8GB but that is quite enough for most of – if not all – social networking apps like Facebook, G+, Instagram and so on plus a good amount of those free video / voice calling apps like WhatApp, LINE, Viber, Tango, etc. Besides, how many of those calling apps do you need? I have the 3G version and I can tell you that I’ve got a load of apps on it with 1.96GB to spare!

If you are able to purchase a handset outright for around £150 - £200 it will save you a bit of cash with a SIM only deal. Look for a good deal that offers unlimited Internet data as you can feel free to use those free video, voice, text and multimedia messaging apps without worrying that you have gone past your limit thus incurring extra charges!

Above: The brilliant Huawei (wha way) Ascend G7

The second handset that I will recommend checking out is the Huawei Ascend G7 for £199.95 you get a 5.5” 720 x 1280 pixels with a 267 ppi pixel density rating, quad-core 1.2 GHz, 16GB internal memory, 2GB RAM, 4G, and a potentially good 13MP camera that can record full HD video at 1920 x 1080p!

If I can find some other good bargains I will let you know! I try to review as many different handsets as I can!

TIP: Synapse Circuit Readers UK, watch out for a good deal with TalkTalk. I spoke with a representative on the street who stated that there is a possibility of an unlimited everything SIM only deal for £20! Hopefully this possibility turns out to be a reality!

If you are not the type of person that feels the need to get the very latest model then I would recommend that Samsung Galaxy S5 as it comes with a great 16MP camera and the LG G3 which has a 13MP!

Above: The Galaxy S5 launch. The Galaxy S5 is a great handset and very underrated. If someone gave me a free iPhone 6 or 6 Plus I would trade it in for the Galaxy S5. You know I would!

On the Three network you can get the Samsung Galaxy S5 with unlimited Internet data, texts and 600 voice minutes for £37 with an upfront cost of £9!

Sticking with Three you can get everything unlimited for £40 and no upfront cost!

Above: The stunning LG G3

Again, with Three the LG G3 is everything unlimited (Internet, calls and texts) for a brilliant £36! No upfront cost!

Above: The gorgeous Google / Motorola Nexus 6

You can’t really go wrong with those two handset mentioned above. I could also recommend the wonderful Google / Motorola Nexus 6 at £35 per month with Tesco mobile but you get 2GB of Internet data, 3000 minutes of talk time and 5000 texts. Try and haggle for 3GB of data for £35!

I would advise anyone thinking of upgrading from an older iPhone model to the latest iPhone 6 & 6 Plus to forget it as owners of these models are getting rid of them in computer exchange shops around London! Why? In a nutshell Apple have taken the equivalent of the Robin Reliant, stuffed a V12 (a 64-bit processor) engine in it and given it a new shell. You would be paying good, good hard earned money for what I consider to be a “hacked” job. Apple is not a company of engineers nor is it a manufacturer. The iPhone is comprised of Frankenstein bits from other manufacturers such as Samsung! Apparently, Samsung is going to help Apple develop a decent screen for future iPhones. 200 Samsung employees are said to be tasked with the job of developing a new iPhone screen!

The iOS operating system seems half baked as it is unable to make proper use of full 1080p HD let alone Quad HD at 2560p! As for the apps? The Google Play Store have caught up with quality apps for the Android operating system for both handsets and tablets. The iPhone is out of date in its current state.

Above: More and more iPhone 6 & 6 Plus handsets are being traded in for better Android handsets.

Here’s proof that people are trading in the latest iPhone models (presumably for the latest Android handsets). iPhone6 / 6 Plus gets CEX’D up!

At the moment I can only recommend the following:-

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and the standard Galaxy S6 – the cameras should be the same! I have been taking the time to review it of late and I am enjoying it thus so far. I was hoping to bring you the last instalment of the review but I had such a busy day that I will deliver it to you later on today, 23rd April 2015. Thank you for your patience.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4; I reviewed it last year and it packs an almighty punch! Here’s the review: Synapse Circuit Galaxy Note 4 Review

I hope to bring you more reviews soon! I would like to get a hold of the LG G4, HTC One M9 and the Sony Z4 to name a few! Standby!

You should be able to look at what all the networks / carriers are offering to decide what’s the best option for you! I have gone with Three and Tesco Mobile as they had the best deals on the handsets that I were interested into at the time. Also I test many phones – not as many as I would like – so I have a bunch of SIM only contracts should I get the latest handsets to review!

I found Virgin Mobile to be conniving and troublesome. EE prices are way too much for what they are offering. O2 may be in the process of being bought out by Three and I can’t say that I like what it has to offer. And TalkTalk could be offering some good prices on SIM only contracts – especially if you have a broadband service with them!

I hope that you have found this article useful! If you have any questions you should know you can reach me through G+. And some of you know my Facebook profile. Look forward to chatting with you!

Thank you so much for reading Synapse Circuit!

Expect more reviews, news, opinions, competitions and more from Synapse Circuit

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