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Dinosaur needs some advice on hoining the 21st century!

(23 Posts)
GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 09:39:10

My ancient mobile phone (no internet access, PAYG, basic camera, basic text) is dying. The case is cracked and the battery needs to be charged every day. I need to say goodbye soon.

What I would like is internet access when I'm out and about and when I'm staying away from home. I could take my large wi-fi laptop on holiday but there must be better solutions?

It seems my choices are Smart phone? Tablet? IPad or similar pad? Notebook?

Can you please tell me the pros and cons of each and how I would actually get internet - i.e. would I need a contract or a dongle or something?

Thank you

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 09:39:34

Arggh - title should say 'joining'

CurlsLDN Mon 03-Mar-14 09:46:04

Hello! I am fully wizzed up with my iPhone, and have had iPhones for a number of years. However I am about to go on maternity leave and wanted to switch to a cheaper phone.
I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that seemingly almost all phones have Internet now! So you don't need to pay a fortune or have something complex.
You pay for the Internet as part of your regular monthly contract, you don't need to pay/have anything extra for it. It's very easy, you just open it on your phone and either log on to available wifi (free for you to use) or use 3G, which your phone will automatically connect to if no wifi is available. The 3G is all covered in your monthly contract, but may have a limit on it. Once you reach that limit you will only be able to use Internet when wifi is available.
I'd recommend popping into one of the phone shops and having a look at what's available!

lljkk Mon 03-Mar-14 09:55:26

Get 3G so that you can get Internet anywhere that you can get phone reception, although wifi is also always possible & a good idea to keep costs down. Most of the mid price (? £140-£180) touchscreen smartphones would do for you, go for Android to be sure of a stable operating system. Other features have to do with the interface (size of buttons, etc!) so you're best off playing with the products in store (Carphone warehouse, etc.) Samsung S3, maybe? See what's in the Argos catalog, if you want to go very budget.

If you don't quite need Internet "everywhere" but just where Wifi is, you can get the price down to ? £75 for a device without 3G.

Internet on a phone is a bit limited by the small touch keyboard and it would require a contract.

A mifi device is very flexible, basically a wifi device that connects to the mobile phone network for internet. Again this requires a contract, but allows you to connect all your devices, e.g. laptops, tablets and phones without needing a subscription for each.

BT broadband customers have free access to all OpenZone and Fon hotspots, which is OK if you are near one, but on holiday it's a bit hit and miss.

lljkk Mon 03-Mar-14 10:03:32

I can't read anything on DH's iPhone. I know my eyes are bad, but I don't need glasses on all devices (just yet).

MoreBeta Mon 03-Mar-14 10:06:49

I went from the most basic PAYG with no camera and no internet access about 6 months ago.

I now have a Samsung Galaxy S3 smart phone on contract. The main positive has been that I can now text my children as proper pop up keyboard appears. I never sent texts before. I have taken one photo. I make a lot of phone calls on it just to use up the minutes but I could use my landline really. I go on the internet a bit while travelling but have no apps and music and stuff like that. I have had to ask other people how to use it a few times.

I like the calendar/diary on it and I like the contacts list but in truth it is a luxury.

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 10:45:42

Would I have to switch manually between 3G and wifi or would the phone automatically do so when it's in wifi range?

The mifi looks interesting. I think I need to visit a shop and see if the mobile screen will be big enough to see the web sites I want to use clearly enough.

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 10:47:29

Sorry - Curls had already answered by question above blush

lljkk Mon 03-Mar-14 12:59:43

you'll need a different SIM too, for 3G phones; can't keep the one you have but might be able to keep the same number (would have to talk to your network provider about that).

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 13:47:58

OK Keeping my current number is important - thanks.

NetworkGuy Mon 03-Mar-14 18:11:59

I think a lot depends on what you currently spend each month (and whether you want to stick to similar level of outgoings, or would be happy to double, treble, or quadruple your spend).

Yes, if you currently spend £5-£10 a month {and get some bolt-on or Freebee to give you X minutes and Y texts for general use} then it could be significantly more if you choose to go for some top-of the line smartphone, which every network website and salesperson will try to sell you.

First I'd say "Which network are you using" because they may have some deals available, especially if you have been a loyal customer for some years.

Second, I'd ask whether you would be prepared to spend say £150, £300, or £450 right now. That could easily be a "NO!!" at the higher levels, but if you wanted to go for some of the tablet or similar "big screen" options, it is sometimes worth paying a lump sum rather than the "spread over 24 months" costs which many phones and tablets come with (particularly at higher end, but not exclusively).

Third, I'd ask whether you'd be willing to "dip your toe" with a refurbished phone, because sometimes there are bargains to be had, or do you have work colleagues / family / close friends who've looked down their nose at your current phone and would not want a slightly out of date phone, if only because some might still make snide remarks about them having had one of those in 2012 or they replaced theirs in January 2013...

One of the lower cost (but perhaps mid-range in facilities) is the Motorola Moto G at prices from around £100-£150 depending on whether it is the 16 GB or 32 GB model and whether you've found a bargain or are paying top dollar... <- (website) often has bargains listed, and the Moto G has been available at "bargain" prices from time to time, and not always locked to a specific network (so you could choose to switch network later).

> LINK < is a spreadsheet which someone has made available giving details of the most popular networks and deals on SIM Only contracts, so you'd need to get the phone separately...

eg unlocked but new, from major phone shops like Phones4U, Carphone Warehouse, or second hand from CEX, CashGenerator, CashConverters, or that 'dodgy' mobiles store in your local market...

or get a phone from one of the reputable stores / major networks, as a PAYG {which may be much cheaper than an unlocked phone} on the network whose SIM you plan to use, and then after using up your credit, get the 12 month contract deal and just insert the SIM they send you

and then....

NetworkGuy Mon 03-Mar-14 18:19:44

... transfer your existing number using the PAC ( Porting Authorisation Code ) which your current network operator will give you on request to Customer Services.

Worth mentioning that when you ask for this, it normally triggers a check on your account and questions about whether you are sure you want to leave. In the case of a contract user, it's highly likely that someone from the network "Retentions" team will call (with more flexibility to offer deals to entice you to stay).

With PAYG users, there may not be such attractive deals, unless you've been a regular spender with high monthly top-ups, but you never know.

Please don't be taken in by them saying what a great deal they're giving you. My sister asked in January about upgrading her contract to a different SIM and not being that technical, decided in the end to hang up, telling the salesman she wanted advice from her brother.

She was being offered a Nokia Lumia phone (running Windows) when she has been using an Android mobile for around 2 years now (and if she does buy a newer phone with a bigger screen, then she would have far less to learn that's different if she sticks with Android... Added to which, one phone she was offered would have cost perhaps £150-200 more by paying for it over 24 months, than if she went out and bought the phone new as a PAYG and just used carried on without switching contract or committing herself to a further 24 months with the same network.

NetworkGuy Mon 03-Mar-14 18:36:11

By the way, some networks seem to be able to upgrade from a PAYG to a monthly account while others seem incapable of it, so you might need to get that PAC and temporarily use another network {with your current number} and then get another PAC and move back, onto a contract deal SIM with the network you currently use (if you feel that's the best option and are happy with customer services etc).

As for using your laptop wirelessly (with MiFi, for example) then a bit depends on the network. I'm using the Three "One Plan" which currently offers unlimited data and also, unlimited "tethering" (I'm using the mobile to post this message right now, from my iMac). In about a week, the data used via tethering will be capped at 2 GB a month (which is plenty for many purposes).

The One Plan is £20/month but does give 2000 minutes and generous numbers of texts (5000) and "Three to Three" minutes (5000) for calling friends and family if they also use Three. I'd recommend it over some of the MiFi offerings, because it could mean having two contracts in most situations (and PAYG is available, but paying £10 for 1 GB seems excessive).

Looking in the 3 Store this morning, they do have tablets with up to 15 GB a month of data at £25 a month (some lower cost options do exist) but with up-front fees of £130 to £200 depending on which model was chosen it very gets expensive when you take into account the 24 monthly payments on top... compared with purchasing a tablet in a sale.

While I admit the Sony Xperia Z <or similar name> 10" tablet works well and seems great, it's far from cheap (and on PAYG they charge £450 or so, plus a top-up)... so look around on Amazon or for some bargain tablet if you want a better deal (in my view)...

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 19:29:54

Thank for that advice. I had a play with a friend's Apple iphone 4 this afternoon. Very small text so think a tablet of some description witth tethering would be best for me.

I spend about �20 on PAYG a year with TMobile (Ithink they're EE now). I make about a dozen calls a year and probably 40-50 texts a year. I can go weeks without using the phone.
The main benefit of getting a new one is to access the internet, and once I can, that will be the phone's primary purpose, looking at maps, travel site, MN etc, so I'd need a big download facility - say 1GB a month?

The Carphone Warehouse is offering a Samsung Galaxy Flame phone with a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet thrown in for �28 a month on Orange with unlimited calls and texts and 1GB.

If I took that offer would the tablet be tethered to the phone or would I have a seprate contract for the tablet?

If I just went for an iphone like my friend's (with a big magnifying glass) would an iphone 4 be OK because there is now an iphone 5 on the market.

Sorry - really struggling with this.

amicissimma Mon 03-Mar-14 20:45:03

I'm like you in that I hardly use my phone. I got one on contract with the minimal allowances and still hardly used any of what I was allowed.

I spent ages deciding on what phone I wanted (reviews on Techradar, cnet, etc were helpful).

Then I worked out the cheapest way to buy the phone. I used the cost over 24 months as that was the length of the most common, and therefore cheapest, contracts, in comparison to buying the phone upfront and using PAYG for 2 years.

Now my contract has come to an end and I like the phone I've moved to giffgaff (hover over 'our offer' at the top). I just ordered a SIM off them. They are just what I want. (I got a PAC and kept my number.) They send an email every month telling you what your best deal would be next month based on your usage. I'm actually slightly better off on PAYG, but tend to buy a Goodybag (£5 usually) which I find a little more relaxing. Should I go over the Goodybag (I never have!) it just reverts to PAYG until the end of the month, when I can buy a new Goodybag. You are allowed to tether with the limited Goodybags.

I've recently been using a Huawei Y300, which its owner bought on PAYG at the Carphone Warehouse for £49.99 inc £10 top-up. I see it's £69.95 now. It is surprisingly good. I'm comparing it to various family and friends' Galaxy S2, S3 and S3 mini and find it much better than I would expect at that price. Certainly better than some of the low-end Galaxys.

Sorry this is so long. I hope it's more helpful than confusing.

amicissimma Mon 03-Mar-14 21:19:48

I found it really hard to estimate what my 3G usage would be. In fact, after 2 and a bit years I find I look at maps occasionally, look up train websites, read 2-3 threads on Mumsnet, in a week and never get near my 20mb (yes, that's an m, not a g!) allowance.

Many tablets won't take a SIM, so to get on the internet when out and about you'd need to tether, use mifi or find WiFi.

The trouble with a tablet, with its nice big screen is that you have to lug the thing about. I find the screen and keyboard on the S2, 3 & 4 and the Huawei, is fine, although I'm in my 50s with age-appropriate sight, and often use them in poor (street) light. I must admit to just sometimes resorting to using my little finger to type - sometimes I'm more nimble than others.

I recommend going and having a play somewhere like Carphone Warehouse

GillTheGiraffe Mon 03-Mar-14 21:53:18

Thank you. That's really helpful.

NetworkGuy Tue 04-Mar-14 01:14:29

Would have come back earlier but while testing some GU10 LED lamps, managed to unplug my iMac and had something like 150 different tabs open, so decided it was best to have a break for some food and start fresh later (and then a friend with some malware {we think} on his Mac rang me and we have been talking for the last hour plus!).

Given your low annual spend, I was a little taken aback at the willingness to pay out so much each month (on a long contract)… I still think that in many cases a customer pays over the odds for the mobile or what they get in voice/ texts/ data, once they are paying more than £20 a month… I'm sure the deal you saw could be attractive if they allow tethering with that mobile so you can use the tablet wherever you go (else it is mostly going to sit at home… and I don't know if that's a budget mobile or mid-range if you were to buy it outright.

Sorry, don't want to dismiss that Orange deal - it might be fine. Will have to reconsider when refreshed after some sleep I think smile

Would suggest checking Ovivo Mobile too - they have "Freedom 5" costing £5 a month, giving 1 GB of data + 300 minutes + 300 texts. Of course it's up against GiffGaff (which I think uses the O2 network, and Tesco too).

Ovivo have a "Freedom 0" plan too, where you get 500 MB data, 300 minutes and 300 texts every month but the "0" is £0 each month - no monthly fee, just pay £20 for the SIM to start with (!!)

Ovivo uses the Vodafone network and while they have some advertising displayed if you are browsing, from what I have read, using apps (like Google Maps) can use the data with no advertising being displayed. If you can find an unlocked tablet, or a tablet for use of Vodafone, then Ovivo also do some 'data only' SIMs at low cost (£5 per month for 2 GB of data)… or nil for 1 GB each month… see > Ovivo for Data < info.

You would still need to pay a one-off £20 for the SIM, but given the relatively low price, even if this is something like a pyramid scheme (where new customers are funding the costs of existing customers - which has been speculated about on the web), it only has to provide you with services for a few months to make it worth having with low or no monthly fees!

wyrdyBird Tue 04-Mar-14 10:39:49

In your position I might get an ipad air or mini (or equivalent) and a simple PAYG phone.

Ipad is available with 3G+wireless or wireless only. The mini is smaller and lighter than the ipad air. If out and about means hotels and wifi hotspots, you might never need 3G, on the other hand it's much more flexible!

It depends on why you want the internet when out and about. If you want check specific things on the move, it's worth going going for a quality smartphone. If you will be sitting and browsing in situations where you'd like to use a laptop, I would go for a tablet.

NetworkGuy Wed 05-Mar-14 22:19:09

May be worth a look > [[ Sony Z2 mobile]] < if you are not in a massive rush (and if you are in a town/city where Three is providing 4G coverage... this may be of interest).

Use their postcode checker to see what coverage they expect in areas where you work / visit / live...

NetworkGuy Wed 05-Mar-14 23:07:53

Aaaargh Link -> New Sony Z2 mobile

GillTheGiraffe Thu 06-Mar-14 00:43:14

Thank you. That's a good point about check post code availability. I will check the places I am likely to travel to. I have found that old Cornish granite cottages seem to shield all mobile signals and I need to go outside to make a call.
Am determined to get this issue sorted out.

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