June 24, 2022

Technology at a glacial pace Part 2

Back in November 2016, I replaced my mobile phone. The new purchase was a OnePlus 3, and I wrote about its huge 5.5″ screen and the colossal battery that I only got through 30% of each day. I also optimistically wrote that I hoped to get 4 years out of it, assuming that the collapse of civilisation didn’t render mobile phones redundant first.

Well, I’m happy to say that the collapse of civilisation is progressing a little slower than anticipated, so mobile phones are still a thing. Also, it’s now more than 5 and a half years later, so the OP3 definitely rose to the challenge. That said, the fact that I’m writing this blog post has probably clued you in to the fact that all is not rosy.

Over the last couple of years the battery capacity of the OP3 has diminished noticeably. Whereas when it was fresh I was only needing to top up 30% per day, this increased to more like 70%. Not really a problem while I was spending most of my life stuck at home, but it seemed like the world had collectively decided that covid wasn’t a thing worth trying to combat any more, and so I might find myself spending more time out of the house. The phone itself was still meeting my needs, so I figured that a battery replacement would prolong its life considerably. I got a quote from a very reputable-looking shop in town and they quoted me £70. This felt like a good deal, if it meant I could keep using the phone for another 5 years.

It turned out to be a bad idea.

Initially, the phone seemed to be having difficulty calibrating the new battery. It would run down to 1% within a few hours, and then sit on 1% for a day. I contacted the shop and they gave me some tips, and suggested I stick with it. But 3 months later, and things are still bad. I charge the phone overnight, and by the evening it’s always down to 1%, and sometimes even switches off entirely. I will contact the shop but I feel like they’re probably going to try and find some excuse to dodge giving a refund. They’re more likely to offer another replacement, which means the whole cycle starts again.

I’ve decided to do what I should have done in the first place, and just get a replacement.

Phone trends have changed quite a bit over the last 5 years. The OP3’s 1cm top and bottom bezels would be a laughing stock nowadays, much to my chagrin. We briefly went through a period of “notches” in the screen, nowadays it’s all about the little punch hole for the front camera, and having the slimmest bezels possible. Back camera assemblies have also changed, from generally only holding a single lens, to typically 3 or 4. The saddest thing of all is that headphone jacks are not common on phones nowadays.

I’ve been occasionally browsing phones over the last few years, and have generally been disappointed with what I’ve seen, which is why I’ve stuck with the OP3. It has to have a headphone jack, and NFC. It has to be Android. It has to be reasonably performant, with at least 64GB internal storage. I don’t want a Samsung or Sony. And it can’t be more than about £300.

But at last, I have found a phone that I could get really excited about. After recommending Motorola phones to friends and family for years, I’m finally getting one for myself. I have ordered a Motorola Edge 20 Lite, and it should arrive in the next few days.


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