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Did the LG G5 flop because it dared to be different?

LG G5

 

The LG G5 was that rarest of things – a smartphone that tried to do something different. Its modular design, which let you add and remove components like better speakers and cameras, was brave. It was unique. And it was a failure.

 

The company’s next flagship phone – the LG G6 – is now out in the wild, and it’s a bit more… conventional. While excellent by all accounts, it’s clear that LG has retreated to the relative safety of super-sized screens and solid specs.

 

Which rather begs the question – is originality overrated? Is the future of phones going to consist of selling your old phones to buy a better version of the same thing? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

 

What was so different about the LG G5?

 

It’s fair to say that mobile phone manufacturers have fallen into predictable habits – especially when it comes to their flagship devices. Successive handsets sport the same old boasts – bigger screens, faster processors, better cameras and so on. Where there are new features, like the iPhone 6S pressure-sensitive touch screen or Galaxy S6 Edge, they tend to be (admittedly cool) gimmicks that enhance what’s already there rather than revolutionise.

 

That’s why the LG G5 stood out. You could add new features by removing the band at the bottom of the phone – sort of like removing a clip from a gun – and add new functionality on. It may not have been to everyone’s tastes, but it was something you couldn’t get from Samsung, Apple, Sony and HTC’s uberphones.

 

LG G5 module

 

The problem is, as it turns out, not many people really wanted it. LG confirms that sales of the handset were poor, which means that the sale of the add-ons were even less. That might explain why there were only a few of those add-ons available – a snap-on speaker to improve audio, and a few camera attachments were really all that came of the idea.

 

It also didn’t help that LG insisted on calling those add-ons ‘Friends’ – a spot of marketing drivel so inanely twee that it makes our eyes roll hard enough to stare at our own brains.

 

LG’s since admitted it was a flop – and 2016 was a pretty painful year for the company as a result. Hence the return to safer ground with the sizably-screened G6.

 

What could have been

 

It’s a shame though. For all its mistakes, the G5 shone brightly as a rare example of imagination in a conservative industry – and that’s something indescribably valuable.

 

The fact is smartphone sales are slowing down. Most people – in the UK at least – now own a mobile phone, and they’re holding onto them for longer and longer before trading up.

 

There’s a sense that people are waiting for the Next Big Thing™ – a new must-have product that will land with the impact of an iPhone or even an early BlackBerry. If this year’s Mobile World Congress is anything to go by it won’t be this year – the phone that generated the most buzz was a revival of the Nokia 3310. That’s not exactly forward-thinking, is it?

 

So where can you go for innovation?

 

We may be waiting for a wow moment, but there have been attempts to do something different over the last few years – you just have to look beyond the big names. The Yotaphone 2, for example, offers a big quirk – it’s dual screen. As well as your standard display, there’s an E ink screen on the back, displaying book or website text, notifications and more.

 

BlackBerry Passport

 

And then there are curios like the BlackBerry passport, which is one of the oddest-looking phones of the last few years; the LG G Flex, which was curved like a banana; or the CAT S60, a phone designed to withstand the roughest treatment. Also it had a thermal camera because why not?

 

I have an LG G5 – what should I do with it?

 

Well first of all, you could keep it. Support for its – ugh – ‘Friends’ may have dried up but it’s still a good phone. Darn good in fact – a great screen and solid specs make it more than capable of going head to head with the Samsung Galaxy S7.

 

But if you do want to upgrade – to the new LG G6 or upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 perhaps – then you should consider selling it. History may mark it as a flop, but it’s still worth a healthy chunk o’ change – as much as £220 if it’s still in good nick.

 

Simply head over to our homepage and you search for the handset. You’ll get a list of different recyclers who’ll take it off your hands so you can compare them and find the best deal out there.

 

8 hidden costs when you get a new mobile phone

piggy-bank-with-calculator So you’ve saved up your money, broken into your piggy bank, and put together the cash to buy a brand new mobile phone. But it’s not just the handset itself you might need to buy – there are a few other costs that you might not have thought about when you get a new phone or take out a new contract. Here are eight expenses you’ll want to save some budget for.

 

And psst… Why not sell or recycle your old phone, and use the cash you get to help swallow the costs?

 

1. Upfront costs on plans

 

Most pay-monthly contract plans ask for an upfront payment on your new phone. It’s far, far less than buying the whole phone outright – usually somewhere between £10 and £100 – but still something to bear in mind. Look out for plans with a ‘free’ handset if your budget can’t stretch right now.

 

2. More data

 

Getting a better phone means you’ll use it more, which means you’ll use more data. And a higher res screen means higher quality video, which means it’ll use more data. Oh, and a better camera means higher quality photos, which means you’ll use more data to upload them… you get the idea.

 

Yes, getting a new phone generally means you’ll end up using more data than before, especially if you’re upgrading. Remember that when you’re picking out a plan – it’s better to choose one with a slightly higher allowance and pay a little more, than it is to get a lower allowance and pay a lot more for add-ons when you go over.

 

3. Insurance

 

Don’t risk breaking or losing a brand new phone without an insurance plan. This is an expense you won’t want to skip – and the more new, expensive, or high-end your phone is, the more you’ll have to pay for even the most basic insurance.

Broken phone

4. Contract crossovers

 

Switching networks? Watch out – there may be a period when your old and new contracts cross over and you end up paying for them both. Awkward.

 

It’s easy to avoid that though, or at least reduce the cost a lot. Cancel your current plan, get an end date, then arrange your new one to begin a day or two before then. Do make sure you’re out of your contract’s minimum terms before cancelling, though, or you’ll have even more fees to pay.

 

5. New phone case

 

Don’t forget about those funky mobile accessories! When you get a new phone, there’s a high chance it’ll be a different shape from your old one, and that means you’ll need a new case for it. These can cost anything from a fiver for a basic one, right up to £20+ for a really top-quality, super-protective one.

 

6. New charging cables

 

While we’re at it, a new phone may also mean a new charging cable. Androids and iPhones both use different types of cable, and some fancy new Androids even come sporting the USB Type-C connection.

 

Sure, you’ll always get a fresh cable in the box – but it’s good to have a spare.

 

7. New headphones

Young Teenage Girl Singing along

The latest trend in smartphones, at least high-end ones, is kind of an annoying one: the abolition of the headphone jack. We’ve seen it in the iPhone 7, and you can bet we’ll see it even more in the coming months.

 

If you don’t want to be fiddling around with adaptors, you’ll need to splash out on new, compatible headphones. Thankfully you can get Bluetooth ones for less than £20 these days.

 

8. Re-buying your apps

 

This’ll apply to you if you’re switching between iOS and Android phones.

 

An app that you paid for in Apple’s App Store can be downloaded again on another iPhone – you won’t need to pay for it again. The same goes for Androids and apps from the Google Play Store. However… an app you bought for your Android will need to be re-bought if you want it on your iPhone, and vice versa.

 

That’s only a couple of quid per paid app, but add it to the cost of your new headphones, your new case, your insurance… If you’re not careful, you could be out of pocket more than you expect.

 

How to get rid of an old phone after Christmas

pile-of-broken-mobile-phones Did you get a new smartphone from Santa this year? Yes? In that case, you’ve probably got your old handset hanging about, unused and gazing up at you with a tear in its eye.

 

Don’t give in to its guilt trips, we say: get rid of that phone once and for all by sending it off to a brand new home. Here’s everything you need to do to say goodbye to an old mobile.

 

1. Transfer everything over to your new phone

 

Get all your apps, media, pictures, files, music, and so on onto your new phone. Sometimes you can do this with the phones’ software – the Move To iOS app is wonderful, and you can transfer everything from one Samsung phone to another using NFC, for instance.

 

In other cases, you’ll have to utilise cloud software, SD cards, and USB cables to get things moved across.

 

When it comes to apps, simply sign back into the App Store or Google Play Store, and anything you’ve paid for will still be available for you. (Though sadly this may not be the case if you’re switching between Android and iOS phones.) Just be sure to grab all your login info beforehand.

 

2. Take out your old SIM card and SD card

 

Make sure everything of yours is gone from the old phone, including your SD card. You don’t want your photos to end up in the hands of a stranger…

sim-card-in-phone

3. Do a factory reset

 

Once you’re absolutely sure you’ve fetched everything from your phone, perform a factory reset. This’ll delete everything from the hard drive, and restore it to factory settings as though it’s brand new – making it ready to hand over to another owner. It ensures that no one will get their hands on your files and personal data.

 

You can do this from your phone’s settings – see the full instructions for Android phones here, and instructions for iPhones here.

 

4. Judge what state it’s in

 

Is it good as new? Completely broken and unusable? Just a bit scuffed? Phones in different states of repair will bring in different amounts of cash – and it can get rather messy and complicated if you get it wrong the first time around.

 

Generally, phones being sold on for recycling only need to be categorised as ‘working’, ‘broken’, or ‘new’, which makes life much easier.

 

– New means it has never been used – perhaps taken out of its packaging and switched on at most

– Working means it’s, well, working as normal

– Broken means it doesn’t work, has a crack in the screen, is physically falling apart, or is otherwise difficult to use – see our blog for more info

 

5. Choose where to send it

 

Now that your phone’s ready to go out into the world, you’ll need to decide exactly what you want to do with it.

 

You could:

 

– Sell it, either to a friend or using a site like eBay

– Donate it to a charity – Oxfam, for instance, accept old mobile phones

– Recycle it, and earn some cash for doing so – often the same amount you’d get for selling it

 

If you go the recycling route, search for your phone here on SellMyMobile and compare all the available offers. For some handsets, you could get up to a few hundred pounds – an iPhone 7 can go for £530, for example. When you find an offer you like the look of, click through to the site and follow the instructions.

 

6. Send it off

 

We recommend posting your phone by special delivery – even if you’re sending it to a company with a freepost address. With recorded delivery, you can be absolutely certain that it got delivered.

 

7. Enjoy your newfound wealth

money-20-pound-notes

Holla holla get dolla. This is the point where the buyer will check your phone over and send you your money. So it’s time to cash your cheque (or check your bank statement, or PayPal, or whatever) and enjoy your bank account’s nice new balance.

 

Or if you decided to donate your phone to charity, enjoy your metaphorical, moral wealth – which is ultimately more valuable, even if it won’t get you much in the January sales.

 

How to tell if your phone is faulty or functional

Broken phone

Eventually, everything breaks. That may sound rather depressing – especially this close to the hooray-times of Christmas – but when it comes to tech, it’s true all the same.

 

If you have a mobile phone for a long time, the chances are that it will develop a problem. The screen may crack, or the battery life may drop to minutes instead of hours. Perhaps the buttons stop working or the speakers no longer… speak.

 

If your phone’s going kaput, it’s not the end of the world though – you can still sell it. You’ll get less that you would for a fully functional phone, but it can still work out as a big chunk of change.

 

That said, it’s not always clear to people what constitutes a damaged or faulty phone, versus a phone in working order. So with that in mind, here are some things to check before you send your handset away, based on the tests that recyclers will perform.

 

Can you turn it on and off again?

 

It may go without saying (and sound like a line from the IT Crowd), but your phone needs to actually turn on for it to be considered ‘working’. If it won’t turn on at all, try plugging it in to make sure it hasn’t run out of charge.

 

Is the screen broken or bleeding?

 

Obviously, if the screen has a noticeable crack in it, you can’t sell it on as a fully-functional phone. You also need to make sure the screen isn’t bleeding. This is when you have coloured lines or sections of the screen that don’t go away, and is usually a sign that the phone has suffered some physical damage.

 

Is there any major damage?

 

Small scratches and other blemishes are inevitable when you have a phone. As long as they don’t interfere with any functionality, they won’t reduce the value of your phone when you sell it. Major damage, on the other hand, will drop what it’s worth. Examples of that include cracks in the casing or water damage.

 

Do the speakers and the microphone work?

 

Problems with the speaker and microphone can be subtle, but you should check they both function properly – they will be tested when you sell your handset.  Make sure you check that your phone can register your voice through the microphone and that you can hear sound at the correct volume through the speakers.

 

Is the battery working properly?

 

Your phone’s battery life will inevitably decline the older it is, but it should still provide a good few hours’ charge. If you’re getting less than a day out of your phone though (with light to moderate use), then it’s probably past it. In that case, your phone is faulty and should be sold as such.

 

Is the aerial working?

 

A phone needs a functioning aerial in order to work. If you can’t make a reliable call on your handset, you can’t call it ‘working’. You can still sell it, of course, but you’ll get significantly less than a fully operational device.

 

Do some research before sending your phone out

 

The above checks are pretty standard across all recyclers, but the precise classifications for broken and working phones varies from company to company.

 

Once you’ve selected a buyer on SellMyMobile.com, we’ll send you over to their site to complete the transaction. This is your cue to scan through the terms and conditions to get a clear sense of the state of operation your phone is in.

 

Then, send it off and collect the cash you expect.

 

5 things we miss in old mobiles… and 5 things we don’t

phonestack Mobile phones have come a long way since the humble Nokia 3310. They’re flatter, they’ve got HD screens, and you can do pretty much anything you could possibly want to do with them. In most ways, they’re infinitely better than the old bricks we used to stuff in our pockets – but you know what, there’s a few things we miss about the obsolete little gadgets.

 

We miss…

 

…how indestructible they were

 

Once, back in the noughties, I witnessed someone hurl his mobile across four lanes of traffic, walk to the other side to retrieve it, then use it to call a taxi.

 

In contrast, I couldn’t drop my last mobile onto my bed from more than 30cm in the air because the back would pop off. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

 

…how long the battery lasted

 

Remember when your phone could go several days before it needed charging? Given that most of us now need to make a dash for the plug socket every evening, our old brick phones suddenly look at lot more appealing.

 

…Snake

 

Candy Crush who? Flappy what? For those of us who owned a Nokia back in the day, nothing can beat the classic Snake games. Sure, you can download Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto to your phone these days, but there was something quite wonderful – not to mention addictive – about the four-buttoned charm of Snake. nokia-3310

…flipping and twisting and sliding

 

Mobile phones have kind of all settled on a single shape at this point: a flat and uninteresting slab form factor. But back when the tech was still young, we had all kinds of shapes to play around with – from flip phones, to twisty mobiles, to slideable ones like the LG Chocolate.

 

…getting to disconnect

 

It’s nice being able use your phone to get directions, look up train times, or read about Serbia’s raspberry export industry whenever and wherever you like, but every now and then it’s nice to just disconnect. And that can be difficult when the entire internet is in your pocket begging for attention.

 

In the 2G days, switching off for a bit was far easier. You were essentially separated from the internet, so it wasn’t there to distract you – and to disconnect from the world entirely, all you really had to do was step outside of a major city where there wasn’t any signal.

 

So our old phones were rather nice in a way – but then again there are some things about them that we’re glad to see the back of…

 

We don’t miss…

 

…every phone having a different charging port

 

Finding a spare charging cable used to be its own special kind of hell. The port was different on every single brand of phone, making buying a new cable or borrowing someone else’s charger far too complicated.

 

These days, it’s way, way easier to figure out – your phone will either have a USB or a lightning port. Boom, done.

 

…the measly storage space

 

My first phone could hold 16 text messages. Call records were limited to 10. When you look its specs up on GSMArena, under the memory section it just says “no”.

 

In a world where our phones can have up to 256GB of internal memory, and space for up to a 2TB microSD card… I don’t think any of us miss the teeny tiny storage space that mobiles used to have.

shocked woman looking at phone

 

…WAP browsers

 

Today, we do more web browsing on our smartphones than we do on our computers – which is easy to do, given how smoothly websites work on mobile browsers. On early mobiles, however, it was a different story.

 

WAP browsers could access the internet over 2G – 2G! – which meant it took about two minutes and half your pay-as-you-go credit just to load a page. Looking something up online was slower and more expensive than a Southern Rail train.

 

…polyphonic ringtones

 

I think we’re all very, very glad that phone speakers have got less tinny and horrific as time has gone on. And now our smartphones are more like little computers, we can copy across our favourite music files to use as ringtones – rather than spending £1.99 on a crummy MIDI file that sort of sounded like a song in the charts at the moment.

 

…trying to type with the numeric keyboard

 

Was there anything more frustrating than writing a text on a keyboard that only has nine keys? Even T9 – the software that worked out what word you wanted from just one press of each key – didn’t help a whole lot… though it was still probably more accurate than the iPhone’s autocorrect.

 

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