Categories
Recycling

Recycle your old mobile phone for cash

A friend pointed me in the direction of Simply Drop, a UK service that recycles old mobile phones, mp3 players and digital cameras, and gives you money in return. You can also choose to have the cash donated to one of five charites, should you be feeling philanthropic.

On their website, you can select the model of device that you have, and if it’s in working order, it will tell you how much (if anything) they will pay you for it. In a box in the loft I have an old Nokia 6600 and a Sony Ericsson K750i. According to Simply Drop, they’re worth £11 apiece. That’s excellent for something that I consider obsolete.

Devices that are sent in are either recycled for their components and the metals they contain, or refurbished and re-sold. Whether your phone is worth money or not, having them sit in landfill is not a good thing.

You can apply for special pre-paid padded envelopes to be sent to you (for free). Then, register your items on the website. Pop your retired mobile devices into the envelope, and post.  When your device has been received and checked at their end, you are then paid for your eligible devices via PayPal, or you can collect cash from the Post Office (with ID and a special SMS message).

Simply Drop is run by Royal Mail, so it’s run by a trustworthy source. Whether a device is worth anything or not, it’s free to send devices to them for recycling. I will be asking around my family to see if we can’t have an old phone amnesty!

I will update this post when I have been through the whole process and have been paid.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Nokia E71 Review: Part One

Last week I treated myself to a new Nokia E71 on the 3 network here in the UK. After suffering the crapness that is the text entry system on the 3 Skypephone, I was after something that would run Skype, but have an excellent web browser and keyboard.

I looked at many phones, but settled on an E71 for these reasons:

  • Excellent battery life
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Decent Skype client (provided by 3)
  • 3MP autofocus camera
  • GPS
  • Symbian OS (smartphone goodness without Windows Mobile or Apple walled garden)

I won’t list all of the phones that I looked at, but suffice to say I looked at most of the advanced phones available today. I did settle on an N95, but the battery life would definitely have been an issue for me, being an itinerant fiddler when it comes to gadgets. If it has features, then I will use them. And I want to be able to use those features whenever I want, not think about what I can or can’t use because I want to make a call later. I talked to too many N95 users who too often looked depressed when I asked about battery life.

Anyway, I digress.

I will start my review with a summary, to save all but the ardent reader having to read any further. The phone is all that I hoped for given my budget. Visually, I think the E71 is a great looking device. I plumped for the white version, and with its steel chrome surround, and white LEDs, it’s very shiny. It feels solid in the hand, and there’s no creaking plastic to be found. It ticks all of the build-quality boxes that I had in the back of my mind.

Given that the phone has everything bar a coffee machine inside it, the battery life is phenomenal. As I write this, I have two bars of battery life left. Over the last three (yes, three) days since its last charge I have used just about every function for just about every purpose I could think of. And there’s still charge left. I have:

  • Taken 60 photos
  • Recorded 10 minutes of video
  • Browsed the web for about 4 hours using a mixture of 3G and Wifi
  • Twittered a lot
  • Sent some SMS messages
  • Made some calls (maybe 30 mins)
  • Used the GPS for about an hour
  • Used the streaming internet radio for about 30 minutes
  • Listened to mp3s while surfing the web (maybe about 2 hours)
  • Installed and played with 14 applications (I’ll list them in another post)
  • Played about with Qik (10 minutes)
  • Run Skype in the background for maybe 4 hours

Now, to me, that I have any charge left at all is somewhat amazing (actually, it’s just gone down to one bar as I write this). I’m fairly sure that it’ll last until I get home in a couple of hours to give it a charge. Now that’s what I call battery stamina.

I finally have a phone (well, it’s a mini computer really) that does the things what I want it to do, and has the battery life to let me do them.

I’ll be writing a series of posts about different aspects of the phone in the next few days, so stay tuned.

[Update – I took a couple of 3-4 minute calls on the way home, took a photo, and received a text on the 45 minute walk home. In the last call, the phone began to warn me about a low battery. When I got home I plugged it in to charge, and went to see if it was charged at about 8.30pm (Monday). I’d forgotten to switch on the charger! But the phone was still on, and had received a text! The thing seems to last forever. For reference, it had its last charge on Friday night.]

Categories
Technology

3Skypephone

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3Skypephone, originally uploaded by *Tom*.

Tehm and I recently bought a pair of Skype mobile phones from mobile operator ‘3‘. The “3Skypephone” as it is called is a wonderful little device. Skype works well for voice and text chat (with a few minor synchronisation niggles), and overall the phone is small, light, and packed with enough features to keep me playing with it for hours.

We opted to get the phones for free on a £12/month contract, which comes with 100 minutes of cross-network voice minutes or texts, and 300 minutes of 3to3 calls. Add Skype to that, and it was too attractive a deal to ignore.

Assuming the Skype ‘fair use’ is 4000 minutes per month, with 10,000 Skype Chat messages, that’s a potential total of 4,400 minutes of chat. My jaw would fall off before I could use all of them up, I’m sure.

If that wasn’t enough connectivity, you can add their “Internet Max” (1GB) data add-on for £5/month. I did this as I know for the first month I’ll be playing endlessly with the phone, and installing every Java application I can find on it.

I’ve whittled the applications on my phone down to:

Google Mail
Google Maps
Opera Mini 4 (an alternative web browser for your phone for those who don’t know)

These are the essentials in my opinion, especially Opera Mini 4, as the built-in web browser isn’t very good. Opera Mini 4 set to small fonts on a 3G connection is great!

I’ll blog more about the phone over the coming weeks with some tips and discussions about some of the bugs (no phone is perfect, after all).

If you’re bursting to ask a question about the phone you can leave a comment here, or head over to the busy 3Skypephone forums.