I have to confess that I’m pretty clueless when it comes to phones and I’ve always asked a tech-savvy friend to advise me on each upgrade when it is due. I have a sneaking suspicion that sales assistants push products to achieve their quotas and on my own I always end up coming home with twice as much as what I set out for. It’s been 24months since I took out my O2 contract at Phones4U where I had the iPhone 5 but the store has now closed down, so I visited my local O2 store in Aylesbury to deal with my upgrade by myself for the very first time. Gulp!
When I entered the Aylesbury store I was greeted by a salesperson who asked me if he could help and I explained that I was a previous Phones4U customer due an upgrade on O2. He asked me which handset I already had, which was the iPhone 5, and which one I was looking to change to. I think once you have an Apple product it’s the natural progression to upgrade to the latest on the market and never consider another brand again. So I looked at both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for which there was a great difference in size. The iPhone 6 is much bigger than the iPhone 5 with the iPhone 6 Plus being even larger still to almost tablet size! However as I have an iPad Mini there’s not much need for me to carry around such a large phone that can do basically the same thing, so I settled on the standard iPhone 6.
He then showed me over to a desk where we talked through a price plan and my usage. Seeing as my social media is pretty lively I find that I often go over on my data usage and receive text messages saying that I have used up my quota and must wait for my next bill to arrived before I can have my data reset, which literally leaves me stranded when I am away from home as my phone can only be used as an actual phone. When I’m out and about I often check my emails, reply to social media and highly depend on Google Maps when I drive or attend events, so it’s important for me to have enough data to keep me connected and up to date. I have no idea what my previous data allowance was on my old phone, but for some reason I’m guessing it was 1GB? The assistant advised that 5GB should be pretty difficult for me to use up in a month, as I connect to my home or location wifi devices throughout the day to avoid wasting my allowance wherever possible.
We then talked about my minutes and texts which showed me that I’d been going over by up to several pounds a month in some cases, to which he advised sending picture messages are not included in the price plan, and chewing peoples ears off for hours on end will quickly reduce my minutes. He advised I should try sending picture messages of my children baking biscuits or the dog wearing sunglasses through social media or Whatsapp instead of in a text message, as this way it is free and wont affect my bill. Apparently there’s no cure for my innate ability to talk way too much, so I’ll try to switch to using my landline for calls when I’m at home and my mobile only when I’m out. My new airtime plan costs £24.00 per month with unlimited calls and texts and 5GB of data. And when I heard the amount I whooped and fist pumped the air, as my previous plan was £35.00 per month but often came out at over £40.00 as I kept going over. However then he dropped the bad news and told me the handset was priced separately as the contracts are split into two sections, oh how times have changed since my last upgrade in 2013!
Next I had to decide on the exact handset that I wanted, and the hardest part was choosing the colour. A woman’s first thought is undoubtedly to accessorise her phone to her favourite jewellery and/or lingerie, however being the indecisive little lemon that I am, I often flitter between gold, silver and hematite black for jewellery, and pink, red or blue lingerie to suit my mood, so this really doesn’t help me at all. It took me several serious minutes of debating to choose between gold, silver or space grey as my previous iPhone5 was white but this was no longer an option. I finally settled on gold and was then asked to choose a memory size.
Now it may be quite obvious, but I love taking pictures and I literally capture every part of life on my phone which has certainly snowballed over the past two years. Before I had an iPhone I took pictures with my actual camera, now my phone is my camera and I cram it to capacity with cute snapshots of the children, pretty teacups, belovedly beautiful homemade crumbles, interesting vegetarian dinners, ice creams, sleeping cats, shoes and selfies. My phone seems to fill up so fast that I’m constantly greeted by a memory full warning that refuses to allow me access to my camera to take more pictures or videos. And then I sit painstakingly trying to delete the most unimportant pictures that aren’t necessary, torturing myself with the significance and sentimentality of them all because I wouldn’t have taken them if I didn’t like what I see. So I’ve paid for extra storage on the cloud which I’ve gone over on, filled my dropbox within weeks so that it no longer updates, and deleted my most favourite videos, music and face-swapping hilarious apps simply to free up enough space to do an update that then leaves me with not a scrap of memory and unable to use my phone.
The iPhone 6 handset comes in 16GB, 64GB or 128GB for memory, for which I always thought there was a 32GB before? I believe my iPhone5 was a 16GB that I filled up quicker than a wineglass on a Friday night! So this time I decided to hedge my bets and go for the 64GB memory, which the sales assistant advised would be ample for my needs. Although I suspect my needs increase each and every year, as being the OCD freak that I am I enjoy making lists, taking notes, screenshotting important things to return to at a later time, and taking photographs a la “The Hangover” to refresh my memory as a single mother of two little ones, so my short term memory is questionably that of a goldfish, if not less. Glub glub.
So now we have the colour, check, priceplan, check and memory size, check, literally in the brown paper eco-friendly bag. Now it’s time to finalise the cost of the handset. If I bought the gold 64GB outright it would cost me £729.99. Hmm… But if I took it out on a price plan spread over the 24months of my airtime plan, it would cost me £600.00 plus a one-off upfront £79.99, taking the total to £679.99 for a price plan with 0% interest, making it £100.00 cheaper than buying the handset there and then in store. Keep up with all that? I agreed to paying the upfront cost of £79.99 for the handset and a further £25.00 per month for the next 24 months for the remaining cost of the handset. Together with the airtime plan of £24.00 a month, and the handset at £25.00 per month, this took my monthly bill to £49.00, which considering my previous iPhone5 bill often came out at £40.00ish and left me stranded with my 3G, my new gold 4G iPhone 6 with a massive memory and usage seemed like a rather good deal. Or a very clever sales pitch to up my bills from £35.00 to £50.00. Hmm…
The sales person then proceeded to ask me about what insurance I had in place, for which I firmly declined all attempts to provide cover as I already have my own in place along with my house insurance. And I felt a little bit like I was kicking a puppy, because he really wanted me to take out the insurance but I’d made that mistake before and had dual policies running in the past which I have never had to use, wasting funds that could be better allocated to wine. I was then asked to double check the details on screen, confirm I’d read and accepted the terms and conditions and then click to e-sign my contract. No print outs, no booklets, no page upon page of paperwork, signing direct debit mandates and reeling off receipts stapled into an origami swan as I was expecting, just a quick double click and “see you in two years then Miss Kiss!” Wow.
He popped my new simcard into my handset, switched it on and it was ready to use there and then. I decided to set up my handset from home rather than restore it from the cloud as I knew I’d have the majority of my content missing because I’d ran out of space. So when I got home I connected my iPhone5 to my MacBook and backed up my device. I then connected my iPhone6 and restored it with my previous data and then had to install an update, which basically involves clicking “yes” a few times and making sure the phone remains connected to the laptop, and now my new handset is basically a clone of my old one, only taller, smoother, lighter, younger and gold. Oh how I miss my teens!
There’s not a great deal of difference between the iPhone5 and iPhone6 for use as far as I can tell after having it for a few days now, as my phone is set up exactly the same with the addition of a few extra preset apps including Numbers, Keynote, iTunes U, iMovie, GarageBand, Pages and Apple Watch. Where the iPhone5 is quite chunky in depth, the iPhone6 is the slimmest Apple device on the market. The screen display is also larger and better for watching films and viewing websites and social media which is great because you don’t have to scroll to read when it’s all displayed. Yet I’ve heard that iPhone6 handsets are comparable to bananas and known for bending and breaking as they’re so long and slim, so rather than have a standard clip on case for protection I’ve gone for a reinforced casing that comes in two parts and clips around both the front and back of the phone so it should never fall pregnant. I would never leave any phone without a case because they’re far too easy to chip, scratch and crack with such large glass screens and matt casing. And two years with an expensive battered looking phone is a very long and embarrassing time.
The iPhone6 also apparently has 325 pixels per inch in display making it clearer for viewing images and video with a dual domain pixel for a wider viewing angle without reducing the colours. When I put on a video for the kids to watch we can all see it sitting side by side or looking over a shoulder without it changing into inverted colours if you’re at a wonky angle, rather than just straight on for viewing. The iPhone6 camera is still 8MP like the 5 but it captures greater detail in every environment and different conditions making the pictures clearer. The screen is 0.7inches larger and the handset much lighter to handle.
I did question wether my average-sized thumb would be capable of reaching the top of my phone to open the apps at the corner of my homescreen, which for the record it’s not, but the sales assistant showed me a cool trick of double tapping the menu button to drag the icons down to half height making the entire phone accessible with just one thumb. Fantastic. And finally there’s the fingerprint recognition which allows you to access your phone and certain apps without the need for a pincode or login. It took me a couple of minutes to register my thumbprints by scanning and rolling the pad of my fingers in different directions to capture the data required, and you have the option to add as many fingers as you require which is great should you be a dangerous chef and find yourself burning your thumbs on hot oven trays and erasing your identity! It makes accessing the phone super quick and easy as you only need to place your thumb on the menu button for a second, no forgetting codes, no getting locked out or having to use two hands to get into your phone. So all in all the O2 staff were very helpful and informative and the Apple iPhone6 is a rather cool handset that I’m pleased to have chosen for my upgrade. I just have to stop turning down my volume every time I go to lock my phone because the buttons are now opposite each other on the side. But on the plus side when you text in bed and drop your phone onto your face it doesn’t hurt half as much as an iPhone5!