Hello and welcome to Ken's Tech Tips, one of the UK's largest independent mobile technology websites. Our mission is to demystify the world of mobile technology. We're doing that by providing a no-nonsense guide on smartphones & mobile technology here in the UK. Whether you're looking to understand mobile technology, to compare the best deals available on the market, for a full review of the tariffs on each network or for information about changing your network or handset, we're here to help.

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Best SIM Cards for Using Your Smartphone in the USA

January 13th, 2017

If you’re travelling to the United States, having the right SIM card can save you a lot of money. We review the best value SIM cards for using your smartphone in the US.

USA Flag

Each year, almost 4 million Brits visit the USA. Whether you’re travelling to New York to do a bit of shopping, touring California to enjoy the beautiful scenery or visiting Florida to enjoy the theme parks with your family, you’ll probably want to use your phone when you’re there.

Having a smartphone in America can make it a lot easier to stay in touch with friends and family who are back in the UK. It can also be useful for navigating around (e.g. finding nearby restaurants and attractions with Google Maps).

The good news is it’s really easy to take a UK smartphone and to use it in the US. You can either roam on your UK SIM card or you can buy a US SIM card upon your arrival in the States. In this article, we’ll review and compare the best SIM cards for using your smartphone in the US. We’ll also look at the cost of using different SIM cards and the network compatibility with your UK handset.

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Best Place To Buy A Honor 6X, Honor 8 & Honor 5C: UK’s Cheapest Deals

January 8th, 2017

Honor is Huawei’s line-up of smartphones for “digital natives”. In the UK, their devices start from £135 unlocked. We compare the best value retailers for buying a Honor smartphone.

honor-logoIn the UK, Honor is a low-cost sub-brand of the smartphone manufacturer Huawei. The brand eschews traditional marketing and sell their products online, focussing on competitively-priced Android smartphones for “digital natives”.

At present, numerous smartphones are available to buy from Honor including the Honor 6X, Honor 8 and Honor 5C.

The Honor 6X is the newest of the three, having been announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2017. Being Honor’s mid-range handset, the device retails for around £224 unlocked. It’s notable for having impressive specifications that wouldn’t look out of place on a smartphone costing three times as much. These include dual-camera technology, a 5.5-inch full-HD display, an octa-core processor, 32GB of storage and a fingerprint sensor.

Honor also sells their flagship Honor 8 smartphone for about £290 unlocked, with a better camera that includes laser auto-focus, a faster octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM. For a lower-cost alternative to the Honor 6X, the entry-level Honor 5C is also available from £135. This has a single-lens camera along with reduced storage and memory but is still a highly-capable handset given its price.

In this article, we compare the cheapest ways of buying a Honor 6X, Honor 8 and Honor 5C in the UK.

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Free Pay As You Go SIM Cards: Listed, Reviewed & Networks Compared

January 2nd, 2017

Get a free SIM card for your mobile phone: Pay As You Go offerings compared from 17 UK networks.

Pay As You Go SIM CardWhether you’re a smartphone fanatic or someone who only uses their phone on an occasional basis, there are some great deals to be had when you order a free Pay As You Go SIM card in the UK.

The best Pay As You Go SIM cards offer super-low rates that can even rival Pay Monthly SIM cards in terms of value for money. To take advantage of the best offers currently available, simply order a free SIM card below and slot it inside your mobile phone. There are no credit checks or upfront fees. There’s also no need to set up a direct debit: simply top-up your SIM card when you need credit to pay for your airtime.

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O2 Classic Pay As You Go Review: A Simple Tariff of 5p/min, 5p/txt, 5p/MB

December 29th, 2016

O2 has launched a Classic Pay As You Go tariff for light mobile users charging 5p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB.

O2In the UK, O2 has recently launched a new Pay As You Go tariff for light mobile users called Classic Pay As You Go. The tariff has no regular monthly charges with customers paying just 5p/minute, 5p/text and 5p/MB. Customers also get access to O2 Priority with a £1 lunch every Monday and a free hot drink from Caffè Nero on most Tuesdays.

In this article, we’ll review O2’s Classic Pay As You Go tariff. We’ll look at how much it costs and the benefits of the tariff, before comparing it to the deals available from other Pay As You Go networks. Finally, we’ll look at the coverage on O2 and at how you can keep an existing phone number when moving to O2 Classic Pay As You Go.

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SIM Only Deals: The UK’s Best Value SIM Cards For Your Smartphone

December 26th, 2016

You can often save more than £200/year by getting a low-cost SIM card and placing it into your smartphone. We compare the UK’s best value smartphone SIM-only deals.

SIM card for SIM Only tariffA great way to save money on your phone bill is to switch your tariff to a SIM-only deal. Compared to a normal mobile contract, you can typically save about £200/year whilst keeping the same phone number as before. You’ll also get lots of flexibility with the choice of either a 12-month or 1-month contract.

In this article, we’ll review and compare the UK’s best value smartphone SIM-only deals. We’ll compare SIM-only deals from 14 different mobile networks, from the big names like EE and O2, to lower-cost virtual network operators like ASDA Mobile and giffgaff.

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Best Place To Buy A Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus & Moto G Play: UK’s Cheapest Deals

December 25th, 2016

The fourth-generation Moto G4 is now available to buy from £109 unlocked. We compare the UK’s cheapest deals for SIM-free, Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly.

Moto G4 DesignIf you’re looking for an affordable mid-range smartphone, my current recommendation is to buy a Moto G4. It has some fantastic specifications, including a 5.5-inch full HD display, and is a fraction of the price of an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7.

Motorola’s two mid-range handsets are the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. Both handsets have a 5.5-inch full HD display and a 64-bit octa-core processor. Of the two devices, the Moto G4 Plus is slightly more premium. It has a higher-resolution 16 megapixel camera with phase-detection and laser auto-focus (whereas the Moto G4 only has a 13 megapixel camera). The Moto G4 Plus also features a fingerprint sensor and gives you the option of having extra storage and RAM.

For a lower-cost alternative, the Moto G4 Play is available from £109 unlocked (the handset is sometimes referred to simply as the Moto G Play). It has a 5.0-inch HD display, a 64-bit quad-core processor and a 8 megapixel camera. All three handsets have 4G connectivity and run on the Android 6.0 operating system from Google.

In this article, we’ll look at the best value deals for buying a Moto G smartphone in the UK. We’ll start by looking at the best deals for an unlocked Moto G. We’ll then go on to find the best value deals on Pay As You Go and on a Pay Monthly contract.

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Hidden APRs: Why 24-Month Contracts Are Almost Never Good Value

December 21st, 2016

It’s almost never a good deal buying the latest handset on a 24-month contract. We explain the hidden APRs in a mobile phone contract and why they cause you to pay hundreds of pounds more.

iPhone 7 Plus ColoursTraditionally, most people have bought their smartphones on a 24-month contract. With a contract, you can normally get the latest smartphone for a reduced upfront price. For instance, the 32GB iPhone 7 has a full retail price of £599 unlocked. However, on a Pay Monthly contract, it’s often available for an upfront payment of £99 or less.

In exchange for you being able to save money upfront, a 24-month contract will tie you in to one mobile network and will require you to pay more on your phone bill each month. For instance, you might pay an additional £30/month for the next 24 months (this is compared to if you were getting an equivalent SIM-only deal). When these additional monthly payments are taken into account, you’ll normally end up paying far more than the original cost of the handset.

In this article, we explore the hidden APRs in a 24-month contract and why they mean traditional contracts are almost never good value. We’ll then look at newer “unbundled” alternatives where you buy your handset and SIM card separately to avoid hidden APRs (this is an alternative to 24-month contracts promoted by retailers such as Unshackled).

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Compare Pay As You Go Networks: Prices & Coverage

December 15th, 2016

Looking for the best value mobile network for Pay As You Go in the UK? Our interactive comparison table allows you to compare Pay As You Go networks by price and by coverage.

Top Up LogoIf you’re looking for a Pay As You Go network in the UK, you’re spoilt for choice with nearly 20 different mobile networks to choose from.

With the UK having one of most competitive marketplaces in the world for mobile communication, it’s never been easier to switch networks to take advantage of a cheaper deal. Just order a free Pay As You Go SIM card and insert it into an unlocked smartphone to take advantage of lower rates.

When choosing a new Pay As You Go mobile network, there are two primary considerations you need to think about. Firstly, there’s the price: you’ll want to get the best value deal without paying more than you need to. Secondly, there’s the coverage: you’ll want a mobile network that gives you a fast and reliable coverage.

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EE’s Wi-Fi Calling Reviewed: Make & Receive Phone Calls Over Wi-Fi

December 13th, 2016

EE’s wi-fi calling service allows you to make and receive phone calls even when a mobile signal isn’t available.

EECustomers on EE Pay Monthly can benefit from more reliable calling and texting by taking advantage of EE’s wi-fi calling service. Providing you have a compatible smartphone, this allows you to make and receive phone calls using only a wi-fi internet connection. This is great news for anyone who has patchy network coverage at their home or workplace (e.g if you’re living in a rural area or basement flat). It also makes it possible to stay connected in new places: for instance, making phone calls from a London Underground station.

In this article, we review EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service. We’ll start by discussing how the service works, before looking at requirements like supported handsets and tariffs. We’ll then look at the drawbacks of the service and at alternative services for improving your coverage on other mobile networks.

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Traffic Management & Throttling on UK Mobile Networks

December 13th, 2016

In the UK, some mobile networks place an artificial limit on your download speed. They may also slow down or stop you from accessing certain services.

Traffic LightWhen choosing a mobile network, it’s worth being aware that different networks have different ways of managing traffic on their network. On some mobile networks, there may an artificial limit on the maximum download speed available. On others, certain types of traffic may be prioritised over others and some types of traffic (e.g. P2P or VPN) could be slowed down or blocked.

In this article, we’ll compare the traffic management policy on major UK mobile networks.

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