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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Smartphones... bah!

24 October 2017

I had an LG mobile phone once and it was the *worst* piece of consumer electronics I've ever had the misfortune to own.

The worst part about it was the display... a horribly illegible piece of crap. In fact, it was so bad that I threw it away and bought a Samsung within just a few weeks of opening the box.

To be honest, I've never really warmed to LG's products. For some reason they always seem to be deficient in some way or another -- but perhaps that's just me.

My feelings towards LG were strengthened this morning when I read about the new Pixel 2 XL and the problems that users are experiencing with its LG-made display.

Owch!

This could be a real pain for Google, whose earlier Pixel phones (with a Samsung display) have previously been quite well received. Imagine having to find a better-performing replacement for this key component at such a late date and replace all the units that are already showing burn-in after just a few short weeks. Can you say $$$?

Of course Google has plenty of $$$ so the cost won't be too much of an issue however, finding a suitable drop-in replacement or commissioning someone like Samsung to make one could involve some significant delay.

OLED-type displays have always been somewhat problematic in respect to burn-in.

Unfortunately, the life-span of the different light-producing elements is not the same and thus OLEDs tend to take on a colour-cast over time and, since the emission of the individual pixels does fall off as a factor of the number of hours they're lit, burn-in is a very real issue.

Samsung has done some very good work in this area but still resorts to a few little "tricks" to help mitigate the effects of aging. LG seem to be quite a way behind.

To be honest, I'm wondering whether, in the quest for something that will keep the urge to upgrade foremost in consumers' minds, the phone makers aren't pushing the technology just a little too hard these days.

First we had the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco with burning batteries and now we're seeing "not quite fit for purpose" display technology being pushed into the mainstream.

With all this in mind, I have to announce a success on my part.

Regular readers will recall that I said I had a need for a tablet or smartphone because my tired old Samsung Smartphone (which I only ever use for running aps and not actually as a phone) was no longer up to the task. It runs Android 4 and only has about half a core and a clock-speed that is measured in weeks-per-cycle so had to be replaced.

Several readers suggested that I grab a $200 jobbie from AliExpress and indeed I do have one of those units coming but in the meantime, I had a pressing need to get a review done so I had a scan around for local offerings and was quite surprised by what I found.

On special last week was the Vodafone first phone and so I scored one for $30 (well $29.99). They're back to $39.99 now.

What did I get for my $?

Well it's a quad-core processor, has Android 5.1, Does 802.11 a/b/g/n and seems to work perfectly well for what I need.

Bloody marvelous -- they even threw in a free SIM card that I'll never need.

There's just no way I could find a quad-core tablet for $30 and I'm totally chuffed with the fact that it runs all the aps that the Samsung spews over -- at a respectable speed.

I was almost tempted to buy two -- and perhaps replace the little Samsung "dumb" phone I use for calls and SMS. However, I won't be doing that because I would sorely miss the fact that this "dumb" phone runs for 14 days between recharges and is so small that it slips into a pouch on my belt without getting in the way at all.

Well that's my rant about phones.

How many readers will be lining up for the iPhone 8 eh?

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