Top ten tips: Smartphone grumbles

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THEY cost a fortune and are increasingly a must-have – but research from uSwitch.com shows a staggering 71 per cent of smartphone users have had problems with their top-of-the-range handsets.

As phones get more complex it seems they don’t get any easier to use and frustrated owners report having difficulties doing even basic things like making calls and sending texts. Here Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, reveals the top ten smartphone bugbears.

1 Short battery life

A perennial problem that seems unlikely to go away, considering that today’s smartphones boast huge appetites when it comes to sapping power. Almost half of smartphone users (48 per cent) aren’t happy with how long their batteries last before they need recharging. Power can be rinsed by apps running in the background on smartphones, and the popularity of data-hungry activities like streaming videos.

2 No internet or 3G

For almost a third of Brits (31 per cent), a lack of mobile internet connection is a major gripe. Before signing up for a new phone deal, compare the expected quality of internet and 3G coverage with the networks where you live. If service for one provider is no good in your area, be sure to switch to one that has you covered.

3 Slow browsing speeds

Slow surfing has bugged 27 per cent of smartphone owners. Consider getting a “4G-ready” handset if you are on the market for buying a new smartphone and if 4G is available to you. The super-fast service has been already rolled out to a number of major cities, and with networks already selling 4G enabled devices, it’s important that your next mobile is able to take advantage of superfast speeds if you want to put an end to sluggish surfing once and for all.

4 Screens freezing

Software glitches causing screens to freeze up have plagued almost a quarter of smartphone users (23 per cent). Needless to say, this is incredibly inconvenient if you’re in the middle of composing an e-mail or text message and you have to start all over again.

5 Patchy coverage

Making calls and texting are fundamental to mobile functionality but almost a fifth of Brits (19 per cent) have had problems carrying out these basic tasks on high-tech handsets. Are smartphones becoming too smart for their own good?

6 Bad reception

Only 15 per cent reported bad reception as one of their biggest recurring gripes. With the rising popularity of video calling apps and instant messaging services, there is a fallback option to phone calls, though it’s likely that if you have bad phone reception, you may well be in an area with a patchy mobile internet service too.

7 Software faults

Glitchy operating systems and apps have affected 14 per cent of smartphones. Making sure you have the most up-to-date version of your OS and download new versions of apps as they come out will usually iron out any bugs.

8 Sending and receiving texts

As phones have got smarter, they have also got more temperamental. Even sending a simple text message is a struggle for 12 per cent, while 7 per cent have struggled to receive text messages too.

9 Calls cutting out

The basic function of a mobile phone is to make and receive calls, right? Not according to 13 per cent of respondents, who reported calls cutting out mid-flow. Not only does it make you look impolite to friends, but it’s even more embarrassing for those in the middle of a conversation with work contacts. Another 6 per cent have reported trouble receiving calls too.

10 Slow streaming speeds

Streaming music, films and favourite TV shows is one of the best things about owning a smartphone – it certainly makes the morning commute that little bit more bearable. But one in ten people (10 per cent) have found streaming speeds are unbearably sluggish. Time to go back to the book.