Lumia 550 – Good…. until you try and get a replacement battery

I wrote previously about how good the 550 is for a $200 phone.

Sure, its a little slow sometimes…. but overall, its very good.

Lately, my battery life has been quite diminished…. as per all batteries once they get a little older.

Went online to find a new battery, bl-t5a…. could only find them from US, French or Spanish ebay sellers, who wont ship internationally… the local retailer I purchased the phone from (JB Hifi) doesn’t stock batteries… battery specialist stores, such as battery world cant get them… and Microsoft… well, im not insane enough to even try contacting them.

So, the long and short of it… im screwed. I now get approx. 4-6 hours stand-by time on my phone and basically cannot get another battery for it.

This, extremely important and very unexpected issue, means that the 550, and any other phone without a battery commonly used by android phones has to go in the “avoid at all costs” bucket…… which is unfortunate.

Lumia 930 to 550

Recently, my Lumia 930 got a little crack in the screen…. and it wasn’t very long until the little crack became a “whole of screen is shattered” crack…. the touchscreen still worked – but the seeming inability to get the screen replaced without the digitiser (at a cost of around $250) put me off trying to get it fixed.

I looked at the current generation of phones…. Lumia 950… approx. $1100 ($AUD), Lumia 550 $198 ($AUD)

I picked up a the Lumia 550, as, as the time I was undecided if I was going to try and get the 930 fixed still…. but now that I have the 550 – fuck that.

The 550 is plastic and has a 5MP camera…. but after a week of using it – so what.

The 550 is a good phone, the battery is easily swappable, its responsive, WinPhone10 has a decent music app (Unlike win phone 8.1), the Bluetooth works without dropouts…. on paper its an inferior phone…. but actually using it, its a bloody good phone at a far more reasonable price point than the 950.


I would really like to see the windows phone app for PC evolve a little though…. why on earth is it used for only syncing?

Why can’t I do things like import my internal certificates, setup email accounts, customise the start screen, create ringtones from MP3s ? This is pretty basic stuff – why make me do it from a tiny keyboard on my phone ?

Nokia Lumia 930 – update to 8.1

A message popped up on my lumia 930 stating it was ready to upgrade to windows 8.1… “cool” – was my thought – upgrade away….

After upgrading…..

  • Cortana is available on the start menu
  • if I try and open a text message, it crashes
  • if I try and make a phone call, it crashes
  • If it try and reboot, by pressing the power button, it hangs… and I had the joy of waiting until the phone ran out of battery until I could use it again (approx. 6 hours)… its not as if my mobile is important to my business of life in general… so that’s fine. (that’s sarcasm BTW Americans)
  • After that, it actually seemed to work fine


In short…. upgrade at a time where you don’t need your phone for a few hours (as in 6-8)

* update 19/01/2015 * – Today I have found the phone hangs after entering my PIN….. and since there is no way to remove the battery… I get to wait another 4-6 hours….. yay (it has currently been hung for 2 hours….)


Nokia Lumia 930

I purchased a Nokia Lumia 930 approx. a month ago now, moving up from my HTC Titan.

I found the HTC titan to be quite good overall, but the camera wasn’t the best – and now with a child and a dog doing funny things all the time, I found myself wanting a 1/2 decent camera close at hand quite often.

The main functions I use my phone for are: the phone (duh), txt messaging, music, calendar, email, torch, camera, Bluetooth and occasionally, the maps. I’ve never really been an app user, so the substantially smaller range of apps available on the windows marketplace isn’t a factor for me.

The reception on the phone is substantially better than the Titan, basically because its 4G vs. 3G, but it is nice to have far better reception in areas that used to be black spots.

Txt messaging, email, calendar, torch is all the same – and just works, the way you would expect them to.

The camera is awesome, the quality of shots and video it produces is very good – and obviously being part of the phone is very handy. This is nothing new for anyone else with a current generation phone – and I see there are lots of websites that compare the photo quality in painful detail…. for those of us that don’t expect to take professional quality photos with a phone, in my opinion, this offers a very good “always available” photo and video option.

Every now and again, I get a pop-up in another language (Korean maybe?) – which is prompting for something – and a reboot of the phone seems to be the only way out. Not sure how I am triggering the pop-up.

Overall speed and cleanliness of the interface is great, its easy to customise and easy to use.

For me, the phone has two big downsides :

– Xbox music is just rubbish. It crashes, its slow, when connecting via Bluetooth the phone wont default to playing random songs (which it did on WP 7.5) when pressing play – you have to start the app on the phone first! (Which doesn’t defeat the purpose of Bluetooth audio at all!) selecting “random play” plays all the tracks, but not randomly! you have to select random (again, it worked on WP 7.5). Hopefully an update will come out to give us back the music interface from WP 7.5 and ditch this poorly thought out rubbish.

– Non-removable battery. Apparently, Nokia, under an MS banner, has decided to take the Apple approach and try to lock people into using “authorised service centres” for doing something as basic as replacing a battery… and of course ignoring the situations where it can be handy to have a spare battery with you – and just swap it out. Shithouse design decision there.

Its possible that the music situation gets fixed (although I think unlikely) but not so for the battery.

Overall – its still a good phone, but the fixed battery and music app really lets down what otherwise, would have been awesome.

Logitech Harmony 600

i finally grabbed this all-in-one remote the other day…. it happened to be there as i was grabbing some other stuff…. so that reminded me… (and Bayls’ previous comment on my other blog post about crappy HDMI compat)

Anyhoo – i grabbed it, got it home, grabbed my make/models and plugged it in to the PC via the supplied USB cable.

First up – porgramming the thing was an absolute breeze….. logitech have made the UI so easy, even my dog (that i dont have yet) could do it – well done.

The “macro” functions, allowing multiple devices to be turned on and set to the appropriate inputs – brilliant.

My setup currently has a TV, a denon reciever and an astone media gear 310 (which is a piece of shit….) – there were setup entries in the logitech database for all of devices, so i have two simple macro’s setup, one to watch TV (TV and reciever in use) one to watch movies (all 3 devices in use)…. 

After programming, i of course tested it, everything came on correctly, however when using the “all off” function – the astone device remained on…. the little screen on the remote guided me to press “help” if i needed assistance, so i did…. “did all the devices turn off?” – No…. “is astone off?” – No, “Is it off now?” – as the remote turned it off…. now thats useful troubleshooting.

Ive only had it for a few days and there are a bucketload of buttons on there i just dont use… but it has already cut down stress with the missus – as the interface is so easy, she can use it without any issue (My wife has some type of EMP field that manages to break any electrical device she is near).

For $50 – its an absolute no brainer of a purchase – and i will be getting another one (i think the next model up) to handle my projector/amp/pc/xbox/ps3/wii setup.

* edit * – after checking out the logitech site – apparently the model i purchased is no longer available and has been replaced with the 650…. probbaly why it was a bit cheaper…. still a brilliant device (so far)

One of my employees just pointed this place out – a fair bit cheaper than RRP and than what i paid for it!


So i still have a HTC TYTN II… with a replaced battery a few months ago, its still going strong… running and official version of Windows mobile 6.1 – i have never put a hacked rom of Win 7 phone on there…. as the current version works, i think Win7 will kill the hardware, and i like my tethering.

Every now and again, i look into the current generation of phones and see if its worth upgrading…. and over the past 30 minutes – as per previous looks, ive been most confused…. not because of not understanding the technology – but wondering where these products are aimed…

Windows 7 phone, even with updates seems to to be a consumer level device with some enterprise features tacked on – but confusingly consumer level items such as a half-decent GPS (such as the iphone) or easy to use music playback seem to be lacking…. and tethering is gone…. the local MS guys claim because no-one liked tethering…. bullshit, i like it… its bloody handy. (just like apparently no-one wants Lync handsets with video – apart from every fucking customer we talk to… its not like MS to bury their heads in the sand…. )

Android 2.3 – well, one of my employees (who normally shares similar view on technology items) got a galaxy II S with android 2.3 and couldnt stop bagging the shit out of it – so that was enough for me.

IPhone 4 – Well, its definately a consumer level device… the wife has a 3GS – and quite likes it…. im a bit “meh” on it…. having said that activesync works, it makes calls (as long as you dont hold it) and the GPS/Music playing ability is kinda nice… my main issue with it seems to be that it has an “i” in front of it and “its cool” – and if the rest of soceity thinks its cool – it cant be…. i fucking hate wank talk – and apple are the kings of it.

Anyhoo – rant over. Realistically, with the rumours that iPhone 5 (or4S) is going to be out around september – that might be the best time to re-evaluate…. then i just need to find a phone provider that doesnt wrap their offerings in layers of deciet, bullshit and price-gouging…. 🙂

I know, i know…. i get grumpy when i talk about market segments that are just dodgey from top to bottom – and telecommunications is definately that.