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old smartphones

What to do with your old phone

12 Apr 2016
Mark Headshot


amaysim's digital stuffologist

Unless it’s better off being used as a doorstop than a functioning device, there are lots of ways you can upcycle your old smartphone.

Your first port of call if the phones still fully functioning and doesn’t look like it’s fallen down an elevator shaft into a pot of boiling acid (i.e. it still looks sleek) is eBay or Gumtree. You’ll be competing with a lot of other people trying to rid themselves of old technology, so make sure you include good quality images and a thorough description of the device. It’s always surprising to find how true the old adage ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ is when selling things second-hand.

If your phone is not quite up to the task of functioning as a phone anymore there are a few other useful options. Make sure you get to work on time and use it as your alarm clock—you can use the already existing clock or download a new whizz-bang one from the App Store. Use it as a remote control to change songs or control your devices; or, download an app that lets you use it as an offline GPS.

Here are a few other great ideas for recycling or upcycling your old mobile phone. You no longer have to worry about it impacting the environment by sitting for eternity in a landfill.

Remember when you were a kid and you loved getting calls on your fake plastic phone? Kids these days won’t settle for anything less than an iPhone 4 if they’re going to make important calls about play dough and finger painting. If your phone no longer works why not head down to your local kindergarten and donate the old brick to some little tykes who will get a kick out of pretending they’re grown ups.

Use it as a surveillance camera

Now you can really know who stole the cookie from the cookie jar. Manything turns your old smartphone into a video monitoring device. You can set it up to provide video surveillance of rooms in your house while you’re out or set it to monitor one specific area (like a cookie jar). Capture some of the day-to-day happenings in your household, I recently used an old phone to figure out what my dog gets up to while I’m at work.

Cure diseases from afar

You don’t need to study for years in order to help cure diseases. All you need is an old device (can be a smartphone or computer) and an Internet connection and you could help cure illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancer or Ebola. Folding@Home is a result of Sony and Stanford University teaming up to use the processing power of devices around the world to enable scientists to do protein folding. You simply let the program run on your device for a few hours (or days if you like) and you’ve already made a huge difference in helping cure diseases.

If in doubt Recycle

Not-for-profit Mobile Muster is on a mission to recycle all unwanted smartphones in Australia. They’ll also recycle your phone batteries along with the accessories. They’re government accredited and dismantle all mobile phones, destroying all data left on the device before they’re recycled (they are never sold for reuse). You can drop off your old phone at an Australia Post shop or search for your nearest Mobile Muster drop off point, or post it in.

Put it in a time capsule

Create a time capsule and bury it in your garden to dig up with your grandchildren in years to come. You can have a great old time laughing about how you used to have to press buttons and hold a brick up to your ear to speak to people on the other side of the world. You’ll dream of a simpler time as you mentally dial the number of your old friend and make a phone call using the chip implanted in your brain.

What do you do with your old phone when you upgrade? Are you going to try out any of these? Let us know in the comments.



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Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5: Everything we know so far

13 Aug 2020

Fresh on the heels of the Pixel 4A being announced, the hype train for the Google Pixel 5 is now well and truly underway.

After months of speculation about whether the Pixel 5 launch would be pushed back, Google put much of this chatter to rest by providing a sneak peak of the Pixel 5 during the recent launch of the Pixel 4A.

Last years flagship device, the Pixel 4, was a phone full of potential. As we've come to expect from the Pixel series, it featured an incredibly powerful camera, however its average battery life, held it back from being a serious contender for phone of the year.

While the Pixel 4 had its flaws, it was still a really good phone overall, and it will interesting to see how this years model, stacks up against other flagship models from 2020 such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 12.

With all this said, we wouldn't count Google out from delivering something special and with such a positive early response to the Pixel 4A, perhaps 2020 will prove to be the year of the Pixel.

To help bring you up to speed on what Google has in-store with this years flagship Pixel device, here's everything we know so far about the Pixel 5.

at a glance: rumoured Google Pixel 5 features

  • Expected October release
  • 5G connectivity
  • Android 11
  • New camera features; Adjustable Flash, Motion Blur & Audio Zoom
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G

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    Expect 5G

    It's widely expected the Pixel 5 will include 5Gconnectivity.

    The feature was all but confirmed in early August with the announcement of the Pixel 4A, where Google teased two new 5G devices, the Pixel 5 and a 5G version of the Pixel 4A, both of which are set to be released during the final quarter of 2020.

    Release Date

    Since the phone’s inception back in 2016, Google has remained incredibly consistent with their release schedule for the flagship Pixel series, with all previous launches taking place in October. This trend is set to continue, after a leak surfaced from a Google affiliated website in France, claiming the Pixel 5 will be available for pre-order from October 8.

    Android 11

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since a beta version of Android 11 is already available for public download, however it’s expected the Pixel 5 will be the first device to don the latest Android software straight out the box.

    Some of the expected improvements and features of Android 11 include a new media player widget, easier ways to control smart home devices using your phone, a new power button menu and refinements to the messaging system and conversation bubbles.

    Pixel 5 Render
    Image Credit: Google

    Design & Display

    Last year Google teased images of the Pixel 4 in the months leading up to its official launch. This time round, the only confirmed sighting of the Pixel 5 has been the side image (seen above) which Google teased during the launch of the Pixel 4A.

    Outside of this image, there have been a number of different leaks floating about which have helped paint a picture of what this years phone might look like.

    Like the Pixel 4, it's expected the Pixel 5 will feature an OLED panel, with a matte glass finish on the back and full HD/QHD resolution. According to Front Page Tech who gained access to an early Pixel 5 prototype, a forehead bezel on the front side of the device is also expected to remain.

    In terms of refresh rate, last year we got to enjoy a smooth 90Hz experience with the Pixel 4. However with Samsung (and others) already making the jump to 120Hz and Apple reportedly looking to do the same with the iPhone 12, it will be interesting to see if Google sees this as an important feature upgrade and whether they'll look to roll out a 120Hz refresh rate with the Pixel 5.

    A Mighty Fine Camera

    While earlier leaks suggested the Pixel 5 would include a triple-lens camera on the rear of the device, more recent leaks suggest Google will once again opt for a two camera setup on the back.

    The quality of images with the Pixel 4 were outstanding, so it's not as if this should be a concern. For some though, the added flexibility of a third, wide angle lens, would of been the cherry on top, for a camera that many consider one of the top-tier mobile phone cameras.

    With that said, Google doesn't appear to be standing still, instead opting to fine-tune the Pixel's two-camera setup by adding new features.

    Expected new features include an adjustable camera flash, a new motion blur feature and the introduction of audio zoom, which will allow you to zoom in when recording video to help you capture audio more precisely.

    Long story short, it looks like we're in for a treat with this years camera setup.

    Under The Hood

    In the past, Pixel devices have typically featured the best Qualcomm chip available, which this year would be the Snapdragon 865 Plus. With the Pixel 5, this might not be case, with an inside scoop from 9to5Google suggesting the phone may be shipped with a Snapdragon 765G processor.

    The Snapdragon 765 is more of a mid-range chip, unlike the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which powers the latest Samsung phones. This would suggest slightly less processing power than some of its competitors. With that said, the 765 is obviously no slouch and will still pack a solid punch in terms of performance.

    In terms of RAM, while it hasn't been a huge strength of the Pixel series in the past, there should be improvements on this front, with the Pixel 5 set to include 8GB of RAM in comparison to last years 6GB.