Most of us are suffering from sub-zero temperatures, but we’re not going to stop going about our business just because of a bit of snow and ice. But what about your phone – will it keep running as temperatures drop?
If it’s an iPhone 4S, maybe not. It was news to me that Apple says its iPhones can only be used in temperatures between 0 and 35˚C.
However, a report by MikroPC (Finland’s PCWorld) points out that Apple revokes responsibility if an iPhone stops working in temperatures below 0˚C.
I don’t own an iPhone, but I know plenty of people who do, and yet I’ve never heard of anyone’s iPhone breaking down as snow falls around them. So perhaps Apple is just playing it safe? MikroPC took an iPhone 4S, and 15 other mobile phones, to Finland’s Technical Research Centre to find out.
iPhone 4S first to freeze over
Well, Apple isn’t lying – as soon as temperatures dropped down to -5˚C in MikoPC’s test the iPhone 4S started to report errors. When the temperature dropped another five degrees it packed it in altogether after announcing a dead battery. Nokia’s N9 also performed badly at similar temperatures.
In fact, most smartphones kicked the bucket at temperatures colder than -15˚C. It was the slightly more humble feature phones, like a cheap Nokia C1-01 and an old Nokia E65, that stayed the path until temperatures of around -40˚C. Now, that’s bloomin’ freezing and it’s good that the Finnish mobile manufacturer could ensure they’d survive at such temperatures, as -40˚C isn’t rare in the middle of Finnish winters.
And although we don’t have to worry about such Arctic temperatures here in old Blighty, we are certainly suffering from chills that would stop an iPhone or Nokia N9 from working. The thermometer plummeted to as low as -10˚C in the New Forest (at night) when I went home for the weekend. So is there a smartphone that can grit it out?
Samsung’s sub-zero smartphone
Apparently Samsung is the company to lay bets on. This Korean phone manufacturer guarantees its phones will work as low as -20˚C, and the popular Samsung Galaxy SII actually held out until -35˚C in MikroPC’s tests.
Who knows how Samsung has managed to do it – it’s partly due to its AMOLED screen which can take the chill, unlike the LCD screens you’ll see on Apple’s iPhone. But the fact that its battery kept on working, where most phones would report that it was dead (due to a chemical reaction in cold temperatures) is impressive.
So, would the performance of these phones at such low temperatures affect what mobile you’d spend your money on?
I know most of us wouldn’t want to take our gloves off to use a smartphone in such chilly conditions, but what if you were stranded with snow up to your knees in the middle of the night? Wouldn’t you want to put your hopes in a more solid feature phone or a Samsung smartphone, than in something that will pack it in as soon the weather threatens to go below zero?