The time for replacing mobile phones is approaching.
I bought a Microsoft Lumia 640 in autumn 2016, and while it works well as a phone, and in many ways as a smartphone too, the gradual falling away of support is causing an increase in frustration as various apps stop working. Last year I started having problems with the Kindle app, having to re-log in with dual authentication every time the phone updated, and eventually at the end of 2017 it refused to accept my login any more. Then earlier this year I realised that Opera mini had become unusable, needing minutes to open a web page where microsoft edge took seconds. Endomondo continues with limited functionality, and the Kobo reading app is as painfully slow to open as it always was.
To my disappointment, the enormously irritating whatsapp continues to funtion with annoying speed and efficiency, but at least that's useful.
While I love the 3-5 day battery life, excellent GPS performance and good call quality, the gradual failing of key bits of software have made me start looking at a replacement sooner that I'd hoped. Having paid less than 70 quid for this, I'm now reluctant to splurge 300+ quid on a phone, and have begun looking at the Chinese market as an alternative supply route. Xiaomi have a good reputation, and I can get a decent phablet through that route for around £100-£130, give or take. Really I'd like something smaller, preferably with a sub-5" screen that could fit comfortably in a trouser pocket, but such things just aren't made for mainstream users any more. So a phablet seems almost inevitable - might as well go large in that case - since my present 5" phone is too big already.
China is outside the EU, and in order to get a good price I'd be dodging customs. Some might see that as entirely reasonable, and I was fairly ambivalent about it a couple of years ago, but it just doesn't sit so well with me now.