What is the best mobile phone to use for Uber driving?
Ok, I have to admit it – maybe it is probably not the best mobile phone out there, it might not be even to best phone for Uber drivers either. But, after trying and testing numerous handsets from different platforms and different operators, I am in awe of the little Chinese mobile I have bought recently.
I started driving for Uber in London with an iPhone 6. Yes, it was fine in the beginning, but Waze was sluggish, and the iPhone location function wasn’t always on top of the game, especially in the tiny little streets in central London. You know all these small one-way streets in Soho and around Tower Hill tube station – they can be very tricky, especially for a new and inexperienced driver. It is very easy to get lost, and without proper navigation, it might be impossible to get out in time for the next pickup.
A lot of taxi drivers will say to spend some time and learn the roads but if you are like me – drive only part-time and focus your attention elsewhere – it is information that you might never need and it can be time-consuming learning all the roads in central London, especially if you are not planning to make a living off taxi driving. An accurate GPS location is crucial for Uber and my iPhone just wasn’t there.
As my contract was expiring, I decide to try the Samsung Note … It was significantly faster and more responsive than the iPhone – Waze was running like a champ, and the location was notably more accurate than the iPhone. Don’t get me as an Android or iOS fanboy – I can work with either just fine, with a little more preference towards the iOS due to being a Mac user – it just sinks better with my digital world and the devices I have play nice together. Android can be a bit more tunable, although that has gone downhill lately and more and more handsets come with locked bootloaders and integrated batteries and no SD card slots.
For me, the most important thing for the Uber work process is how quickly it will process and display the navigation screen with proper location after accepting a trip. It is crucial because I might receive a job request at a stop light or right before a major intersection. I need to be able quickly to accept the trip and figure out where I am according to the passenger. The iPhone failed me miserably many times before I changed it to the Samsung. The Samsung was no peach either – many many times Waze or Google Maps will show the wrong direction until I drive for a few meters. See, this can be crucial as I can pass the only viable exit while waiting for the satnav to locate me and lose precious minutes before I get stuck in proper rush hour London traffic. Most likely a cancellation will follow shortly after and piss me off.
One rainy London afternoon I drove to an ASDA parking lot, went out o the car to get something to eat, and my precious Samsung dropped. Being the lucky chap I am, it shattered the screen while falling into a puddle of water. It died a quick and painless death.
While I was wondering what my next phone should be, I stumbled upon an interesting deal from AliExpress. It was discussed on Hot UK Deals. Let me introduce you to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro:
It is the most fantastic, if I can say that, mobile phone that I have ever used in my life. Yes, Xiaomi has better models and specced phones on the market, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Several factors make it unique but most of all it is the GPS sensor it uses. It localizes you instantly – and I mean instantly. I have never lostGPS signal anywhere in London, ever. Even between the tall building in Canary Wharf, even in the tiny narrow one-way streets in Soho. Never.
It is fairly quick as well – on par with my Samsung. Here are the specs in case you are a geek and want to talk numbers. It features SnapDragon 650 processor with six processing cores. The Redmi Note 3 Pro comes in two versions – the lesser one has 2Gb RAM and 16Gb onboard storage while the better one has 3Gb RAM and 32Gb storage. To be honest, there isn’t that big of a difference between the two of them except for the storage and RAM configurations – they both feature six-core SnapDragon 650 processor and all the goodies. You can check all the specs at GSMArena, but here are just a few to get the general idea about the phone:
Processor: 64-bit Hexa-Core Snapdragon 650 with Adreno 520 graphics.
Screen: Full HD 5.5″ IPS Display – 1920×1080 pixels, 403 PPI
Memory: 3Gb Dual Channel DDR3 RAM
Storage: 32Gb Internal + Up to 256Gb MicroSD Card Slot
Battery: Massive 4050 mah battery
Misc: Fingerprint Reader, Dual SIM card, Fast Charge, FM Radio, Android 6.0
The only thing to consider it that it doesn’t work with all GSM operators in the UK.
It has no issues with EE and Three, but it might not work properly with Vodaphone and O2. It lacks the 800Mhz band that those operators use for data and voice communication. It has no issues with Three or EE though – personally tested and still using it today on both operators.