Margaret Malt, wife Vodafone eForum Community Champion Henry, has been using a smartphone for the first time ever. Here's her account of how it all went...


At Vodafone we’re keen for as many people as possible to join the smartphone world, and to get access to the brilliant apps, services and online super powers that come with it. But if you’ve never used a smartphone before, we know all that can seem a bit daunting. Which is why we’ve tasked a complete smartphone novice to use a brand new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, and let us know how the transition went.


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Enter Margaret Malt, wife of Vodafone eForum Community Champion Henry, and self-professed technology beginner. She’s been dipping her toes in the smartphone waters for a few weeks now, so it’s time to catch up and see how she got on…

Walk before you run

Margaret Malt“I’ve used a number of cast-off old phones over the years,” Margaret tells us. “Phones which may have been state-of-the-art when they were first bought by Henry, but fell to me years later. Eventually, however, when all the family moved up to smartphones, I got a fairly basic Pay as you go mobile, which I only used for phone calls and texts. It was just a ‘mobile phone’ in the truest sense, and I didn’t even have it on all the time.”

So what was it like going from that simple phone to a smartphone? Margaret reveals she got off to a bit of a shaky start:

“First off, I had to learn how to swipe up and down on the screen at the right pace, and how to tap on onscreen objects properly. These may sound like simple things, but a lot of people take the ability to navigate a smartphone for granted. I find it difficult to use the keyboard with my fingers, for example, as I’ll keep hitting the wrong letters.”


“And when I’m swiping I’ll occasionally catch the top or the bottom of the screen and launch the wrong app. I don’t use the touchscreen on my laptop very much either – I don’t know why, but I just don’t get on with touchscreens!”

Not the best of starts, then. Thankfully, Community Champion Henry soon found a quick way to help Margaret solve all those issues: a smartphone stylus.

“It was a revelation when I was given a stylus, as this enabled me to use the phone easily. And as soon as I’d got to grips with that side of things, it all became much less scary.”

The stylus made Margaret’s typing and tapping much more accurate, so her initial trepidation soon subsided. In no time at all she found herself using her Sony Xperia Z1 Compact in much the same way as the rest of her tech-savvy family…

Totally addicted to apps

“I use Facebook on my laptop,” Margaret tells us, “so Facebook on the phone, as well as Gmail, became essential immediately. It’s really useful to be able to communicate with people using these services wherever you are. I’ve made the odd call, but I no longer think mobile phones are really just for making calls these days!”

And with things like Facebook on hand 24/7, it didn’t take long before Margaret found herself in the throes of a smartphone addiction:

“I’m now as bad as the rest of my family when it comes to sitting around, lost in my smartphone screen! The main advantage is that I now tend to keep my laptop plugged in in our study, instead of lugging it into the living room. Being able to take the phone into the living room to use Facebook and the like is very convenient. Having a smartphone is definitely changing my habits in that way – I look at it as a mini laptop.”


But it’s not just Facebook and emails; Margaret has slowly been uncovering a slew of useful tools and apps:

“I’m a bit obsessed with the BBC News, too. I’ve got the Guardian app, and the Wimbledon app. And I’ve also used CityMapper, which was useful when I was in London – I’m fascinated by the concept of being able to tell where the busses are in ‘real time’. I’ve also started checking the weather and making notes on the phone, but I haven’t explored everything just yet.

“The other big thing I like is the camera. It’s exceedingly convenient having a camera on hand at all times. If I’m out and I’ve forgotten my camera, it doesn’t matter now. And because I’ve got the Dropbox app on the phone and the laptop, my photographs are automatically sent to the computer.

“I’ve got rather addicted in a short space of time,” Margaret tells us, “so I definitely don’t think I want to go back to my old phone.”

Handy advice

With Margaret well and truly converted to the world of smartphones, we were keen to hear what advice she would offer to anyone in a similar position to her.

“Beginning can be difficult, but the benefits of owning a smartphone do become obvious.”

“I would say that if you’re an older person who isn’t technically minded, beginning can be difficult, but the benefits of owning a smartphone do become obvious.”

Margaret explains that she was helped along the way by her tech-savvy husband Henry, but what if you don’t have an expert on hand and in the house? We’ve got you covered in a variety of ways.

Pop into any Vodafone store on the high street and our team of mobile maestros will be happy to get you up and running, and to walk you through the basics of your new phone or tablet. Head to the Vodafone UK YouTube page, meanwhile, and you’ll find a huge array of help videos that take the mystery out of getting everything set up.

And, if you’re in need of a no-nonsense translation for all that smartphone jargon, look no further than our complete guide to smartphones. Just click the link below to read the whole thing for free:


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Ready to take the plunge? You can check out our huge range of smartphones on Vodafone Pay as you go and Vodafone Pay monthly here. Read up on how we’ll help you ‘find your feet’ with the mobile internet here.