Top 10 technology myths

Do more megapixels make for better photos? Will third-party ink ruin your printer? Using our expert testing we reveal which of these popular tech claims are actually true and which are fairy tales.

10) Keeping your laptop plugged into the mains ruins its battery

windows 8 battery life

Not true – Your battery only has a decent lifespan for a limited number of charge cycles (i.e. when you run down the battery from full to empty). Plugging your laptop into the mains avoids using one of these charge cycles.

9) You can’t get a virus on a Mac

Apple virus

Not true – PC viruses are more common than those targeted at Apple Macs but there have been several trojans targeted at Macs. Last year’s Flashback Trojan outbreak affected around 600,000 Mac users.

8) Facebook will become a paid-for service

Facebook charge for service

Not true – Facebook promises to remain a “free service for everyone”. It’s currently trialing a scheme in which users can pay to message celebrities, but we don’t suspect this practice will catch on. Facebook needs its core features to remain free so it can attract large audience for advertising.

7) High-speed memory cards mean you can take photos faster


Fastest SD memory cards table

Not true – Faster memory cards mean your camera will be able to save photos more quickly. This doesn’t necessarily translate into faster photos. A speedy SD card will come in handy for video and burst photography; see how these cards fared in our testing above.

6) More megapixels in a camera mean better photos

HTC ultrapixel

Not true – Megapixels aren’t the be all and end all of camera technology. More pixels make for more detailed photos but bigger pixels capture more light. When buying a camera you want the best of both worlds, which is why you’ll see the HTC One’s 4-megapixel, UltraPixel snapper competing against the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel camera.

5) The start menu is gone from Windows forever

Microsoft Windows start button

Not true – Microsoft is planning a return for the humble start menu in its forthcoming Windows 8.1 update. In the meantime, a free piece of software called Classic Shell will do the job.

4) ‘Unlimited broadband’ means unlimited broadband


Not true – Both BT and Sky offer truly unlimited home broadband plans but most ‘unlimited’ schemes will throttle connection speeds at peak times e.g. in the evening between 7pm to 9pm. Be sure to check the small print before you sign up for a broadband package.

3) Apple’s iPad is the fastest tablet money can buy


which tablet is the fastest

Not true – According to our expert tests, Microsoft’s Surface Pro is the tablet world’s Usain Bolt.

2) Third-party ink ruins your printer

Who sells the cheapest printer ink

Not true – Third-party ink works fine with your printer and is often cheaper to buy.

1) A 16GB phone has 16GB of free storage

Samsung Galaxy S4 storage

Not true – The amount of storage on a phone varies according to the size of its operating system and pre-installed apps. For example; the HTC Windows 8X has 15GB of free storage while the Samsung Galaxy S4 has only 9GB.

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Categories: News

13 replies

  1. As for point 1, I would have thought charging a laptop fully and then not using it for a period would mean the battery discharges – when you use it again and the charger kicks in, surely this is a charge cycle ?

  2. The battery life item is misleading. Apple, the manufacturer of the best laptop in that unfortunate graphic, recommend that batteries should be discharged once per month: they need to be ‘exercised’.

  3. Hi Ian,

    With reference to the battery myth, the aim of the post was to offer some topline answers to really common technology myths. You’re absolutely right that it’s a good idea to let your battery off the mains once a month but, as the essence of a laptop is its portability, I’d expect most laptop users do this anyway.

    What I was aiming to debunk was the commonly held perception that connecting your laptop to mains power is inherently bad for its battery life.


  4. With regards to point three on tablet speeds, I personally don’t accept the myth being debunked, and I think I know why it’s a “myth” in the first place.

    For most people the speed of a tablet (or phone or any software for that matter), is how quickly you are able to use it. Apple tends to feel the fastest for most people because there are no slowdowns, freezes, or buggy screen transitions etc. The iPad just “seems” to work and respond smoother and faster, and therefore essentially it is faster.

    I assume the debunking of the “myth” has just looked at the speed of the hardware on paper, and not the time taken to use tablets to do things?

  5. With regards to the more Megapixels means better photos, I would have thought that lens quality was as important? Certainly if I take a photo on my now outdated Lumix DMCFZ18 set to 5 megapixel resolution and compare it with my Iphone5, there is no comparison, the Lumix with its Leica lens just gives a better picture. Hard to put my finger on what it is, it’s a bit like the vinyl versus CD thing, no hard evidence, just that indefinable something that makes it better. This may not be a fair comparison, one is a tiny camera on a phone the other a dedicated camera, but somewhere in all this we’re losing sight of the bigger picture and treating picture quality on mobiles in absolute rather than relative terms.
    The battle of quality between phones is obviously relevant, but only in that context, look beyond that and no matter how clever a camera phone gets, it will never compete with a DSLR

    1. Of course the lens matters, as do other factors such as stabilisation. The point was that large pixel counts don’t necessarily result in better pictures.

  6. 4) Surely the phrase ‘unlimited broadband’ is a reference to the total amount of data you can download (or upload) in a month, and has nothing to do with connection speeds.

  7. Battery life can, I believe, be maximised by not charging to 100%. Some laptops come with software that cuts charging at about 97% capacity, for that reason. It can be over-ridden and the battery charged to 100%, for maximum run time on battery.

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