Top 10 tech irritations

This stuff should work by now! TechRadar takes some common technology to task

Today's laptops still rarely get more than five hours of battery life (much less if you do anything useful). While converged smartphones (with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and GPRS/EDGE competing for power) often won't last more than 36 hours without a sneaky top-up charge. Poor battery life is the thorn in the side of the Nokia N95 and, if you surf the web a lot, it rubs some of the shine off of Apple's iPhone 3G. Where are those hydrogen fuel cells we've been promised?

5. Early obsolescence

It's the curse of the early adopter. Buy any brand new technology today and the clock starts ticking down to that moment when it's superseded by something better/faster/smaller/bigger/cheaper. The worst thing is, product lifespans seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

TVs, digital cameras, camcorders and laptops are all replaced and refreshed annually. It's likely that a better mobile phone than yours will be on sale before you're half-way through an 18-month contract. Apple's original GPRS/EDGE iPhone lasted only eight months in the UK before it was replaced by the 3G version.

Even then, the iPhone 3G isn't the revolutionary update that many people expected. Why didn't Apple update the 2MP camera? Why not offer a 32GB version? All the more reason not to buy one. Want to bet that Apple launches a more powerful iPhone model in 2009? Or an iPhone nano?

6. Tech support lines

Anyone who knows a little bit about technology will want to avoid calling a technical support line. If you've got a problem, you'll try to fix it yourself.

You'll reset it, perhaps give it a thwack, then reset it again. You'll try reinstalling the software, consulting the manual and updating the drivers. You'll shout. A lot. And before you admit defeat, you'll Google the problem and sift through a ton of forum posts, hoping that someone, somewhere across the Internet, has had the same problem as you (and has handily fixed it).

Because the wisdom of the crowd is far better than the last resort – calling tech support. First you've actually got to get your call answered. Is it just us or do tech support services only seem to be available between 2pm and 3pm, on the third Thursday in every month, and via a premium rate phone line that costs you £1 per minute?

And when (or indeed if) you get through, past the patronising recorded loop of "I'm sorry, all of our lines are busy... your call is important to us...", you're treated like a prize idiot by a call centre-jockey reading from a script. You can sense the ire-sparking opening gambit coming – "have you tried turning it off and on again, sir?" Grr.

7. Speed cameras

British drivers should rejoice at the news that Swindon Borough Council plans to scrap its speed cameras and spend the £400,000 it saves on other safety measures. The cameras are a "blatant tax on motorists" say the Council, which doesn't get any of the revenues earned by fining speeding drivers. Britain is, however, still the most monitored country in the world. There are over four million cameras watching our every move...

8. Ringtones

We're all for personalising mobile phones, but for God's sake do it quietly. Chirpy polyphonic ringtones and song samples have become a national disease. People who buy ringtones seem to split into two types. There are those people who are so embarrassed when their phone starts playing Dizzee Rascal's "Dance wiv me" that they can't answer the call fast enough.

And then there are those who do the opposite – listen to the ringtone play in its entirety, often missing the phone call.