Published by Adam, technology contributor.
Curious to see how much data I actually use, I've been testing out my Samsung Galaxy S II’s data usage for the past fortnight. Your My3 account lets you keep tabs on how much data you've used each day, and some phones – like mine – also have a built-in data estimator.
In the two weeks I was monitoring the data I used, I used a total of 1.2GB through my normal usage. Some of the typical things I use my phone for have surprised me in how much, or indeed how little data they use day-to-day.
Using my smartphone as a sat nav for long journeys.
One of the most useful things I've found with the Galaxy S II is that I’ve been able to replace my ageing TomTom sat nav, using Google Navigation instead which is part of the Google Maps app.
Visiting a friend in Oxford, I had the chance to test this out over a 50-mile route. With satellite view enabled on the way there, I ploughed through a total of 53MB. On the way back, however, I was more familiar with the route, so I used the standard map view which used less than 8MB of data.
Streaming films to my phone.
Another app I expected to be data-intensive was Netflix. I signed up to this recently and have been using it on my phone pretty often. Watching a 24-minute episode of The IT Crowd consumed 94MB, which works out to just under 4MB per minute. With lots of films and TV series to catch up on, I've used 567MB in two weeks!
Email and social networking.
Apps that I thought might use lots of data were things like the Facebook app and Gmail. I tend to check these quite a few times each day, but my daily Facebook average data is only 2.7MB.
My Gmail, which I have set to push email messages on my phone as soon they arrive in my inbox, has used a daily average of just 0.25MB - a tiny amount! I do have images turned off by default though, so this might explain it.
Surprise data drains.
Apps that used a lot more data than I expected were Dropbox and Google Plus. Both of these were for the same reason - the option to automatically upload photos and videos that you've taken.
This is a great feature, as your photos are safe if you're ever unlucky enough to lose or break your phone, but it can use up a large chunk of data unless you tweak the settings to switch it off.
I was pleasantly surprised by the small amount of data my email used up – even getting up to 50 emails a day used up very little of my data. As for my total data use for the fortnight, I was shocked I hit 1GB so quickly. If you were trying to stick to a data allowance, video is really something you’d really need to keep an eye on. But I’ve got all-you-can-eat data so I don’t need to worry about how much data I’m using.