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Geek Guru Tablet

Choosing the Right Equipment - Tablets

Posted on September 06th, 2013 by Emily

 

Our series of posts on how to choose new equipment continues today with some important advice for those who are considering buying a tablet for business or personal use.

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Tablets are soaring in popularity. In 2012, almost 25% of all new computer sales were tablets. They are becoming popular, because they combine the processing power for everyday tasks and multimedia along with a larger touchscreen than most smartphones, in a package that is lighter than some hardback books, and is easily portable.

They can be a valuable tool for business and personal users alike, allowing notes to be taken or tasks to be completed quickly and easily.

So, what kind should you choose? Like smartphones, there are a few considerations that need to be made before you choose. Firstly, you’ll want to consider what the purpose of it will be. If it’s to be something used for many applications at once, or to open complex applications or large databases, you’ll need one that’s capable of handling whatever you can throw at it. If you’re just going to use it for reading documents, replying to emails and accessing the internet, you may be able to go for something a bit simpler.

These are the factors we feel have been most important to many of our clients at the moment:

 

  • Processor Speed / RAM
  • Storage Capacity
  • Screen Size
  • Battery Life
  • Size / Weight
  • Durability
  • Design
  • Available Apps
  • Manufacturer
  • Budget

 

Really, when it comes to tablets, there are only really three choices for operating system – iOS, Android or Windows 8. Tablets using Windows RT have had a poor reception, and their popularity continues to decline. As such, we would not really recommend anyone to purchase Microsoft’s Surface RT, but rather to consider the Surface Pro that runs a full copy of Windows 8.

When it comes to Windows 8 vs Android vs iOS, it’s really user preference. For ease of use and stability, iOS is king, but for sheer number of apps, configurability, and developer options while still being an operating system designed for mobile devices, Android usually wins out. For integration into a Windows network, and running the same apps you can in the office on your PC, Windows 8 tablets come in top, although the Surface Pro does sometimes seem more like a laptop than a regular tablet. It also often depends largely on what technology the user already has – for example, those with an iPhone may prefer to purchase an iPad for enhanced connectivity between devices, and Android devices work much the same.

All three of these operating systems can read many types of documents through the use of various apps, plus they can also cloud storage systems like Dropbox or SkyDrive to sync documents. They can connect to Microsoft Exchange (many business mail servers operate on Exchange) and perform simple tasks such as browsing the internet or playing media files.

When it comes to choosing a model, it’s pretty similar to smartphones. For example, if you’re going to be using it for extended periods, you’ll need good battery life. If you need a simple, user-friendly interface, you may go for an iPad. If you have a limited budget, then Google’s Nexus series may be the best choice. If you’re a designer or artist, then Samsung’s tablets with the specially designed S-Pen and pressure sensitivity may be what you need.

Again, with technology of this type (as with smartphones) you tend to get what you pay for, and we always advise going with a reputable manufacturer and vendor. There are many cheaper models available for simple, everyday use, but some of these may lack the necessary power for your business needs, so it’s best to find out exactly what you’ll need it for before making a choice.

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If you need more in depth advice about tablets or any other IT-related topic, then be sure to get in contact with us at Geek Guru. We’ll be happy to provide some more information tailored to your needs, and help you find the ideal piece of equipment.

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 3

Posted on September 04th, 2013 by Emily

 

So you’ve heard about the different operating systems available. What else should you consider when looking to purchase a new smartphone? There’s more than you may think…

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The decision to purchase a new smartphone shouldn’t be made on the strength of the software alone. If the device doesn’t have the capacity to store much, lacks the processing power to do what you need it to, or is flimsy or badly made, you’ll soon be looking to replace the device again.

You may wonder what else there is to look for in a smartphone, so, with that in mind – here’s a list of things that we feel should be considered.

Make sure you have a rough idea of what kinds of things you need it to do, then consider the following:

  • Manufacturer / Retailer – Purchasing from a reputable manufacturer and retailer is the best thing you can do to ensure that your phone will be of certain quality and safety standards, and will be replaced if there is a manufacturing defect.
  • Processing Power – More complicated apps require more processing power to run. More processing power means a faster, more responsive phone.
  • RAM – More ram allows you to have more apps open simultaneously, switch between tasks more smoothly and open larger files.
  • Storage – On-board storage or Expandable via Micro SD Card, more storage space allows you to store more apps and files directly on the device.
  • Screen Quality – Higher resolution screens mean that things appear less pixelated and often makes things easier to read
  • Camera – Some businesses may use this feature, (for example, the presence of a front facing camera for video conferencing) so the presence and quality of any cameras should be considered.
  • Size and Weight – No one wants to carry something that’s too large and heavy for them to use effectively or too small to see everything they need to.
  • Battery Life – Some smartphones have huge processing power but of course, doing high demand tasks on the device often drains the battery faster. Some phones have power saving modes to use and consume less power, others have more powerful batteries.

 

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new smartphone. Some of the points mentioned may not be as important as others, as requirements vary from individual to individual.

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Next on the Geek Guru list – Tablets! Considering buying one? Give our blog a read first and it may help you to choose the best one for you or your business!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 2

Posted on September 02nd, 2013 by Emily

 

Continuing our articles on how to choose equipment that suits your needs, today we’re looking at two more types of smartphone available on the market.

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While iPhone and Android are the two most popular OS choices for new smartphones, there are two more options. These options are a little more uncommon but still have their own style, strengths and weaknesses.

  • Windows Phone

While Windows based smartphones have limited popularity at the moment, they do still have something to offer businesses. The Windows Phone UI is in the same ‘metro’-type style as Windows 8, meaning if you like the way Windows 8 is laid out, you’ll be comfortable with Windows Phone.

It also has many of the apps offered on Windows 8, through Live Apps, which can be useful if you find yourself looking for an app to use both on your PC and on the move. It is integrated well with SkyDrive, and comes with a built-in Office 365 companion package that allows you to use Outlook, Lync, SharePoint, and read Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Because it’s not as popular as Android, it lacks some of the apps, but it is still a useful, robust, Office 365-integrated operating system, supported by Microsoft with regular updates.

Like Android, there are various manufacturers who make Windows phones, so there are a variety of models to choose from, varying in processing power, size and price.

  • BlackBerry

BlackBerry smartphones used to be very popular with businesses, because of the way BlackBerry phones were geared towards communication – most still come with a full QWERTY keyboard, and this makes them attractive to people who need to send long emails or messages while on the move. Another popular feature is the tighter security of BlackBerry, which makes them good for businesses with mobile workers who regularly need to handle sensitive or valuable data – And you can bring all of your employees’ devices together with the BlackBerry PC platform, making them easier to manage. Blackberry devices are built with constant use in mind and usually have good battery life.

Unfortunately, while the feature set of some of the phones is very good, many of the phones are slow and unresponsive, lacking the raw processing power that really is needed for some tasks. They are also complicated to set up, and difficult to troubleshoot if things go wrong.  Some models are also extremely fragile.

The operating system, while secure, seems slow, and because the devices are restricted in hardware, there are fewer options available than with Android. Like all other types of smartphone, it has an app store, but the choices here are also, unfortunately, rather limited.

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Although the phone’s operating system is a huge consideration to make when purchasing a smartphone, there are some other things you’ll want to consider. We’ll be including a checklist of other things to consider in our next post, so be sure to come back for more information!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Geek Guru Phone

Choosing the Right Equipment - Smartphones - Part 1

Posted on August 30th, 2013 by Emily

 

If you’re looking to purchase a new smartphone, there’s a few things you should consider. Today we’ll take a look at the first two main types of smartphones available for potential buyers.

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At the moment, there are four main types of smartphones available. iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. While they all have some similar features, they also have an awful lot of differences.

We’ve put together some of the basics you should know about the four main types of smartphone, to try and help you make a more informed decision.

We’ll start off with the two most popular choices available:

  • iPhone

The iPhone runs iOS, Apple’s proprietary, strictly controlled software for its own hardware. iPhones have become immensely popular over the past few years, and the current iPhone 5 is no exception. One of the benefits of an iPhone is that they are all manufactured identically, so the operating system is designed to run as smoothly as possible on specific hardware, meaning bugs are rare. They are mostly well designed and built, to strict quality standards.

iOS is also very user friendly, offering a wide range of apps from the App Store for advanced users, while still being simple, intuitive and easy to use for those who are not fond of technology.

One of the limitations of the iPhone is that it has a unibody design and thus the battery is not user replaceable, nor can you add more storage like you can in most Android phones. iOS also feels limited sometimes with the tight controls Apple have over the App Store and configuration options.

  • Android Phones

There are a wide variety of Android phone models out there, but the two most popular manufacturers at the moment are Samsung and HTC.  There are many other manufacturers, though, and there are so many makes and models that it can be confusing to know what to buy. However, because there are so many models, there is a phone to suit pretty much every pocket.

Android OS is not limited to a small, specific set of hardware to run on, so you can get phones ranging from blazing fast speed with super multitasking capabilities, HD screen and great graphics in games, to a small and simple smartphone that you could use to check your email, browse the web and make calls. Because of the variety of hardware it’s designed to run on, there are often more bugs in the Android operating system, but because there are less controls on what’s run on Android and what’s available in the Google Play store, there are a wider variety of apps and the OS is far more configurable, making it good for power users. That said, there is still a side of Android that can make it a good, cost effective choice for users who don’t want too many complicated options or features.

Many Android smartphones come with the capability of adding additional storage space through use of a higher capacity MicroSD card, good for people who take tons of photos, have a massive music collection, or need to store large amounts of data or large files on their phones.

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There’s a lot more to consider when buying a smartphone, and we’ll be covering the other two types, along with some other features you may want to consider, in our next few articles. Keep your eyes on our blog for more useful info!

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If you need more information about smartphones or guidance on choosing one that’s right for your business, or if you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, get in contact with us!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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