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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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Choosing the Right Equipment - Printers

Posted on August 28th, 2013 by Emily

 

Looking to buy a new printer, and interested to know what your options are, and what the pros and cons are of each type? You may find today’s post to be helpful!

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The type of printer you need really depends on the type of printing you’re going to be doing. If you’re printing smaller amounts of full colour documents, images or photos, then a high end inkjet printer may be what you need. If you don’t print too often, and you are not worried about speed, a consumer inkjet may be just the job. If your business produces mainly text documents (for example correspondence for mailing,) at a high capacity and needs them done quickly, then a laser printer may be the best option for you. Here’s our list of pros and cons for each type of printer.

 

Laser Printers

 

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Efficient
  • Super sharp quality
  • High capacity

Cons:

  • Paper printing only
  • Not great for photos or images
  • Larger and heavier
  • More expensive to buy and maintain

 

Inkjet Printers

 

Pros:

  • Cheaper to buy (depending on quality) and maintain
  • Print on a variety of media (fabrics, transparencies, transfers, etc.)
  • Good colour blending for photos, images and colour documents
  • Smaller and lighter

Cons:

  • Slower printing
  • Less sharp for text printing
  • Smaller capacity
  • Some models not designed for constant use

 

As you can see, each kind of printer has is benefits and drawbacks. You’ll probably know better than anyone what you’ll be using your equipment for, and what kind of quality you’ll need. If you’re still unsure, give us a call and we’ll help you to choose one that suits your needs.

Multifunction printers are now overtaking regular printers in popularity, simply because they have now become more affordable and smaller. Most devices of this kind incorporate a document scanner that either scans documents to your PC, or turns your printer into a photocopier, with no PC input necessary. These can be incredibly useful in smaller businesses where they can eliminate the need to purchase a separate photocopier that would otherwise be used only very occasionally.

Networking is also a consideration to be made when it comes to choosing a printer for business. Some printers are specially designed to be plugged directly into a network, (usually used for high capacity printing or large networks) while some require connection to a PC in order to be connected to a network. Others operate using a WiFi connection to your network if available, which can again be very useful if space is limited or cabled networking is unavailable. It also means the printer can often print wirelessly from tablets or mobile devices, and does not need to be connected to a computer to be used on a network.

On Friday, we’ll be discussing the different types Smartphone available and how to choose one that best suits your needs.

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If you need more information about the types of printer available or would like some additional information 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 Laptop

Choosing the Right Equipment - Laptops

Posted on August 26th, 2013 by Emily

 

This week we’ll be explaining some of the newest features available on various devices and how you can choose the best device for your needs and budget.

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One of the services we pride ourselves on at Geek Guru is our IT equipment advice. We like to keep ourselves up to date with current technological developments so that we can help out our clients when it comes to choosing a new device.
Purchasing IT is something of a minefield if you are not completely sure of what you want or what certain technologies are. You could end up purchasing something that is not powerful enough for your needs, or you could end up spending way too much on super advanced tech that’s not really necessary. This is where we come in. We’ll help you to pick something that’s right for your budget and your needs, and explain its features to you in a way you’ll understand. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some information about a few of the things that should be taken into account when purchasing a new laptop.

  • Size and Weight

Probably the most important consideration to be made when purchasing a laptop is what the device will be used for. Is it intended to be a lightweight, ultra-portable device? Is it to be a desktop replacement? What kind of tasks will it need to perform? Screens range from 11” to 17.5”, and the larger the screen size, the larger heavier the device will be. Ultrabook-style laptops are the thinnest and lightest, and tend to have 11” or 13” screens; regular everyday laptops are around 15” and desktop replacements around 17” or 17.5”.

  • Durability

Where will the new device be used? If it will be moved around while in use or used outside frequently, you may need a device designed to be weatherproof, rugged and shock resistant. A machine designed to be moved around a lot will need to be thin and light, but also should have no parts that are easily breakable and decent battery life. A desktop replacement needs to have components designed for long term use and adequate cooling for the high temperatures that can be produced if the computer needs to perform long term processor intensive tasks.

  • SSD

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These kinds of hard drive are much faster than normal disk based hard drives because they have no moving parts, whereas a normal hard drive still has a spinning disk and a reading head, and takes time (albeit fractions of a second) to read the data. Using a solid state drive means there is no disk spin time and data stored on the drive can be accessed much faster.
There are two different ways that an SSD can be incorporated into a laptop. The first is as an SSD Cache. This is a small SSD drive (around 32GB) that is used in conjunction with a regular hard drive. They often use some form of software to determine the most regularly used files on a computer, and then store these dynamically on the SSD. This can reduce the time it takes to open regularly used software, or complete other regular tasks. Since SSD technology is still quite expensive, having a hybrid drive that works in this way can also cut down the cost for end users by using a small capacity SSD to speed up a regular disk based hard drive. This technology is present in many mid-range laptops on the market, and can speed up machines for everyday use.
The second way that an SSD can be used is by using a large capacity SSD to completely replace the normal hard drive. This provides very fast access to everything that’s stored on the drive, and is ideal for people who regularly use complex software applications or regularly access large files. SSDs are also less susceptible to physical shock and run more quietly than normal hard drives, but are more expensive to purchase.

  • DVD Drive

When purchasing a laptop, it’s important to think about what it’ll be used for. One major space saving approach used by many laptop manufacturers now is to avoid including a DVD drive, since use of removable media like DVDs is declining rapidly as a greater proportion of people gain access to broadband internet. People have started to back up their files online using cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, and stream movies and television shows using services like Netflix, meaning that removable media such as DVDs are becoming less and less popular especially on laptops, where USB flash drives and memory cards can serve the same purpose. Choosing to go without a DVD drive can save space and weight, which are important factors when picking a laptop.

  • Bluetooth

In our opinion, a largely underestimated technology, Bluetooth capability in a laptop opens up the possibilities of connecting to a wide range of wireless peripherals, including other Bluetooth-capable devices like tablets and smartphones, or wireless communication headsets. Bluetooth comes as standard on many laptops, but it is worth checking out, as it can be very useful for connecting devices together or transferring data directly between devices, no matter what operating system they’re running (for example, the seamless, wireless transfer of files from an Android smartphone to a Windows laptop.)

  • Warranty or Insurance

Another important thing is to make sure the manufacturer is reputable and has a good warranty service should the machine break down. For example, at Geek Guru, we often recommend Lenovo to our customers as their build quality is generally consistent and their warranty is usually very good. Other IT suppliers may have differing opinions, but most will agree that if you buy a cheap, obscurely branded laptop, you often get what you pay for in terms of quality and service.
If you wish to cover your laptop for accidental damage, you can also purchase separate insurance or an extended warranty for it, usually from the manufacturer or retailer.

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If you want any further information or advice on choosing a laptop, or you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, give us a call, and we’ll do the best we can to help.

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

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