The months of November and December are chock-full of holiday deals and enticing incentives to pull out that credit card and buy the items that you’ve been waiting for. You might be looking into purchasing a personal smartphone or upgrading the tablets your company uses, so here are some helpful tips to guide you as you consider the best portable devices for your needs.
Size and Function of the Mobile Device
Mobile devices have integrated themselves into just about every industry. Retail stores are equipping their sales people with iPads to aid customers with transactions and locating inventory, delivery drivers report drop-offs to ensure they are staying on schedule, and ecommerce stores are creating cloud-based catalogues. While these are just a few examples of modern business, the tasks and user needs vary greatly. What physical features will help you the most on a day-to-day basis? For example, a larger screen size is vital for someone in sales to show contracts, product pictures, or graphs to potential customers. Smartphones may be easier to carry than a bulky tablet for those whose primary app usage is reporting their schedule on a timesheet app.
Additionally, work orders, detailed invoices, or any task that requires note taking should be done on a device with a decent keyboard screen or one that has a keyboard attachment. Few things are as frustrating as adult sized fingers trying to input a large amount of information on microscopic sized keys.
Battery life may seem unimportant alongside memory storage, cost, speed, etc., but if you in the middle of a presentation or sale and your tablet dies, this point becomes really important, really fast. Many devices have a battery life of between 7 to 20 hours, so think about how much you’ll be accessing your device and if you want to continually stop and charge it.
And speaking of memory storage and speed, these attributes are almost important factors to consider. Are you in an area with great WiFi reception or do you need to store copious amounts of data on the device itself? How much data are you accessing and what is the download time? The last thing you want is to lose momentum and have dead time during a sales pitch.
If you have an IT department, it is important to ask them which devices best support your current programs. “The advantage of company support is that your employer's IT folks can help you with remote setup and troubleshooting connectivity to company resources, such as Microsoft Exchange Server for email, contacts, and calendar access,” recommends Melanie Pinola on Lifewire.com. (It is obviously easier to connect Apples to Apples then transfer Apples to Androids and vice-versa.)
Fortunately, your company’s app is bound to work great on any device. Modern app builders are designed to synchronize with any mobile device so regardless if you are providing your staff with new phones or tablets or are just looking to upgrade your own device, you can be confident that the software will perform without a glitch.
So Which Device is Best for My Needs?
Once you’ve narrowed down how your employees will use their phone or tablet in the field according to the above considerations, what specific brand or model is best?
- Best Overall - The iPad Pro has a ton of great features including sensors to detect light to adjust the color of the screen, it has a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution, uses an A9X processor (which is the the fastest mobile processor available on an iOS device), it has four speakers for the best possible sound, it’s equipped with a 12MP camera (like the iPhone 6S) for those who want to take better photos on their tablet, the battery life averages 9 to 10 hours, and it comes with up to 256 MB storage. The screen is large at 12.9-inches but it’s extremely portable at only 6.9mm thin and weighs just 1.57 pounds. This is one of the pricier options with at MSRP $799.
- Best Laptop/Tablet - If you’re doing a lot of business on-the-go and need more power than just a smartphone or tablet, the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is for you. Much better than a keyboard displayed on a screen, this slim (.25 inches) TabPro comes with a full-size detachable keyboard that snaps easily into place. The battery life is about 10.5 hours and runs on Windows 10 with an Intel Core m3 processor. It also has decent power at 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This combo device runs around $749.
- Best Bargain Tablet - The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 is an incredible bargain for around $170. While not as fast or flashy as it’s higher priced competitors, this is a great option for performing the basic mobile tasks and running your apps. With a 10.1 inch screen, 1GB of RAM and a processor speed of 1.30 GHz, you’re not going to want to run your entire business from this device. However, if you are planning on updating your mobile workforce with a tablet that has a long 18 hour battery life and gives you a decent sized screen and rotating 8MP camera, this is a strong contender in the under $200 range.
- Best Smartphone - List after list sites the Apple iPhone 7 Plus as the top phone on the market (with a high price to match at around $770.) With dual cameras, a large 5.5 inch screen, the fastest processor speed at 2.33 GHz, a water-resistant design, and a Lightning port that replaces a headphone jack, this delivers a top-of-the-line performance.
- Best Bargain Smartphone - The market is inundated with a variety of phones, carriers, and confusing deals, and Matt Swider of TechRadar had sorted through hours of reviews to decide on the best cheap phone in the U.S. The Motorola Moto G4 has adopted a 5.5-inch Full HD display and is impressively powerful with 2GB of RAM and 16GB/32GB of storage. At just $149, this budget friendly choice just might be right for you.