Byte Me Article 209 – How to make the smart choice

How to Make the Smart Choice

Continuing on from last week’s article, with the ever growing number of various web enabled portable devices, we have many of our customers asking us “what sort of device should I purchase”?  The answer is normally determined by what devices they already have as well as personal preference – however the decision can still be a minefield and there is rarely ever one perfect answer.  This is a huge topic and as such it will have to also spill over to next week’s article!

All of the devices we will look at here are capable of Internet browsing however there are other particular features that help set them apart.  Some are also a phone, some have keyboards with discrete keys, they can also have different operating systems and of course the screen sizes vary greatly.  As logic would dictate the size of their screens has become a key determinate in the usability of these devices for browsing the Internet – especially if your eyesight is not perfect!  So we will start with the smallest devices and work upwards.

Today nearly all of us carry a mobile phone so I have no doubt that if you have any interest in the Internet then this phone should be a smart phone – I am not the only one thinking this way.  It is currently the sales of these web enabled smart phones that is outstripping sales of any other consumer device in history!

2015-02-07 Byte Me Artilce 209 - Which device

The majority of these devices are either Apple iPhones or Samsung Galaxy phones and both of these players offer ‘standard’ sizes as well as larger screen varieties.  The latest Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch screens whereas the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note’s have 5.1 & 5.7 inch screens.  From my viewpoint, the above screen sizes are the absolute minimum for Internet browsing and even then they really only suffice for basic information searches.

I would use a smart phone to check a bank balance, check the BOM weather radar site, find a phone number, read a new email or Google a simple fact.  I would not like to use a small screen like these to research a hobby, browse eBay, type a longer answer to an email or research a topic.

Next up in size we see the ‘pad’ & ‘tab’ families (tablets).  These devices are unable to make a normal phone call (although they could use skype) but they do have larger screens than smart phones.  At the smallest end of this category Apple have their iPad Mini series with 7.9 inch screens and iPad Air’s – 9.7 inch.  Samsung have their Galaxy Tab S at 8.4 & 10.5 inch as well as the Tab 4 at 10.1 inch.

These devices are very portable and extremely light but they also have limitations.  They do not have discrete keys for typing but rather have ‘virtual keyboards’.  Also they can’t run your typical software program but rather just ‘apps’ (the week after next week we will do an article on apps).

If wanting to type while using one of these devices then you must position your finger on a touch sensitive screen instead of the discrete keys that you press down on a normal keyboard.  This method of typing is not near as accurate or as fast so you don’t want to be typing a novel on any one of these.

Many people that go for one of the above devices say that they will carry a separate Bluetooth keyboard with normal keys – however this defeats the original portability idea and is rarely a good solution.

Another step up in size we have the ‘hybrid’ or ‘convertible’ tablets which mostly come from manufacturers such as HP, Toshiba, Samsung and the like as well as Microsoft’s Surface Pro however these and larger devices will have to be covered next week. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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