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We are increasingly on the move these days and increasingly required to be online, whether it’s for business purposes, or to stay in touch with friends and family. So, while we travel between internet terminals connected at the wall, what’s the best way of staying online?
The name is no accident. Smartphones put the internet in your pocket and give you access to apps that aggregate information, manage your social media, translate you entertainment so it can be consumed on a hand held device. You can blog with them, find your way around an unfamiliar place and even have face time with someone on the other side of the world.
They don’t do everything, however. Working on a business document isn’t so easy because the size is prohibitive. There may be an app for it, but if your hands are any larger than those of a seven year old, typing a word document on your iPhone that your boss desperately needs now isn’t a comfortable experience. That’s where the next device comes in.
Dongles are great for people who already carry their laptops with them all day. They give you 3G where there is coverage, and Wi-Fi capabilities when you want to work in your favorite cafe.
Contracts are great for heavy users, while infrequent users may prefer a prepaid dongle.
The major plus of the dongle is that you can do everything you would expect to from an office or home connection while on the move; which is great when your boss needs that word document straight away.
Tablet technology is evolving quickly, with names like Blackberry Playbook, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy TAB and Dell Streak all swimming in the wake of the iPad 2. All of them are looking to be your preferred portal into cyberspace, so like a princess seeking a suitor; you should look very carefully at what they actually offer compared to your current machine.
The big advantage of a tablet computer is the size, thickness – or lack of – and weight, making them very easy to use while in a cafe, or on public transport. They aren’t so useful if you’re in a busy city center and need train times quickly. The user experience varies between brands with the Samsung tablet lying neatly in one hand at 7.1”, while the iPad 2 needs two hands for fully user enjoyment.
Some brands are developing tablet-native apps and some are not. Those who aren’t are finding their overall usability is suffering.
3G models use the same network as dongles and Smartphone’s, and face the same issues with speed and coverage. The major upside for 3G users is the Micro SIM: a 1 month rolling contract that offers a particular speed and download limit valid for 30 days that can be renewed as and when required. Some carriers are offering tablets on exactly the same 2-year deals they offer with laptops. However, with the speed of the markets evolution, the tablets released two years from now will probably have five times the capacity and capabilities of today’s latest machine.
Ultimately, what you use depends on what you’re comfortable with. Some people swear by touch screens, some can’t live without a Qwerty keyboard. Some people want the best of both.
About the author:
Marie-Paule graham writes on behalf of Broadband Genie and Mobile Phone Genie, the independent comparison websites for broadband and mobile phones with unlimited internet.