Having access to the internet at all times has become part of 21st century life. If you feel a burgeoning need to be online while on the move and don’t know where to begin, here are your options:
Currently, there are three: laptop with dongle, smartphone and tablet. What’s the best device to use?
If you’re already carrying a laptop with you the addition of a small plastic dongle to your daily load isn’t going to alter your habits too much; it does give you internet capabilities almost wherever you like and the convenience of all the offline computer applications we’re accustomed to using.
Mobile broadband providers understand the potential of mobile broadband and offer a free laptop with most contracts. This is a hassle free way to upgrade your machine, but bear in mind that many of the free machines on offer come from the larger end of the computer spectrum, so getting a suitable bag for your laptop is important. If you’d prefer something smaller, there are also netbook and tablet deals.
Free laptops aside, the upside of the dongle is that it doesn’t change the habits we’ve already created; it adds a sense of freedom. The downside is the 15” laptop you’re signing up for is the most cumbersome method of staying online while on the move.
No longer the stuff of myth and movies, they are small – between 7 and 10 inches – light and slim. How usable they are varies from machine to machine. One of its basic functions, the onscreen keyboard, doesn’t function well on some models. Asus have solved this with their Eee Pad Transformer keyboard dock: an attachable keyboard that turns your tablet into a netbook with all the power of Android’s Honeycomb OS.
iPad still excludes Flash content making much of the internet unavailable. Samsung have opted out of making tablet native sites or apps for the Galaxy TAB, hoping that the internet will translate. The result is poor scrolling and white spaces where pages won’t load properly.
On the upside, if you’re happy to spend the money, you’ll get great multitasking, fabulous graphics and an ever expanding app market. Many models are also available on mobile broadband contracts. Their size makes your daily load a lot lighter. They are also the future of computing, so while you may not want to invest now, you’ll probably be investing soon.
Smartphones are the ultimate internet-in-your-pocket device. They don’t lend themselves well to text heavy activities and you may find yourself migrating to a PC or tablet for data entry, or report writing.
If you need to navigate an unfamiliar place, or you want to live blog about an event you’re attending, smartphones are powerful and discrete. They sync with your computer, allowing not only your entire music collection to live in your pocket, but also your weekly schedule, which is very useful when you are transient. So, which one do you use? Well, it depends on what you’re comfortable with. If you’re an internet addict, you’re probably using two of the three devices mentioned.
About the author: Joe Linford writes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the advice portal for broadband andlaptop deal and Mobile Phone Genie, the independent comparison website for mobile phones