Addicted to Devices

Ok, I admit it – I love gadgets and if only I didn’t have the restraints of Hubby and finances, I’d be even more of an addict! However as the tech world in general seems to be falling out of love with the Apple devices that were the hottest thing not that long ago and moving towards a wider spectrum, so I decided I’d best really get to grips with an Android device, as its the only one I don’t really know. This then prompted me to consider the various merits of each, hence this blog.

This blogs purpose is to share my personal views on the devices I use. It’s not a scientific comparison and I don’t have benchmarking software, so I’m basing my reviews on personal use. To give you a better idea of how I use my devices let me tell you a bit about how I have my digital life organised.

As the owner of a small IT Training business, I am also responsible for all the business IT choices so personal and business use merge together. However all of the tools I use are available to individuals and organisations of all sizes. Mainly because we are very cloud based.

Our email is on a hosted exchange server which is part of our Office365 subscription. However I also use Gmail and Hotmail (must get round to migrating that to Outlook.com, soon). With Office365 we also have Lync and SharePoint functionality, which (I am ashamed to admit) is not fully utilised.

We’ve also made full use of free cloud storage accounts, DropBox being my personal favourite. However I also use GoogleDrive, Box and Amazon Cloud.

Over the last few years I’ve gradually converted all our DVDs, CDs, Tapes, Records etc to digital and so have a large library of movies and music. In addition to training videos, recorded webcasts and screen capture type e-Learning modules.

Combined, this all means that the stuff I use on a regular basis is easily available on almost any device, with only a few passwords and the rest is backed up in so many places, it would make you dizzy.

So on to the devices. I use:

  • HP Pavilion dv7 on which I have installed Windows8 and Office 2013
  • MacBook Air running Mountain Lion, Office 2011 for Mac, Numbers, Pages and Keynote
  • iPad2 running iOS6
  • iPhone5 running iOS6
  • Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean (4.2.1) (I did try a cheaper android tablet, but it was painful, so I gave it up)
  • AppleTV

We also have two Windows 7 laptops, a Windows Home Server, Windows 7 desktop PC and another iPhone at home. The Nexus is a recent purchase in order to become familiar with Android.

Things I Like

Laptop

  • Full size UK keyboard
  • Full Office applications
  • Full integration with cloud storage

MacBook

  • Weight
  • Start up speed
  • Multi touch gestures
  • Integration with apple devices
  • iTunes for music & video playback
  • Multitouch gestures on trackpad

iPad

  • Responsiveness of touch
  • Availability of apps
  • Performance
  • Integration with Laptop, MacBook & AppleTV

iPhone

  • Responsiveness of touch
  • Availability of apps
  • Performance (this feels like the fastest of my devices)
  • Autodiscovery for exchange email
  • Integration with Laptop, MacBook & AppleTV

Nexus 7

  • Full browser
  • Availability of apps
  • Just about small enough to hold in one hand, but with a good size screen
  • Availability of Apps

Things I DON’T Like

Laptop

  • Metro interface without touch screen feels a bit pointless
  • Slow to launch apps
  • Windows Store performance sluggish
  • Heavy

MacBook

  • Not full Office functionality (I haven’t really got on with the iWork apps)

iPad

As I hardly ever get to use the iPad, it having been “adopted” by my son, I can’t really say, but generally its the same as the iPhone.

iPhone

  • Interface starting to feel old
  • Not a full browser with necessary add-ins
  • Calendar app does not allow appointments to be copied or duplicated
  • Can’t edit Office documents

Nexus 7

  • Slightly sluggish response to touch
  • Apps seem to freeze and crash, even standard apps
  • No autodiscovery for exchange email
  • Calendar app does not allow appointments to be copied or duplicated

The laptop is still my primary device when it comes to work and my young son does tend to claim the iPad as his most of the time. However I find myself using each of the devices slightly differently which is primarily down to the software/apps available on them. Also to be fair, some of the performance differences are down to the hardware rather than the operating system.  For example a Window 8 laptop with a solid state drive, like my MacBook Air would not experience the same lad on performance I sometimes get on the current hardware.

However for me the main driver behind my usage is office applications – calendar and email but also word processing and spreadsheet applications  If the full Microsoft Office functionality were available on the other devices I would probably use my laptop a lot less and invest in a full size Bluetooth keyboard for use with the iPad and Nexus.

I love the light weight of the Macbook so tend to use that when flying or travelling by train, unless I need the Windows laptop for training I am delivering. Otherwise the MacBook I use primarily for music, video and pictures.

The Nexus 7 has become my primary on-line shopping device due to the fully functioning browser and portability. I also now use this as my primary device for reading Kindle and other eBooks.

The iPhone is my main communication tool. I can do all my emails, texts, phone calls and VOIP calls/chats from this device, especially now I have it on a unlimited data tariff.

Using a combination of devices is also very useful.  When out and about I used to find it difficult to check my diary and talk to a client.  Now I can use the Nexus 7 to check my diary whilst talking on the iPhone.  Of course I tether the Nexus 7 to the iPhone and share the data connection, so that my dairy is instantly updated on all devices.

However, I think the Surface Pro, may be the device that changes my behaviour – tablet convenience with laptop functionality.   It should be the all-in-one device the gadget centre in my brain believes I desire above all things.  Should that portion of me get its way, I will update this blog with my experiences and any behaviour changes that come from using a Surface Pro.

But for now my conclusion is that a Laptop/PC running Windows 8 and Office 2013 is most productive for me from a work perspective.  The MacBook is my choice for entertainment, but you can’t beat the iOS (Apple) devices for portable functionality.   I personally feel that Android has so many followers due to the competitiveness of device prices and the fact the platform is not locked down to a single approved app store, rather than pure functionality.  So basically – variety is the spice of life and each device has its place in my ever growing bag.

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