8 tips for choosing a portable device

The new generation of devices: A thin line between laptop and tablet.

Purchasing a portable device was hard enough when the choice was limited to just laptops. Now, the choices available to consumers has increased, they have the choice of laptops, tablets and hybrid devices. With these blurred lines, it can be difficult to decide which device is right for you. The following 8 tips will guide you to find a perfect fit.

1. Purpose of a device

Each device has its own distinguishable features and capabilities and are built for different purposes, for example:

  • Laptops traditionally have been used for processor intensive tasks. Processor sizes do vary and are generally used for activities such as photo/video editing or playing games. Laptops are generally heavier and bulkier than their lighter counterparts.

  • Tablets have evolved immensely since the earlier versions. These devices are perfect for reading on-the-go with many enhanced functionalities which are optimised and are touchscreen. Applications are downloaded from an online marketplace and are installed onto the device

  • Hybrids the new kid on the block, these devices take the mobility of a tablet and rich processor functionality of a laptop. These 'best of both world' devices give users all the touchscreen functionality of a tablet, whilst also offering users the option to plug in extra peripherals such as a mouse and a second screen, unlike a tablet.

boardpad-windows.jpg2. Touchscreen or keyboard

Touchscreens may not be to everyone’s taste, but with advancements in the technology, touchscreens have now become even more sensitive and include multi-touch and gesture control capabilities. All these advancements add to the overall user experience of the device, many tablets now also provide users with the option to add hardware such as a keyboard, although these might cost extra. On the other hand, hybrid devices, such as the Microsoft Surface Book and Lenovo Yoga, screens can be flipped allowing the user full tablet functionality. Keep in mind that the keyboard and mousepad you will be using has to be comfortable, as you will be often using these.


3. Portability

This is a critical factor and is often overlooked when searching for a new device. This will also determine the overall screen size of new device you intend to purchase. If you are a commuter, a lightweight 13-inch device is a good size. Even better, tablets that measure 11 to 12 inches are increasingly available with better processors and enhanced screen resolution, such as the iPad Retina Display.


4. Software collaboration

Moving to a trendy, compact tablet is great. Before making your purchase, check your favourite programmes are compatible and are fully supported. Some software applications are still migrating towards being tablet compatible, so it is imperative that you do your research and ensure applications you need are able to run on your chosen device.

boardpad-device.jpg5. Battery Life

We’ve all been there, your device running out of power at a critical point in time. It is highly advisable before you make your purchase to check the standby time of your device. Tablets and hybrid devices generally provide users with a longer battery life, while many larger laptops simply cannot run for long periods of time without needing to connect to a power-outlet. If you plan to use your device on-the-go, look for a device that runs for no less than seven hours on a single charge.


6. Storage

Device storage is an important factor, but not critical, when thinking about selecting a device. “Cloud Services” offer users the option to save important information on the Cloud and can be accessed from anywhere through an internet connection.

Many devices now allow users to expand storage capabilities through SD memory cards or an external hard disk drive (EHDD), which means you can look at more important specifications like battery life, size, weight and software collaboration.

  • Tablets built-in storage varies from 16 to 128 GB. Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note and Sony Xperia come with the option to expand storage by using a (Micro) SD Card. Popular tablets like the Apple iPad or Google Pixel C do not, but Cloud services can be used;

  • Hybrids like the Lenovo Yoga and Microsoft Surface Book hold around 256GB storage, but can be expanded by a EHDD and Cloud services

  • Laptops usually offer up to around 2TB storage and can be connected to EHDD or use the Cloud for extra storage. It usually is wise to buy a laptop with at least 500GB and up, as a lot of software needs to be saved on the main storage.

boardpad-devices.jpg7. Check what you are paying for

All these devices vary in price and features. The reason products might vary in price can be the storage size, hardware like cameras, cellular network, processor speed or screen resolution.

Tip: Make a list of the features that are really important to you and those that are ‘nice to have’ and use that to guide you. Look out for brands that you trust, your device is only as good as the company that stands behind it.


8. The little things to consider

The main use of your laptop might be working on-the-go, but think about the small day-to-day tasks that you perform and consider specifications like:

  • Speakers and microphones vary in quality. Microphones usually don’t differ too much, but some speakers work better with music and others with voice

  • Camera quality: Video conferencing, front facing cameras vary from 1.2 to 5 megapixels, the iPad Pro 9,7” and Microsoft Surface both offer the best quality in this range. Rear cameras are usually of good quality and are handy for taking pictures of documents or notes

  • Cellular connection or Wi-Fi only: Portable devices come with cellular options, usually at extra costs. It might not be necessary to splash this cash as the solution might already be in your pocket; use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect your device to the internet.


Comparing devices and trying them out before you purchase will help you make a good decision. For example, at a demo stand you can hold and play with a device. Ultimately, if you are looking for something specific or need to run a particular piece of software, the retail outlet may be able to arrange a demo or answer any questions to clear up any uncertainties.


Did you know BoardPad is available on both iPad and Windows devices?

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