Buy smart: choosing the right mobile device for your business

Three Business Blog Team
On: 28 Nov 2019
Share this post

With a wide range of mobile devices available on the market, businesses have plenty of choice for a handset that meets their needs. Recent customer research carried out by Three found that our business customers are interested in finding out more about what kinds of mobile devices are on offer. Here, Cameron Cunniam, Business Proposition Manager, and Shane O’Brien, Technology Manager, give advice on choosing the most suitable handset for business use.

The most effective way to make the smart choice of mobile device for a business is to match features to needs first. Think about what you’ll need it for, and what it can do, not how it looks: put function before fashion, and efficiency before aesthetics. Here, we look at mid-range smartphones to suit the needs and budgets of an SME business customer. To put the devices into a realistic context, we’ve chosen three typical business scenarios and walk through how the decision-making process might work.

Scenario 1: combining different work modes

For our first scenario, we present options for a startup. When your business is in its early stages, it’s all hands to the pump, doing business on the go, whenever and wherever, so people will probably be doing a combination of working from a home office or a shared workspace, combined with a lot of travel to meet customers and prospects. While value for money is important, you need to do as much of the work as possible through the handset, so a device with a good set of features is essential.

Starting with the most cost-effective high-end option, the Huawei P30 Pro has a generously sized display (6.15in) and a large battery. It comes with a 48MP front-facing camera with ultra-wide lens. A feature we like is machine learning which recognises the most used apps and puts other apps to sleep in the background to optimise battery life.

Alternatively, the iPhone 8 64GB edition is a good option. Large amounts of on-device storage doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, since you can back up the phone’s data to the cloud. A great value device in this category is the Samsung Galaxy A70, which has a large 6.7in screen, 6GB of RAM, a triple rear camera with 32.0MP, 5.0 MP and 8.0MP, along with 128Gb of internal memory (upgradeable to 521GB). 

Scenario 2: when large screen size is an advantage

In the second scenario, we have an estate agent who spends much of their time on the road, travelling between properties and meeting buyers. Part of their job involves taking high-quality photos of the property that’s newly up for sale. The Samsung Galaxy Note10+ has a large 6.8in display so it’s well suited to showing a property to a client directly on screen, or to check the quality before uploading to an online listing. The large screen size also makes it easy to read documents and send emails on the move.

As the spec suggests, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ is a top-of-the-range phone. It comes with 256GB memory, which is useful for storing lots of photos. The camera has three immediate settings: close focus, normal focus and wide focus, so it’s useful for taking pictures of rooms. 

The Note10+ also has a stylus capability that lets estate agents write a note directly on screen. A useful feature lets you use the pen to share a location on a map with a client by ‘cutting’ it out and dropping it into a WhatsApp message, sharing the location of a house they want to view. For office meetings with clients in person, a USB to HDMI connector makes it easy to display photos that are stored on the phone through a projector, saving the need to set up a laptop. 

Ease of use

As an alternative, the iPhone XR is a very good smartphone at an attractive price. The iPhone is an easy device to use, with a 6.1in large screen and a good camera. For SMEs already using a Mac or Macbook Pro the iPhone will work seamlessly. It has a smaller battery than the Note10+ but it also has a wireless charging feature.

There shouldn’t be any issues around switching from one mobile operating system to another, since most of the main apps you’re likely to use, like the Microsoft suite of office tools, are available on iOS and Android. For budget-conscious estate agents, the Huawei P30 Pro is also a good option here, with a very good price-performance ratio.

Scenario 3: power and capacity

For our third example, let’s consider a busy construction company that wants to give site managers a powerful device they can use to take panoramic shots of the work in progress for clients, and who may need to upload and download large files like plans and drawings.

With 8GB RAM, the Samsung S10 has enough power to be able to send and receive large files. Another feature which helps is the 128GB memory which comes as standard, and the S10 also has capacity to take on board an extra 1TB of data via a memory card slot, which is a useful feature when dealing with construction plans. It has a triple 12x12x16 MP camera that gives tight, wide and ultrawide, shots, as well as the ability to take panoramic shots, allowing a site manager to document the progress on a project with high-quality images.

The Samsung S10 also has an interesting feature known as DeX that lets you turn it into a desktop by connecting a keyboard, mouse and monitor. Obviously, this needs a screen on site to take advantage of this feature, but it’s worth bearing in mind for projects that are scheduled to last for a long time.

Wireless charging option

Smartphone battery life has improved, and some of the handsets we’ve featured come with power saving features. However, with an eye on business needs, people who expect to spend a lot of time out of the office should buy a device that’s compatible with a desk-based wireless charger, so they can top up the handset’s power during short stops at the office. 

Whatever your budget, Three offers unlimited data plans so you’re not restricted in doing your work from any location. All of the devices in this blog are available from Three, and there are always fresh offers in-store which change every month and which could combine a great-value offer with your requirements. If you would like more help with choosing a phone, our staff are trained to listen to your business needs and can match you with the right handset. In fact, Three came first for matching business devices to business needs, and for business handset offers, in a recent survey of business mobile phone customers in Ireland conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes. What’s more, Three’s Business Call Centre consistently ranks number one for customer care in the business market. 

Buyers advice

When you’re choosing a smartphone or mobile device, it helps to know in advance what you’ll need it for. Think about the camera spec, the amount of storage space, and battery life. If you see a handset that’s got everything you need, be open to the idea of going with a brand you might not have used before. 

If you’re planning to spend hundreds on a handset, remember you’ll be using it regularly for around two years or more. With that in mind, it’s worth investing in high-quality accessories like a case, cover or, better still, a tempered glass screen protector. Spend a little bit more to protect your investment, so you and your business will get the best results from whatever device you choose. 

At Three, we publish new content every week to help Irish businesses discover new technologies and explore new ways of working. To ensure you never miss out on the latest insights, subscribe to our Business Learning Centre.