Recommended devices for Commusoft in 2020

Kafui Mortty

It's a new-ish year and we have some brand new recommendations for top-notch mobile devices, tablets and computers on which to run Commusoft. Whether you are looking for a personal phone that will also be used for work, or you're looking to buy some devices to equip the whole team, we've got some fantastic recommendations.

There's no "one device to rule them all" equivalent for the field service businesses (more's the pity). A number of questions need to be taken into account when making your purchase(s) - How many devices do you need? Are you looking for iOS or Android? What's your budget? For that reason, we've provided a range of recommendations across different price points.

Looking for Computer or Tablet recommendations too? Keep reading...

Minimum specifications are not necessarily recommended ones...

Every piece of software has it's own minimum specifications. This is the minimum build that a given piece of software will work on, as stated by the provider. It's important to understand, however, that a device with the minimum specs will, concordantly, result in minimal performance.

Your experience of Commusoft, especially for clients with large databases (i.e. thousands of jobs, estimates, parts etc.) is only ever as good as the hardware you run it on.

If you want your engineers to have a smoother and more reliable experience, with fast loading and processing times, you'll want to look above the minimum specifications.

Choose devices above the minimum specification for longevity and better performance

For Android devices we would recommend that it runs Android 7.0 at a minimum and has at least 3GB of RAM. For iPhones we recommend at least an iPhone 8 or above.

There are lots of great (and affordable devices) with good specifications out there. Keep reading for our recommendations.

When considering which device to choose, we'd suggest you also consider longevity and future proofing to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment.

Future-proofing

Future proofing is essentially just forward thinking to reduce the impact and shock of future events and possible changes.

In the context of a field service business and mobile devices, future proofing boils down to trying to ensure that you choose devices that will provide longevity and aren't just going to fade into obsolescence.

For example, iPhone 6 was a top of the line phone when it was released. However, it's now approaching 6 years old and its age is showing. Investing in iPhone 6 in 2020 would not be a great long-term choice, as you will likely experience performance issues and need to replace it much sooner than you would with a newer device.

There are a few things to consider when thinking about future proofing:

  1. Aim to keep your devices for at least a few years - you don't want to pick a device that will be obsolete in a year's time. Choosing a higher quality device that can go the distance will save you pain down the road.
  2. Age is not 'just a number' when it comes to tech - As we said, buying a "new" iPhone 6 in 2020 is not a great choice. If you keep your device 3 years, that means you would end up running your integral business software on 8-year old hardware. That's if the device is even still supported in 3 years...
  3. Minimum specifications do change - All software developers increase their minimum specifications from time to time. Choosing a device that meets current minimum specifications, does not guarantee that your device will still be supported by a piece of software in 6-months time. Again, choosing a device with above-minimum capabilities can help you avoid this.

Taking into account all of our advice - why it's important to invest in good tech, choosing recommended specifications not minimum specs, and thinking about how to future proof your decision - here are our recommendations for mobile devices in 2020:

Recommended mobile devices:

Below, we cover a range of prices for both Android and iOS devices. We've included a link to the best unlocked price we could find for each device (as of the date of publishing this blog), however, you may find better prices when also shopping for a data plan.

Android Mobiles:

There is a wide range of Android devices available out there. You'll generally find cheaper options available for Android phones as there are many players in the market, keeping prices competitive. When shopping, we recommend you first look at how much RAM is available - 3GB is great, 4GB is fantastic - as this is a really important indicator of how the phone will perform. All of our recommended Android devices have at least 3GB of RAM.

Let's get started...

Moto E5 Plus

Budget device

Moto e5 plus

Price: £89.95 - on average

  • OS: Android 9
  • Screen size: 6.0-inch
  • Resolution: 720 x 1440
  • Storage: 32GB
  • RAM: 3GB
  • CPU: Snapdragon 425 (4x 1.4GHz)
  • Battery: 5000mAh
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Weight: 196.6g
  • Dimensions: 160.9 x 75.3 x 9.4mm

Pros: Larger display | Fantastic battery life
Cons: Performance not as good as Moto G6

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

High end device

Galaxy Note 8

Price: £348.98 - on average

  • OS: Android 9.0
  • Screen size: 6.3-inch
  • Resolution: 2960 x 1440
  • Storage: 64GB
  • RAM: 6GB
  • CPU: Exynos 8895 (4x 2.3GHz + 4x 1.7GHz)
  • Battery: 3300mAh with wireless charging
  • Camera: 12MP + 12MP
  • Weight: 196g
  • Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm

Pros: Fantastic performance | Large display | Water-resistant | Stylus is great for signatures
Cons: High end price

Like we mentioned before, Android devices have a much more varied and competitive market with new innovations and devices coming out year after year, so do keep a discerning eye out (with our specifications in mind) for those too!

iPhones:

Apple are, of course, known for making fantastic phones - however, these do come with an equally steep price. We recommend any of the devices from iPhone 8 and above for great performance that you can rely on.

iPhone 8

High end device

iPhone 8

Price: From £479 - on average

  • OS: iOS 13
  • Screen size: 4.7-inch
  • Resolution: 1334 x 760
  • Storage: From 64GB
  • RAM: 3GB
  • CPU: A11 Bionic Chip (2x 2.39GHz Monsoon + 4x Mistral)
  • Battery: 1821mAh with wireless charging
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Security: Touch ID
  • Weight: 148g
  • Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm

Pros: Great performance | Water-resistant | Fast charging
Cons: High end price

iPhone XR

High end device

iPhone XR

Price: From £629 - on average

  • OS: iOS 13
  • Screen size: 6.1-inch
  • Resolution: 1792 x 828
  • Storage: From 64GB
  • RAM: 3GB
  • CPU: A12 Bionic Chip (2x 2.49GHz Vortex + 4x Tempest)
  • Battery: 2942mAh with wireless charging
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Security: Face ID
  • Weight: 194g
  • Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm

Pros: Fantastic performance | Large display | Water-resistant | Fast charging
Cons: High end price

Need something tougher?

We certainly recommend you invest in a decent phone case - field service devices will likely see a lot of wear and tear on site and on the road (you can pick up high quality screen protectors and phone cases from Amazon really easily). However, should you require something overall tougher and more resilient, we'd recommend checking out the CAT S41 - it's a rugged Android phone, waterproof and shockproof, with a huge battery. Whilst its strength comes at the cost of performance, should your work environment tend to be a bit more extreme, this may be a safer investment.

What about larger devices? Commusoft runs great on various tablets too, should you want a bigger screen and interface. Check out our 2019 tablet recommendations here too:

Android Tablets

Android tablets come in varying size, power, and quality. Samsung are the market leaders when it comes to quality devices, although  good tablets can also be found from brands like Huawei and Asus. Whilst Amazon is a great place to shop for tablets, we don't recommend any of the Amazon Fire tablets for running Commusoft - their basic hardware and dumb-downed version of Android means they're simply not powerful enough unfortunately.

As with Android phones, we recommend you first look at how much RAM is available - 3GB is great, 4GB is fantastic - as this is a really important indicator of how the tablet will handle software.

Let's get started...

Huawei Mediapad M5 (Lite)

Budget device

Huawei Mediapad M5

Price: 8" £199.99

  • OS: Android 9
  • Screen size: 8.4-inch or 10.8-inch available
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Storage: From 32GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • CPU: Kirin 960 (4x 2.36GHz 4x 1.84GHz)
  • Battery: 5100mAh (8") / 7500mAh (10")
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Weight: 316g (8") / 498g (10")
  • Dimensions: 212.6 x 124.8 x 7.3mm (8")
                            258.7 x 171.8 x 7.3mm (10")

Pros: Good performance | Great design for price | 2 size choices
Cons: Camera has no flash

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

High end device

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Price: From £439.70 on average

  • OS: Android 9
  • Screen size: 10.5-inch
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Storage: From 64GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • CPU: Snapdragon 835 (4x 2.35GHz Kryo + 4x 1.9GHz Kryo)
  • Battery: 7300mAh
  • Camera: 13MP
  • Weight: 429g
  • Dimensions: 249.3 x 164.3 x 7.1mm

Pros:  Fantastic performance | Great battery life
Cons: Not a huge upgrade from the Galaxy Tab S3

iPads

Apple have been leading the way in tablet design since they released the first iPad - however, whilst they may be king, they aren't the cheapest devices on the market. We recommend any of the iPads currently sold by Apple for reliable performance and powerful processing.

iPad Mini 4

Midrange device
Apple iPad Mini 4

Price: £399 - on average

  • OS: iOS 13
  • Screen size: 7.9-inch
  • Resolution: 2048 x 1536
  • Storage: 128GB
  • RAM: 2GB
  • CPU: A8 Chip (2x 1.5GHz Typhoon)
  • Battery: 5,124 mAh
  • Camera: 8MP
  • Security: Touch ID
  • Weight: 299G
  • Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1mm

Pros: Portable & convenient size | Good performance
Cons: Smaller battery

iPad Pro 11" (2018)

High end device Apple iPad Pro 2017

Price: From £769 - on average

  • OS: iOS 13
  • Screen size: 11-inch
  • Resolution: 2388 x 1668
  • Storage: From 64GB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • CPU: A12X Bionic Chip (4x2.5 GHz Vortex + 4x1.6 GHz Tempest)
  • Battery: 7,812 mAh
  • Camera: 12MP
  • Security: Touch ID
  • Weight: 468g
  • Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm

Pros: Fantastic performance | Great battery life
Cons: High end price

Computers:

Our minimum requirements for computers are an Intel i5 processor (or equivalent), 6GB of RAM, and a screen resolution of 1300x768.

However, we'd recommend an Intel i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, to ensure you're getting reliable performance that will continue to support your business into the future.

Whether your office staff are tracking live locations and scheduling jobs, importing large parts lists, or raising invoices, they're central to your business and need hardware that performs above minimum requirements.

Laptops:

Laptops now dominate the computer market. Portability and flexibility are key, even for businesses, so laptops may be a sensible choice for your office staff. Investing in an additional monitor may be a smart ideas for those spending all day scheduling jobs and managing diaries. A few recommendations:

Lenovo Ideapad 530S

Lenovo Ideapad 530S

Price: £679 - on average

  • System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U up to 3.7GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 14"
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Good performance
Cons: Less powerful i7 processor | Not a huge amount of storage

HP Pavilion 15-cs1506sa HP Pavilion 15-cs1506sa

Price: £949 - on average

  • System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8565U up to 4.6GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 14"
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Affordable | Great performance
Cons: Solid state hard drive trades speed for size

MacBook Air 13" Retina

MacBook Air 13" Retina

Price: From £1,099 - on average

  • System: macOS
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 up to 3.6GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3" Retina
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Good performance | Retina display | Fantastic design
Cons: Fast but small solid state hard drive

MacBook Pro 13-inch

MacBook Pro 13-inchPrice: From £1,299 - on average

  • System: macOS
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 up to 3.9GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 13" Retina
  • Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Good performance | Retina display | Fantastic design
Cons: Fast but small solid state hard drive

Desktop computers:

If your office staff don't require flexibility and will always be working from one location, you may wish to opt for desktops. The large PC towers of the 90s and early 2000s have mostly been replaced with compact desktops and all-in-one monitor/ computer combos. Check out our recommendations:

HP ProDesk 400 Small Form Factor i7
HP ProDesk 400 Small Form Factor i7

Price: £694.80 - HP

  • Style: Compact desktop
  • System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8700 up to 4.6GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Dimensions: 27 x 29.6 x 9.5cm
  • Disc drive: Yes

Pros: Affordable | Great performance | Compact size
Cons: Not a huge amount of storage

ACER S24-880 All-in-One

ACER S24-880 All-in-One

Price: £999 - PC World

  • Style: All-in-one
  • System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7+8550U up to 4GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 23.8"
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Good performance | Large display
Cons: Less powerful i7 processor | Not a huge amount of storage

Mac mini

Mac mini newPrice: £1,099 - Apple

  • Style: Compact desktop
  • System: macOS
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6-Core up to 4.1GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6cm

Pros: Good performance | Small size
Cons: Less processing power compared to others |Not a huge amount of storage

21.5-inch iMac

21.5-inch iMac

Price: From £1,049 - Apple

  • Style: All-in-one
  • System: macOS
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 up to 3.6GHz
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB Serial Drive
  • Display: 21.5"
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Disc drive: No

Pros: Good performance | Fantastic design | Large HDD
Cons: Intel Core i7 available for additional cost

What does your computer need to be able to handle?

Not everybody uses their computer for the same things. It seems obvious, but the more you require from your computer, the more powerful it needs to be.

For example, let's say your computer can handle you running Commusoft, Microsoft Office, and a web-based email client. What if you throw in Sage 50cloud or QuickBooks Desktop too? Or managing hundreds of emails per day with Outlook Desktop? Let's not even get into marketing and design tools that your business may be using.

As you start taking on more tools and software, you may find your computer slowing down or becoming less reliable. That's why it's good business sense to invest in hardware that can go the distance. Don't just think about whether it will do the job today, but how it will be handling your workload in a few years time.


 

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