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How to choose the best mobile device for your workforce

Client Computing | Posted on April 17, 2017 by Liz Teodorini

With so many great devices on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is best to supply to your workforce. Given the productivity and efficiency gains possible from equipping employees with the right device, this isn’t a buying decision to take lightly. To help solve this purchasing dilemma, we posed the most frequent questions we get from clients to one of our in-house experts on emerging technology and Samsung products, Sharal Pinto.

What’s an unlocked phone?

In order for a phone to work (make calls, use the internet, text) a mobile device needs a small chip called a SIM card provided by the carrier. Once you insert the SIM card your phone locks up, which means you cannot swap that SIM card with that of another carrier unless you have the code to unlock your device. Typically, if the phone is purchased on a payment plan or under contract from a carrier, you don’t get the unlock code. You can, however, buy an unlocked device, usually not directly from the carrier.

What are there benefits of purchasing “unlocked”

An unlocked phone gives you the choice of which carrier you use, and when. For businesses, there are two main benefits to buying unlocked devices: easier purchasing and cost savings. You can purchase devices from a device reseller, then select the most cost-effective regional carrier packages best fitted for your users’ usage needs. With an unlocked phone, high-frequency travelers can avoid incurring high international usage rates by swapping the SIM card with that of a local carrier when they reaching their destination. For more info, read The Top 5 Reasons Enterprises Go With Unlocked Smartphones.

What are important device features for business travelers?

There are several things road warriors typically need in their device. They often write and edit documents on their phone, so a large screen is essential, long battery life, and if you are in a Microsoft Office environment, a pre-loaded editable version of Office is highly useful. Ability to expand the memory of the phone also tops the list. And since travel puts more wear and tear on a device, look for durability features like water resistance, gorilla glass, and also buy a protective case.

What features should buyers look for to enhance security?

Data security is one of the biggest risks with corporate mobile devices so OEMs are constantly innovating their security solutions. Look for a brand with a trusted security platform built into the device. For example, Samsung uses Knox, which protects both vulnerable layers of your phone: the hardware and the software. It has a secure folder and fingerprint scanner data encryption keys to protect sensitive information and it prevents users from loading unauthorized firmware to the device. Some security platforms also have real-time monitoring and protection to defend the user from malicious attacks.

What’s the best way to transfer data from an old device?

There are some excellent apps to do this. They are easy to use so the transfer can be done by the user rather than IT. Some devices backup your information to the cloud. There are also apps for switching between phones on differing operating systems, like Samsung Smart Switch. Typically, you download the app to both devices, turn them on, and they transfer everything from calendars and photos to texts and emails transfer. Apps like this one have removed what used to be a major barrier to changing devices.

For companies buying devices to realize efficiency gains, are low- and mid-range phones an option?

This is where it’s important to know which features you need in order to work smarter. Many OEMs are putting several of their high-end features into lower-priced devices making them a great option for corporate purchasing. A good example of this is the Galaxy A5, which for about half the price of a Galaxy S-series phone, has a many S-series features like a robust security platform and expandable memory.

What are the hottest bells and whistles for users?

Getting a device with a great camera in front and back is important. Durability is an important attribute, and some companies are really pulling ahead in this area; for example, phones like the Sony Xperia XZ and Galaxy A5 can withstand being submerged in water. Of course, long battery life and generous memory are always in demand. Even the simplest of changes like compatibility with USB type-C cables improve user experience, so we pay attention to them.

Our advice is to organizations looking to purchase devices for their team is to carefully evaluate features the users need. Creating a list of must-have and nice-to-have software and hardware features is a simple, effective way to approach it. Do this before shopping so you can quickly narrow to the most viable options.

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