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Smartphones and Laptops – which is better for surfing?

o2 dongle laptop

o2 dongle laptop

The internet used to be all about sitting in front of a computer at home or in the office. Now though, thanks to the evolving world of mobile technology we can all stay online pretty much wherever we go. With a bewildering array of gadgets on the market it can be a tough call deciding on which one to go for though, and new products and deals hit the shelves on an almost daily basis.

If you’re looking for a mobile device that can keep you hooked up to the internet both at home and while you’re out and about then there are essentially two options – the laptop or the smartphone. There are pros and cons for going down either route and while laptops have been around for longer, smartphones are fast becoming a real challenger to mobile computing on a laptop, although smaller screens and keyboards will always be the major drawback for some.

Now that laptops have come down in price (you can even sign up for free laptops with mobile broadband) and have been joined by the smaller netbook option it’s possible to pick up an excellent machine for a very small outlay. Some mobile broadband deals even offer a laptop for free, although these generally fall under longer-term mobile contracts of around 24 months. Laptops will need a dongle connected to a USB port on the machine in order to access a mobile broadband network of your choice, but lookout for coverage and data limits when comparing the many and varied deals out there. Lookout for battery life if you’re planning on computing on the move too and durability is another important factor.

A smartphone, meanwhile, makes a great deal of sense if you’re looking for a powerful computing experience on the go, but don’t want the bulk of a laptop or netbook. The screen and keyboard will, of course, be rather more limited, but thanks to a smartphone being an amalgam of the best bits of a computer and the choice cuts from a phone, there’s not much you can’t do on one of these devices. The smartphone also has all of its connectivity options built-in to the unit, so there’s no messing around with dongles.

However, a smartphone can suffer similar problems to the laptop when using mobile services, with coverage and network traffic issues contributing to a slow performance. You may not be able to connect at all in some cases. Data usage is also something to watch out for with smartphones, and both handsets and laptops shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for home broadband services. Current technology doesn’t really make either gadget ideal for downloading large amounts of data such as movies. Things will improve as technology evolves, but mobile gadgets are currently more of a supplement to existing services rather than a replacement.

Whatever mobile computing device you choose, it’s likely that the mobile broadband speed you get will generally be less than the ‘up to’ advertisements you see all over the place. However, it’s a good idea to get some impartial advice from a comparison website like Broadband Genie, which will not only show you the best deals but also save you money on a laptop, smartphone or both.

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