Jun 21

Dongles vs smartphones: which one is right for you?

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Dongles and smartphones have become an essential means for staying connected on the go. Whether you’re on a train, in a cafe, or even outside you’ll be able to stay productive.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a home user who wants internet access for web browsing and social networking, or a business professional who needs office facilities on tap no matter what the location; mobile broadband is invaluable.

Who needs a laptop?

The humble laptop used to be seen as the tool of choice when it came to mobile broadband, because with the simple addition of a mobile broadband dongle it was possible to get connected to the network of your choice, and away you’d go.

However, the rise of smartphones by the likes of Apple and HTC (and their falling prices) has meant that a whole new option is on the table. They offer the prospect of the internet literally being in your pocket!

Smartphones certainly have pros and cons attached to them. Many mobile providers now offer great deals including ‘all you can eat’ data options that allow users to stay connected while they’re on the move, with little in the way of data limitations.

With a dongle hooked up to a laptop or even a smaller netbook, you have a decent sized working area – while connectivity on the go means you can access your work whenever and wherever you want.

Smartphones have most of the usual computing software options available on them these days, but for that added productivity advantage, a dongle with the traditional laptop or netbook still makes sense. However, do your homework and you may even find the odd network provider offer that will do you a deal for both phone and laptop.

So which is best for me – dongle or smartphone?

You should go for a dongle if:

  • You plan to do a lot of work on the move
  • You often use fairly complex programs or applications
  • You need a boost in power from a laptop

Avoid a dongle if you:

  • Don’t want the bulk and weight
  • Don’t need to be connected all the time
  • Don’t want another contract every month

Consider a smartphone if:

  • You prefer portability and don’t intend to do serious work on the move – maybe the odd email
  • You tend to make a lot of phone calls while you work
  • You like to upgrade to new models regularly

Avoid a smartphone if:

  • You find a handset far too limiting to stay productive
  • You don’t want something that is more easily lost or damaged
  • You have high data usage needs that might breach a contract limit
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Anthony Bellasario
Anthony Bellasario

I use a dongle for my laptop when I am travelling, to stay connected. I tried using a smartphone, but I find the screen too small and keys too complicated. So, I stick to my traditional laptop.

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