LLG Tech: The Smartphones That Run My Business

by Sasha Wilkins on October 14, 2012 · 14 comments

Blackberry

Of the tech questions I get asked about the blog and my business, the most frequent concerns which smartphones I use. Over the years I’ve played around with a lot of devices, lost several, and changed my mind a few times. But, finally, I’ve worked out what works for me on a daily basis. (I’m lucky in that I get passed phones fairly frequently to test out by manufacturers.)

And yes, there are three smartphones in that photo above, that I took in Paris a week ago on my seat at Elie Saab’s SS13 show. That’s because, however good a phone’s battery, if you are a heavy Instagram & Twitter user, no phone can last all day. And, given that I am usually running my business on the hoof, or am Tweeting from events, I can’t be offline. (And I like to cover all the major networks, because none is infallible so have SIMs across Vodafone, Orange/T Mobile/EE, & O2.)

FYI Orange coverage is absymal in London & is truly s*it abroad, plus charging the earth. Which is one of the reasons why I am ending my contract tomorrow after sixteen years with them.

ANYWAY.  In the photo above: The Samsung SII, the Blackberry Bold 9900, and the HTC One S, and, underneath them all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

So. Firstly: Android vs. Apple. As a very long term BlackBerry lover – I think I got my first one in around 2005, I pretty much considered that the phone world fell between the BlackBerry & the iPhone. It just never occurred to me to test out an Android device, figuring (having drunk the PR Kool-Aid) that the iPhone was the pre-emptive market leader in touch screen smartphones.

Meanwhile, I stayed true to BlackBerry. I had a Pearl in Manhattan. Then I had a Curve as the authorised phone of choice at The Wall Street Journal and when I left that job I simply switched back to my old BlackBerry handset.

As LLG grew, I decided to use Google Apps to run the business, as I had been a Gmail user since 2006. I loved the ease of use, and we started to use Google Calendar & Docs too (as opposed to Outlook or the rest of Office) as it meant that my assistants, agent, family could all access what they needed from me remotely. But I still didn’t think about Android as a viable OS – operating system – option. And Twitter & Facebook were on the BlackBerry, and my Google calendar cld sync, so job done there.

Then I borrowed an iPad & iPhone at London Fashion Week a few seasons back and, whilst I got to grips with it pretty quickly, and became a tablet convert overnight (which I really hadn’t expected), the clunky text editing tools drove me rapidly around the bend. Same for the iPhone. In the words of the song, that don’t impress me much. I need a keyboard to type. So I gave back the iStuff from whence it came and carried on with my beloved BlackBerry.

I finally got my own iPhone (a 3) in May 2011, when it was clear I needed a second phone for work. Because Instagram was only available on the App Store, I signed up. And barely used the thing for anything other than cheap non-Orange data abroad, iTunes or Instagram because I cldn’t bear to type on it. With hindsight, a costly mistake.

Then my Damascene moment: in Autumn 2011 I did a big project that was backed by Samsung. As part of the deal they lent my whole team at LFW Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tabs & Samsung S2 Android smartphones. It was a revelation to me: we ran spreadsheets through Google Docs with all the fashion show timing & venues, colour coded by LLG team member so, instead of wrestling with endless bits of paper, we had our LFW schedule at our fingertips. And, best of all, the Samsung devices had much more precise text editing tools than the iStuff.

I was a convert. And I found the Galaxy tablet as a whole easier to grasp than the iPad. I also much preferred the S2 to the iPhone. It had a great camera, was intuitive and meshed seamlessly with LLG Media’s Google Apps office system.

Meanwhile BlackBerry had given me the Torch to try out, and I was thrilled. It gave me lots more functionality and I loved the whole touchscreen thing, which was a new BlackBerry innovation. Unfortunately, because I am an idiot, I left it on the plane to Marrakech last New Year. Devastated was not the word. So I carried on using the S2 as my everyday phone and it never missed a beat.

I was also using an old HTC smartphone as back up and when that disppeared, HTC gave me the shiny new One in April to test out.

Now that’s a GREAT phone. Slither thin, running Ice Cream Sandwich (that’s an Android OS for non geek people), a sensational matt casing, a phenomenally good camera, and a doddle to use. It’s easily my favourite smartphone so far.

But I have to fess up: whilst Tweeting is fine in 140 characters, I’ve barely sent an email on the hoof since January when I lost my BlackBerry. I just can’t type accurately enough on a touchscreen.

I was given the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 last month to replace my Torch (RIP), and already I reckon I have sent more emails in four weeks than I had in nine months. I love that device. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I sleep with it under my pillow.

So here’s how it works: the BlackBerry is my email workhorse and I would need to have it ripped from my cold, dead hands.  The HTC is for all the jazzy Android apps, mapping, Instagram, Twitter, listening to music and, above all, taking excellent photos. It’s an absolute joy to use.

The Samsung S2 is my backup smartphone,a nd is a great all rounder. (No complaints there.) The iPhone 3 I barely touch to the point where I only use it on WiFi for Dragon Dictation, and testing apps for my consultancy work, And the Galaxy Tablet Note has replaced both my Kindle, and pen & paper, as well as being perfect for presentations, seminars, spreadsheets, and all the business of running my business when I am on the road. I also watch movies on it,  take Skype conference calls on it, and use it as a smartphone backup.

(I love how tablets are far less intrusive than flipping open a laptop, however thin and light. I use a tablet on the bus or tube with impunity. I wld only use my Air in an emergency on public transport. Yup, although I’m an Android/BlackBerry girl through & through, I love my Mac Air, which I bought in Nov 201o, and the office computer is an iMac.)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber October 15, 2012 at 03:59

This was a really interesting post, so thanks for sharing!
I always loved BB because I can’t type on touch screen phones fast enough for my liking. I have the Galaxy s3 now and oooh I love it! The apps are amazing any everything works fantastically, apart from Facebook but I think that’s the app tbh, not the phone.
Also, I would never go iphone, but my next laptop will 1000% be a Mac. :D

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LLG October 15, 2012 at 12:50

@Amber: oh jealousy! The S3 does look fantastic. It’s funny isn’t it, how we can be iPhone-phobic, but in love with Mac computers. I absolutely love the Air, and can’t conceive of going back to a PC. LLGxx

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Catherine December 1, 2012 at 00:02

@LLG:
So now you have an S3. How is it to type on or do you still use your Blackberry? I need to get something small I can go out with and don’t know what to purchase.

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Catherine October 15, 2012 at 06:34

I am very impressed that you are able to comprehend and use all those devices. I only have a MacBook. Like it, wouldn’t take it outside with me, but would like something smaller to go on the road with. I can’t afford an iPad, nor an Air.

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LLG October 15, 2012 at 12:56

@Catherine: Yes, they are big investments. It took a very big intake of breath to invest in the Air. I think it was the most amount of money I had ever spent on ANYTHING. LLGxx

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Jeanette October 15, 2012 at 09:25

Hi, jelly bean is actually the latest Android OS. It’s a great update. Try it! :)

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LLG October 15, 2012 at 12:51

@Jeanette: Gosh yes, you are absolutely right! Here’s the info for readers who may like to know more http://www.android.com/about/jelly-bean/ LLGxx

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annie October 15, 2012 at 11:15

that post hurt my head! I am an apple devotee but never use my ipad, mainly becuase of the rubbish typing and the lack of flash support means so many websites don’t render properly. I use my air the most but would love a tablet if i found one that was better than the ipad. I might check out the galaxy now but I guess it doesn’t get round the typing issue.

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LLG October 15, 2012 at 12:55

@annie: Yup, it was a bit of a brain dump! The lack of Flash drove me POTTY ,and there are definite Big Brother type issues with Apple overseeing apps etc that make me uneasy. Feel free to come have a play on my tab! I’m thrilled that you are moving around the corner too. This is *such* excellent news. LLGxx

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annie October 15, 2012 at 15:30

@LLG: Oh I’d love to!! x

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didyoumakethat October 15, 2012 at 11:25

That’s a great round-up and I know my IT contractor friend would absolutely concur with your love of Samsung.

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LLG October 15, 2012 at 12:52

@didyoumakethat: I’m a huge brand advocate for Samsung. I don’t ever do projects with products I don’t like or can’t wholeheartedly endorse, so imagine my relief when I first started playing about on the Galaxy products and absolutely loved them! LLGxx

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Angela October 21, 2012 at 18:45

I have to admit I am total Apple devotee, however, being a techie I found your post very interesting. If I ever decide that Apple are not doing it for me anymore I will definitely look into converting to Samsung.

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Nishita October 22, 2012 at 08:11

I love this post, very useful info. Currently, I am too heavily invested in the iPad and iPhone to really think about anything else. But, the Samsung tablet and phone also sounds interesting. I need to do a comparison on price points and technologies and see how they compare here.

I did use my mother’s Samsung Galaxy Note and while I didn’t like the size, I loved the clarity of the photos. It was much better than what I take with the iPhone 4.

I have to admit that I love the touchscreen of the iPhone and iPad. I don’t think I can ever try a non-touchscreen phone or tablet again.

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