5 Tips for Choosing a Mobile Device for Construction

Yves Frinault imageYves Frinault  •  

Mobile devices are bringing information directly where it's needed on-site. It's saving people time and money making it a no brainer to equip your foremen, supers and engineers in the field. However, there are many choices out there, and construction sites can be a tough place for a smartphone or a tablet. Here are 5 tips to make sure that you equip your team with the right tools for the job that you keep them running until the end.


1 - Smartphone or Tablet? 

The answer depends on the use case. Supers, inspectors and engineers will often walk around with tablets. Foremen will often prefer smartphones that easily fit in their pockets. Yes, larger screens make it easier to read plans, but remember if the tablet stays in the trailer it becomes useless. Tablets are often a cheaper option to get started, but that comes with a price for connectivity.

2 - 3G or Wifi?

With a smartphone like an iPhone, you have connectivity almost anywhere. That's invaluable when you are sharing critical information with the rest of the team. Don't forget, you can get 3G on an iPad or an Android Tablet too. So unless you have wifi on-site (or at least in the trailer), we recommend picking devices with 3G connectivity.

3 - How much storage?

Plan viewing is the most demanding use case for storage. To render plans even offline, they need to be stored on the device's hard drive. 64GB is becoming the standard. It gives you enough room for about 10,000 sheets on a device and will fit on most projects. Larger projects will often separate the different sets or get even more powerful devices.

4 - Apple or Android?

Technically, the most recent Apple and Android devices are both compelling. However developers often release their apps on the Apple Appstore first and on the Android Playstore second. Therefore, the iOS versions tend to be more fleshed out. Today you are still more likely to find useful apps with an Apple device. If you have a brand new Android device, don't despair. There are plenty of good apps out there. But if you are buying a new one, we would still recommend Apple.

5 - Protective case?

You NEED to protect your phone/tablet on site. Dust gets everywhere and your device won't survive the first fall. There is a very good brand out there: Otterbox. We see them on most sites so get one, this is a no brainer.

Make sure to take a look at Fieldwire the construction management app that we are developing.

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