Which type of surfer are you?

Internet (Almost) EverywhereThis is a guest post by Jessica Lowe.

Choosing the best way to go online on the move can seem like a bit of a minefield. There’s a wide selection of technology to choose from: Smartphones, laptops and tablets, plus a range of deals to suit all different types of Internet user. It’s not a case of simply finding the cheapest mobile broadband deal; what might be cost-effective for one person won’t be for another so you must think carefully about what type of web surfer you are before you take the plunge.

Social surfer

If you mainly want to go online to update your Facebook status and tweet what you had for breakfast, then a Smartphone will probably suffice. There’s a massive range of looks and functionality available, with models to suit music lovers, app enthusiasts and the email obsessed.

Contracts are usually a popular choice, as buying a phone outright can be very expensive. Make sure you check what the deal covers, though – ideally calls and internet usage – if you go over your limits you could be in line for a hefty bill. Pay as You Go options are available, but if you go online a lot, these probably aren’t the best option.

Practical surfer

If you require a bit more functionality, the ability to do work on the move and the option to download lots of music and even films, then a laptop’s probably best. To get mobile broadband, you’ll need a dongle, which simply fits into the USB port.

As with a Smartphones, there are Pay as You Go and contract options available. If you’re just looking at the odd website and sending a few emails, then Pay as You Go might suffice. If you need lots of data allowance, for TV shows and the latest tunes, then a contract with unlimited usage will be better. Some contracts come with a laptop thrown in for free – perfect if you need new kit.

Uber cool surfer

For a serious shot of style over substance then a tablet’s the way to go. Dominated at the moment by the iPad, 2011 will see more competitively priced alternatives coming to the market. They don’t have the functionality of a laptop and you can’t make calls (at the moment – but who’d want to put a ten inch screen to their ear anyway?) What they are is gorgeous looking with a great user experience.

For the iPad, to access mobile broadband you need an iPad SIM – like a phone SIM but half the size. In order to not muck up its sleek lines Apple did away with USB ports, so no room for a dongle. Make sure your iPad is a 3G version; if it’s not, you won’t be able to access the Internet using mobile broadband, only Wi-Fi.

And if you still need help making the mobile broadband decision then comparison sites, like Broadband Genie, can help.

Jessica Lowe writes on behalf of Broadband Genie and Mobile Phone Genie; the independent comparison websites for broadband, mobile broadband and mobile phones.

Post image by Jeremy Brooks – used under Creative Commons License.

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