Phone vs PC as a business device - Shock horror, the PC still wins hands down!

Post-covid, we're constantly shifting between our home and work offices, so inevitably there comes a point when a laptop is accidentally left at home when it should have been taken into work.

 

I thought I'd use just such an occasion to do a test - which is best for work, my phone, or my PC?

 

Given that as individuals we spend huge amounts of time on our phones, many would have you believe that it’s a fully functioning device for work. Especially as it now boasts more than a million times more computing power than got us to the Moon in Apollo 11!

So, what was the result, here’s 6 things I did during a normal working day to find out:

1. Email
The result was a draw. Like many people, I use the in-built email app on my iPhone all the time, but for work, it’s a bit single task oriented. Lack of screen real estate and the way the app is designed, means that multiple emails can’t be handled effectively. To forward emails I often had to cut and paste addresses after using search. However, sheer convenience, means email on the phone works well for me.

2. Internet and web browsing
Again a draw between phone and PC. Many websites are as good or better on mobile. In particular, integrated location and phone functionality often makes the phone a better choice, but it baffles me that many websites are still not optimised for mobile. PDF pages displayed on mobile are a particular fail.

3. Ecommerce
Er wow. We are in 2022, this was a complete phone fail! Many ecommerce websites still don’t work well on mobile, there are issues with forced swapping to apps or logging in with complex passwords, issues that stop the effective use of many ecommerce websites on mobile phone. There were many occasions where transactions had to be finished on PC.

4. Productivity apps like Word or Excel
Controversial point, these don’t really work for mobile. First, setting up and authenticating my Microsoft 365 account was very difficult. Word and Excel are quite different programs on my phone compared to my PC (as they are on a Mac). Simply viewing existing files was fine but there were difficulties over correct formatting and it can be quite difficult to create new documents. This may be due to the way I'm used to editing and viewing my existing files, but I found it difficult to create new files. My Surface laptop easily wins in this area.

5. Calendar
On my phone the calendar functionality was OK, but the default settings were difficult to sort. How do I schedule a meeting and it not go into my family calendar? Oh, and what is my family calendar? Getting reminders for meetings worked fine, setting them up was way more problematic.

6. Files and document organisation
My file system is far more complex on my phone. Finding, retrieving and then saving documents was confusing. Even using cloud storage this became difficult. To be productive on mobile requires more organisation, or more experience, making it especially difficult the first time you try to work exclusively on a phone.

Conclusions

The ability to connect to a bigger display screen and keyboard to help with viewing and input would massively help, pretty much like the Microsoft Windows Phone, circa 2015. That would make the experience a lot easier, for reference, I measured my laptop screen, it’s 14 times bigger than my phone screen.

One thing a mobile does better in the office is make and receive calls, its massively better to get client calls on a personal device, I think the traditional office phone is now officially dead!

My view: right now, perhaps hoping to get full work productivity from a phone, is asking too much of the device that: entertains us, navigates for us, takes and enhances photos, shares our thoughts, gives us the news, entertainment, train tickets, food, banking, exercise?

Having one device to rule them all is coming, and that will include work, but it’s not here quite yet.

What are your views or experiences? Are you working free of a PC or a perhaps even a phone?

Ash, Managing Director

Ash set up Bolser in 2001 and is renowned for innovation in digital marketing and cycling to work most days!