There’s never been a more important time for connectivity. To feel like we’re still able to socialise, be part of a community and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. With physical meet-ups restricted, digital and telephone communications have become an absolute necessity for fulfilling our inherently social natures.

Indeed, countless psychologists have explained the importance of keeping connected with others throughout this period. Socialising creates feelings of togetherness, camaraderie and support – all aspects of life we as human beings crave and need to feel fulfilled.

As a communications company, we know we are at the epicentre of this and as such, are keen to do all we can to help both individuals and businesses make their communication channels as open as possible. This got us thinking. If we were to recommend one piece of equipment that everyone should have right now, what would it be?

Our answer: an unlimited data 4G broadband dongle

Croft 4G broadband dongle

Slightly bigger than a USB storage stick, the dongles connect wirelessly to your PC / Tablet, mobile / gaming platform etc to provide access to the Internet when you most need it. Because the devices themselves are portable and easy to use, they are an ideal solution if you have a slow Internet connection or if you need to access the Internet quickly when you’re away from a router or it is overloaded from everyone else trying to contend with your data allowance. With so many of us working from home at the moment, and entire families using the broadband connections all at once, this handy unlimited data plugin makes logging into Zoom, Skype, Instagram, and all other forms of online communication channels, simple.

TOWIE star Sam Faiers stays connected with Croft

And we’re not the only ones loving the dongle. Sam Faiers and family recently broadcast their appreciation for how amazing these devices are and how simple they are to set up. After moving out of her Hertfordshire home and down to Surrey, The Only Way is Essex star apologised to her fans for being off the ‘gram, due to lack of Internet and mobile signal within the house.

After seeing her post, and knowing we couldn’t let the TOWIE fans down, we swooped right in, offering Sam her very own dongle to ensure she would no longer be disconnected from the world.  Delivered and installed within 3 hours. It’s safe to say, she loved it!

Sam Faiers talks about Crofts broadband dongle Sam Faiers Instagram story discussing Crofts broadband solutions

But all joking aside, the team here at Croft really do feel a sense of duty to keep people connected at this time. If you’re looking for some advice around what services and tools might be best for you, your family or business, please do get in touch with the team. It would be our pleasure to help!

There are a load of platforms offering (seemingly) amazing deals for the iPhone 8. Some advertising unbelievable amounts of data, others offering hundreds of thousands of texts and minutes.

The thing is, you probably don’t need 5GB of data – let alone 20GB so it’s important to be smart when choosing a plan that suits you.

Businesses in particular need to do their research before choosing a network to work with. Poor coverage could seriously impact your team’s communication. Likewise, hidden charges and low-levels of support could cost your business thousands. But, what if there was a network that provided super features like free roaming in over 48 European destinations? What if there was a network that covered 99% of the UK population?

EE does all this and more. In addition to providing free roaming across the EU, they also have the widest reaching coverage out of every UK network and provide features such as extra-warranty on handsets and data-usage notifications.

If you’re not yet convinced, keep reading and we’ll show you how your business could benefit from getting the iPhone 8 with EE.

Network

We’ll start with the facts. For over 4 years, EE has been rated the best overall network in comparison to O2, Vodafone and Three. This year, the network performed the best in the categories of network speed, data performance and text performance in the United Kingdom. They have also been recognised as the ‘Best Network Coverage’ and ‘Fastest Mobile Network’ by uSwitch.

Why do these awards matter? 

You want to know that you will have good coverage at every location that you travel to. For workers who are constantly on the go (sales teams and engineers for example), poor coverage means poor communication with colleagues and customers which can severely slow down productivity.

Because EE covers 99% of the UK population, customers experience coverage even in the most remote areas, so staying connected is easy.

Check the strength of your local coverage.

Wi-Fi calling

Most are still unsure about Wi-Fi calling. If you’re one of them, you can use this guide for the full run-down. Otherwise, to summarise, the new feature allows you to make calls and texts over the available Wi-Fi as an alternative when experiencing poor network signal.

Take our word for it – Wi-Fi calling is amazing. It’s especially useful for those who live or work in more remote areas as they don’t need to rely on limited available coverage. Instead, users can connect to the available Wi-Fi to make high-quality calls and to send messages. Luckily, most networks now provide Wi-Fi calling. However, EE customers are the only ones who are able to use Wi-Fi Calling during their daily commute. Yes, you heard us right. You can now make calls and texts when travelling through the London Underground.

How is this possible? Well, EE and Virgin have come together to provide Wi-Fi in the ticket halls, walkways and platforms of more than 100 Underground Stations. This means that commuters are now able to make calls, texts, download documents and check emails all whilst travelling around the city!

Apple music

We know it’s not compulsory and you do not NEED Apple Music, but it’s a nice touch. If you get your iPhone 8 with EE, you will benefit from six months of free Apple Music for your own personal enjoyment.

EU Roaming

Free roaming across the EU has recently been implemented, enabling us to use regular data in multiple countries across Europe. For Free!

‘Changes in the law mean that you can use your UK allowances while you’re roaming in the EU for no extra charge. So as long as you’re travelling somewhere in Europe, it doesn’t matter which network you’re on, right?’

Wrong. Whilst the law has changed for everyone, the countries that are included within each network’s roaming rules differ and some networks cover more countries than others.

With EE ‘all new, upgrading and existing customers, plus those switching plans mid-contract’ are able to use their data allowance across the EU. On top of this, even though the law only requires the network to cover 28 destinations, EE has extended it’s services to 48 European destinations. That’s 48 foreign countries where you are able to use your data allowance for free so, whether it’s for work or for your own personal enjoyment, free roaming across the EU will come in handy and will certainly save you money.

Differently, networks such as Sky only provide roaming in 36 countries – so it’s best to do your research if you’re often travelling from city to city.

Click here for more information regarding the EU roaming laws.

Warranty

Need another reason to get the iPhone 8 with EE? How does extra handset warranty sound?

You can say goodbye to the hours and money wasted trying to arrange repairs for your team members’ phones. Business customers can benefit from not just one year (which is the warranty length for most suppliers) but a two-year warranty on Apple products bought from EE. The extended warranty covers all electrical and mechanical breakdowns and means that if your iPhone’s speaker, mic or even battery stops working – you can have it repaired for free. Plus, if it isn’t repairable – you will receive a free replacement.

What can we do to help?

Mobile Account Solutions provide a link between businesses and main networks such as EE. Providing all the benefits of the network (including Wi-Fi Calling, nation-wide coverage and extended device warranty) we help businesses to effectively manage their teams’ communications, improving  mobility, flexibility and profitability. Find out more or arrange a free consultation today.

If you didn’t already know, Apple recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the iPhone by launching not one, but three new smartphones: The iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. And we’ve got to admit – we’re stuck.

Sure, we expected to have to chose between the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus. However, the introduction to the iPhone X has really thrown a spanner. Is the X really that different from the iPhone 8? Is it worth the extra money? What one should I go for? 

It may not be obvious at first but each device is extremely unique in terms of design, display and specification. So to help you to make the right decision, we’ve provided a quick summary of the key differences.

Design and Display

Size

Appearance-wise, there is an obvious difference between the new releases. The iPhone 8 is 4.7 inches, whilst the Plus is 5.5 inches. However, Apple has taken a massive leap with the iPhone X. At 5.8 inches, the X is the largest iPhone ever with it’s only competition being Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.

Missing home button

Similarly, there is a stark contrast between each models’ display.

Whereas the display of the 8 runs parallel with previous iPhones, the iPhone X is noticeably missing the home button. Instead, Apple has given users a different way of navigating around the iPhone X. For example, swiping down will bring you to the control panel and double-tapping the side button will take you directly to Apple Pay. It might seem confusing at first, and it will certainly take some getting used to – but the absence of a home button will provide an edge-to-edge display that gives iPhone users more screen space than ever before.

Glass front – and back

There are of course some similarities between the X and 8 models. All three of the newly released phones feature the new design which includes a glass front AND back. Having gone through a six layer ink process, the new design allows for precise hues, opacity and rich depth of colour, providing a premium effect.

(The glass is engineered to resist water and dust. It also has an oleophobic coating which allows you to easily wipe off smudges and fingerprints – so you can keep your iPhone good-as-new).

 

Available colours

Strangely, the iPhone X is available in Silver and Space Grey whilst the iPhone 8’s have been released in the same Gold that has become so popular amongst older models.

It’s difficult to understand why Apple may have decided not to release a Gold version of the X, however Apple did launch the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in red around six months after the phones launched, so we suspect that more variants of the X will be eventually be available.

Features

Face ID

The biggest difference between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X is definitely the introduction of Face ID.

‘What could be more natural than a touch? A look. That was the insight behind Face ID, a powerful and secure authentication system that’s even more convenient than Touch ID. It makes unlocking and paying fast, easy and intuitive.’ This is how Apple have introduced this years most advanced security feature, which will feature on the iPhone X.

Face ID stores the intricate details of your face to allow you to unlock your phone simply by looking at it. It even features a ‘Flood Illuminator’ to help you to use the system in the dark. Not only that, but it’s so smart that it can ‘keep the screen lit when you’re reading, or lower the volume of an alarm or ringer.’

It’s our favourite feature to have been released by Apple for years, and we suspect that most will hold out for the iPhone X as a result.

Camera

There is a direct contrast between the camera quality of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. Both the iPhone 8 Plus and the X feature a brand new dual-camera. On both phones, the first 12 megapixel camera is fitted with an extra telephoto lens that supports 10x optical zoom which is able to zoom ‘in closer to the action without any loss of image quality.’ The iPhone 8 Plus also has the same Portrait Lighting mode, as seen in the iPhone X. Made for selfie lovers, Portrait Mode enables the camera to work out who the subject of the camera is to dynamically lighten and darken the image in various ways, dramatically improving it’s overall effect.

Animoji

Another new feature that has come to the iPhone X, is the introduction of Animoji.

Animoji brings Apple’s Emoji’s alive using your facial expressions and voice. The facial-mapping sensors in the iPhone X’s Face ID make this possible by capturing and analysing more than 50 different muscle movements, then mirroring your expressions.

Conclusion

We have to admit, Face ID is the most exciting feature to have come to the iPhone in years. Being able to unlock your phone with a simple look is a bonus, yes. However, it is the iPhone X’s ability to sense when to silence notifications and when to keep the screen lit that has really won us round. I mean, is there anything more annoying then when your screen dims halfway through a Netflix episode? No!

Differently, for those who are not fussed by the high-technicality of the iPhone X – the iPhone 8 Plus is going to be the phone for you. ‘It’s got the processor. It’s got the wireless charging. It’s got dual cameras on the back and can do the same new Portrait Lighting effects as the iPhone X.’  Basically, the iPhone 8 Plus is the X just without the Face ID. It’s cheaper, available sooner and has the upgraded camera that everyone is talking about right now.

Businesses can pre-order the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with us, here. 

Since Samsung was forced to axe the Galaxy Note 7 in October last year, the brand has been working hard to ensure that the mistakes of 2016 are forgotten. Beginning first with the S8 and now, with the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has undergone a complete redesign, delivering highly intelligent smartphones that feature a sleeker display with upgraded systems and fresh, new features.

An upgraded system

It would have been easy for Samsung to simply replace the battery, rename the handset and to place it back on our shelves. Luckily, this isn’t the case. Instead, significant system upgrades have been made – including with it’s Android platform, Nougat 7.1.1. The upgraded platform now allows users to run apps side-by side on a single screen, providing a seamless transition between activities.

So, what does this mean? It means that you can finally text whilst watching videos – without having to flip back and forth between the two!

Infinity display

“Like all recent Samsung phones, the Note 8 is a gorgeous slab of curved metal and glass. It looks a lot like the S8, but it’s more straight-edged – more businesslike – and the curved screen is steeper to aid S-Pen note-taking.”

At 6.3inches, the Note 8 is significantly larger than the Galaxy Note 7, the S8 and even the S8 Plus. The devices features a 1440 x 2160 dimension, providing a wide screen, tablet-like experience for application use. On top of this, a super QHD+ AMOLED screen has been introduced to enhance the visual experience by providing greater contrast in images and videos. So, viewing images and watching videos just got 10x easier and 10x better!

Dust, dirt, sand and waterproof!

Being IP68 certified, the Note 8 is deemed fit enough to withstand dust, dirt and sand. The device can even operate after being submerged in 1.5 metres of liquid for up to 30 minutes. So whilst the handset is expensive at £869.00, you won’t need to worry about it breaking easily!

Dual camera

If you’re a little bit of a camera snob – you’re going to love this. Samsung has implemented a new, dual camera to improve the quality of the images and videos shot. Simulating a human binocular, a secondary camera uses a zoom feature to enhance clarity in every image and video. On top of this, both cameras ‘feature optical image stabilisation (OIS)‘, so even if you use the 2x optical zoom, your snaps will be blur-free. As a result, you can expect a more vivid and detailed picture than ever before.

And we mean perfect. Here’s why

Our society is getting faster. As consumers we expect deliveries and responses to be at iMessage and Amazon Prime speed. For this reason, organisations are forced to work harder than ever to keep customers satisfied.

So it will come as no surprise that the biggest global distributors are competing to provide a smartphone that enables us to work and communicate faster and more efficiently than ever.

Samsung is the latest to up the ante in the race to provide the ultimate business user-friendly device. And we’ve got to admit it. With it’s infinity display, water and dust resistant exterior and super advanced security – the Galaxy S8 is worth the investment.

1. Infinity display

With an 18.5:9 ratio display, the S8’s edge-to-edge display gives users more room for files and images, making it easier to review work on the go.

Most of all, this enables users to work efficiently without the reliance upon a heavy laptop or even a desk computer.

2. High security

“If security is a concern then you can rest easy, as the Galaxy S8 goes that extra mile to ensure your files, photos, emails and any sensitive information stays totally safe and secure”

Samsung’s newest technology allows users to protect personal and customer data with a built-in Iris Scanner. Latest in hyper-secure smartphone access, the eye pattern-recognition technology is up to 200 times more secure than a fingerprint.

On top of this, the device features the newest Knox 2.8 defence-grade security. This is the most advanced Android security platform, allowing businesses to customise and manage their team’s mobile software to prevent confidential information from being shared or lost.

3. Samsung DEX

“Samsung DeX gives you what you want from a desktop experience: a big screen, a full-size keyboard and a mouse. Just plug your phone into the DeX Station to use apps, review documents and set or check notifications on a desktop interfaceReview, edit and print documents when you’re away from the office.” 

With DeX, users can dock the handset with an external monitor and keyboard for a desktop experience. Plus, with the ability to use Microsoft applications such as Excel and PowerPoint – reviewing and editing documents on your commute just got 10x easier.

4. Durable working

Visually stunning, incredibly tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass enables today’s sleekest smartphone and tablet designs, while providing exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use.”

IP68 water resistance protects your device in up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes and against dust, dirt and sand. This makes the S8 particularly good for those in the construction industry.

5. Super processor

“Whether we’re trying to get somewhere with Google Maps or sharing our YouTube-video-of-the-moment on social, a powerful processor makes all the difference. And don’t Samsung just know it! The S8’s whopping Octa Core 64-bit processor – combined with EE’s superfast 4G network – provides an ultra-quick digital experience without the lag.”

The S8 features the world’s first 10nm Octa-core processor and built-in fast wireless charging. As a result, users are able to switch seamlessly between Excel, Emails and other applications.

If you’re looking to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S8 for corporate use, contact us today.

Croft Communications provide businesses with customised mobile phone contracts, low-cost handsets & next-day delivery. If you’re a medium or corporate sized organisation, our services could benefit you. Click here for a free quotation. 

EE has launched the only official mobile app for this year’s Glastonbury Festival, as well as details of on-site phone charging for the event.

Find out how you can get the Official Mobile App for this years Glastonbury, and how it will benefit you festival goers.

The app is free to download from the Apple iOS and Google Play stores, available to users regardless of what network they are using.

It includes a number of features:

To view the full report, click here.