Can the mobile phone finally replace your laptop?

The prices of mobile phones are slowly creeping up to laptop territory, with most flagships retailing at a minimum of Sh70,000. This pricing is justifiable to some people, given the kind of processing power, convenience and capability the modern smartphone provides. It is incredible just how far these devices have come in recent years, with smartphones now being as powerful as some computers.

With this in mind, as an entrepreneur, can you justify the cost of purchasing a 2017 flagship device by using it in place of a laptop?

Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+ in Kenya last month, and I got my hands on the S8+ for this test.

The intention was to put it through the paces of what a businessperson goes through on a daily basis to see if it can actually replace a laptop. However, since our businesses are all different, I’ll limit the analysis to what we consider common functions: email, Word processing and editing, social media marketing/engagement and product photography.

Straight off the bat, let me say the Samsung Galaxy S8+ is easy on the eyes. Its curved, crisp screen flows smoothly into polished aluminium sides, making the phone look like a singular block of glass – thus the ‘unbox your phone’ tagline Samsung has adopted in its marketing.

The phone comes with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 68 for water and dust resistance – which in basic terminology means you can submerge the S8+ in water 1.5 metres deep for a maximum of half an hour. Among your peers, clients and competitors, this phone will stand out, and we all know that in business, image is everything.

Superficials aside

Superficials aside, what does the S8+ pack inside it that would compel a businessperson to fork out Sh95,000? I could bog you down with the processing details – like the fact that it has the latest Exynos 8895 Octacore processor or Adreno 540 GPU mated to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of UFS 2.1 storage that’s expandable – but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll just tell you this: it’s really fast and powerful. This phone cuts through ordinary functions like butter, and seldom did it stutter. This means that emails, taking photos, chatting and most social media work can be done seamlessly on the device – light photo and video processing included. I managed to record, edit and post a video on YouTube without having to export any of the content to a laptop.

However, for those of us whose businesses rely on loads of documentation, the phone’s form factor has size limitations – which is where Samsung Dex come in. This is a product that lets you connect your S8+ to a monitor, keyboard and mouse for a desktop experience powered by your phone. This means you can turn any spot into a workplace with a Dex station. However, if your business’ document production centres around emails, invoices, quotations and such, the device alone is sufficient.

Voice and data connectivity are also good, as is the battery life. The S8+ didn’t run out of charge before nightfall irrespective of how hard I pushed it.

Now, the camera deserves special mention. The S8+ takes crisp, vibrant photos, and any time I shared pictures from a business function, I’d get asked which pro camera I was using; it’s that good.

Another feature that stands out is the security system. The device comes with facial recognition and an iris sensor over and above a fingerprint sensor, so you know all your business secrets are safe.

So, can you replace a laptop with the S8+? I’d say yes, if you can afford to throw such a sizeable chunk of change on purchasing the device.

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