At our March Monthly meeting, we met Vikas Vij, from the 12-year-old Tech Solutions division of the Noel Leeming chain. That division continues to do installation and troubleshooting work but has now expanded into more educational and on-going support roles as well. This comprehensive service covers all the devices and combinations that Leeming’s market – TVs, Computers, Laptops, SmartPhones, Sound Systems and many other products.
Depending on your particular needs and knowledge, you can choose from extensive support packages, ranging from TV set up, delivery, computer, tablet and network services, to general technical support at commercially competitive prices and packages.
Learning sessions are usually one-on-one and for all age groups and so cater to different sectors than SeniorNet. Even so, Vikas echoed the point that Sue La Roche, our Course Manager, has also made – that learning should not be too fast nor concentrated.
Vikas spent some time looking at the smartphone scene. He reminded us that an “App” is short for “Application”, which is a program that is specifically designed for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets but which can also take advantage of the many sensors and features that smartphones now have.
The two most popular smartphone operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Android (Windows rather less so for phones). For smartphones, the Internet is delivered via WiFi or a SIM card. Some accounts have carry-over of data and/or talking and/or text accounts. Prepaid has no contract and so can suit some people’s needs best.
There are now many types of “Subscriber Identification Module” or “SIM” cards after the standard one appeared in 1991. In 1996 came the Mini-SIM, then the Micro-SIM in 2003 and, in 2012, the Nano-Sim. Now there is the Multi-Sim insert – which can accommodate any of the above. With SIMs comes the danger that, whenever you are outside your house and so out of WiFi range, the many apps you are likely to have on your phone automatically consume data and you may be hit with a large bill if you exceed the data caps. However, by turning on one of the Power Saving modes and thus reducing your modern phone down to the basics of calling, texting and little else, your battery will last many days – just like the older portables phones like Nokia used to do.
The major brands of smartphones include Apple, Samsung, Huawei, HTC, LG, Nokia and Oppo. Major providers like Spark, Vodafone and 2 Degrees are also introducing their own support phones, including the iPhoneX.
There is a big difference among iPhones – you can pick up a good older model of iPhone for a lot less. Vikas noted that the iPhone 6 is still very good value and is now only $499 from its original price of $1099.
Samsung has a range of models for different target markets and regions. The lower end “J” category now extends up to J7. “A” category phones are water resistant which is excellent but that also means you can’t just open the back and take the battery out. High-end smartphones like the S8, S9 are also water resistant as well as having amazing cameras.
As Vikas said, before you buy any phone – do your homework! He hadn’t heard of the Outdoor Phone Company, which supplies ruggedised smartphones, but posed general questions around how easy it would be if there were any kinds of problems with them, versus the above mentioned comprehensive support offered by Noel Leeming.
Looking again at the iPhoneX (aka iPhone10), Vikas noted that it features 4K resolution as also do many modern Televisions today. However, 4K content is not yet common, so we may have to settle for the most commonly available resolutions – Standard and High Definition (HD) – for the time being. That said, 4K content is starting to appear in the likes of YouTube and demonstration DVDs. Generally, though, technology tends to be ahead of its supporting resources.
At the end of his very extensive seminar, Vikas received a well-deserved ovation and stayed on long afterwards, talking to individual members. Thanks, Vikas!