We at Hardsoft are proud to announce that we have successfully secured a lease contract to supply Hasselblad the world’s premier camera manufacture with new Apple Macs’s on our flexible lease option. Hasselblad UK have taken delivery of three highly specified Apple Mac Pros, which are installed at their UK head office in Borehamwood, Herts. Many photographers may well see them as they pop in. Hardsoft have been supplying IT and Photographic products through our Flexi Lease Program for many years. In fact the owner of the Cambridgeshire Franchise , David Hawkins, has fifteen years experience in Architectural photography.As a photographer, keeping up with digital age and the competition is important to stay ahead of the game, but so is hanging on to that hard earned cash. Our Flexi Lease program will not only give the equipment you need today but enable you to maximise your cash flow. HardSoft can provide a bespoke Mac , including the new 12 core Mac Pro with accessories and software such as Adobe, Aperture etc on a three year lease with hardware support and warranty and optional accidental insurance cover
Andrew loves computers and the way the market is evolving to a 'pay as you go' model against the old methodology of CapEx spending. A background of sourcing lease financing for Start Up businesses means he is perfectly place to provide insightful commentary on computing for new businesses.
The first reviews are in on the new 15″ Surface Book 2 delivered last month. Always meeting and often exceeding expectations; the SurfaceBook 2 was always going to be a breathtaking laptop. With phenomenal; Design, Internal architecture, hardware specification and Display. But apparently, no one cares about its other modes?
In our survey, we asked our clients what they thought of their new 15″ Surface Book 2:
The Surface Book 2 was marketed as Microsoft’s answer to the MacBook Pro as an attempt to encroach on Apple’s tightly held professional consumer market. The problem always was, in my eyes, that Microsoft never really offered a compelling enough alternative to the MacBook & MacBook Pro or to build back trust in the brand after the recent failed releases of operating systems like Windows 8.
As you can see the vast majority of our customers have been happy so far following delivery of their 15″ Surface Book 2 with 83% of those surveyed stating they were impressed with the Surface Book and perhaps more surprisingly not a single customer surveyed said that they weren’t impressed.
This is some really engaging and exciting feedback and certainly the 15″ Surface Book 2 is managing to at least live up to the expectations placed on it by the price tag.
Almost all of our participants cited the combination of both the PixelSense Display & Hardware Performance as the reasons why they liked the SurfaceBook 2:
“Powerful performance with a large screen, and still very portable thanks to the detachable touchscreen & pen there is also so much more functionality present in the design than I ever had with a MacBook.”
“Touchscreen, it’s quick startup and the graphics capabilities.”
“The Power, High-Resolution screen and it’s Design.”
“The speed of the device and its screen!”
“Touchscreen, it’s convertible into a tablet and I can use the Surface pen directly on the screen.”
Despite exceeding expectations, the most surprising fact that our survey revealed is that few care about the SurfaceBook 2’s main USP!
Since launch, the Surface Range has prided itself on producing products that are both; A quality build internally but also offering an unmatched level of user-flexibility and versatility. The unique hinge and detachable feature of the Surface Book 2 have definitely been the focus of Microsoft’s marketing, but this survey would indicate very few really care, with only 17% saying that it was even an important feature on their Surface Book 2!
Brand loyalty and comfort is always an important factor when consumers make a decision regarding which equipment to get. The battle between Mac and Windows operating systems is still raging, fiercer than ever, although there are swathes of consumers on both sides of the debate PC is the current winner, still holding a far superior percentage of the relevant market shares than Apple. Partly user experience, affordability and perhaps a dash of tradition maintain that grip for Microsoft but not in the professional consumer markets.
Apple is often considered the premium choice for the creative professional however with the Surface range’s unique design, beautiful marketing (definitely inspired by Apple) and premium specifications a new competitor has entered the race and our customers have taken note. Without a doubt the Surface Book 2’s main competition is the MacBook Pro; Both selling for a similar price, with similar spec and offering a very similar ‘premium’ laptop.
Over 60% of our surveyed consumers already owned or had used Surface products in office prior to their purchasing of the 15″ Surface Book 2, this is certainly indicative of the Surface range leaving a good impression on users and perhaps of endearing loyalty towards a Windows OS.
Only 17% of those surveyed had even considered a MacBook as an alternative option when deciding whether or not to purchase the SurfaceBook 2. I would argue that this is more to do with user compatibility than marketing; Windows OS vs. Mac OS, however its interesting to note that our surveyed consumers when deciding what to spend £2000+ on often didn’t even consider the already well-established Apple alternative, especially when 50% of them have Apple products being regularly used in the office. Swaying consumers over from Apple to Microsoft or vice-versa seems a near impossible feat.
It’s interesting to see that the reason people are enjoying the Surface range isn’t due to marketing gimmicks and ultimately ‘luxury features’, instead, they are finding the Surface Book 2 to be a great quality device which is according to our survey; Responsive, beautiful and portable All of which are ultimately more important fundamentals. However, I can’t help but feel it perhaps a shame that more people aren’t finding Microsoft’s new innovation particularly exciting or ‘important’ when considering their initial experiences with the Surface Book 2.
Leasing has never been easier with our integrated e-sign paperwork which enables quick and easy agreements. The Surface Book 2 15″ is available to lease from as little as £20.35 a week ensuring your business keeps up to date with the latest equipment, quality devices for entry-level prices. Call HardSoft’s sales team now on 0207 1111 643 or speak to them online.
Our MDs, Andrew and Phil, started out building PCs over 30 years ago (they are the fresh-faced boys in the cover image!) and we recently had a customer bring in a custom built PC which they had made for them in 1984, which just needed a quick repair but it was still going strong!
This got us thinking about the oldest tech our customers have which they are still using regularly. At around the same time we also came across a company – My Face on a Figure – that will make action figures with your face on! So, what better way to combine these two things, than to have a HardSoft competition?
All you need to do is tweet us at @HardSoft_ (don’t forget to mention us so we see it!) or email firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of yourself with your oldest bit of technology, telling us what it is and how old it is. We’ll then pick the oldest one and arrange for an action figure to be made of you – or the person of your choice. You may want to be nice and get one of your child, partner, whoever!
There are, of course, some terms and conditions for this competition:
1. Only 1 entry per company/individual
2. No photo-shopped images! Any that we think have been will be disqualified.
3. All entries must be received by 5.30pm on Monday 30th April 2018.
The iMac Pro has landed and it certainly made an impact…
After the much-anticipated release of the iMac Pro following its 2017 sneak peek/reveal we learned that this new machine although a ‘Pro’, thankfully, wasn’t to be based on the underwhelming and uninspiring architecture of the original Mac Pro released in 2013. Instead, its all-in-one design confirmed it to be the spiritual successor to the office all-star and much-beloved iMac. So, what did they change/fix this time around? and what do real customers using the machine think of the new tech?
Following the delivery of their iMac Pro’s from HardSoft we caught up with the guys at Red90 and Ian Allardyce at Really Nice Content Ltd. to see how the iMac Pro is performing in the world of TV and Film Production and what makes this particular incarnation of the iMac product line such a landmark release.
Scott Carey is a ‘Camera Tech Guru’ from the TV film and video production company, Red90, based in Pontnewynydd, Wales. He likes to think himself an ‘unofficial’ Apple product tester/torturer with the amount of work he puts his hardware through. His old iMacs were basically spare parts before Red90’s new pair of iMac Pro’s arrived:
“I had to have a desk fan constantly blowing over my old iMac whilst it coughed and spluttered because it couldn’t keep cool with the editing work I was putting it through. Now when performing the same editing tasks I barely hear the fans kick in and everything is maintained at a constant temperature throughout. I’ve probably heard the fans come on…once? Most of the time it’s basically silent. I put these machines through their paces; I run multiple heavy applications and often edit from raw footage. I’ve had one crash on the iMac Pro when I was really putting it to task on some heavy editing work. It wasn’t unusual for me to get 10-15 crashes a day on our old iMac.”
Ian Allardyce is the Owner/Director of Really Nice Content Ltd. a Video Production company. Ian recently shot his first feature-length film “Ulaanbaatar” an indie-music drama last summer, in Mongolia! He plans on taking the film to festivals this year after colour grading it with his new iMac Pro:“It’s a really beautiful machine and is so much clearer than my MacBook. The 5k screen will be perfect for all the colour grading work I’ve got coming up on my new film. I rendered some footage which would have taken my old MacBook 30+ minutes with the fans on full, my iMac Pro had it finished in 3 and it didn’t make a sound.”
Martin ‘Biggles’ Phillips is the production manager at Welsh TV & Film Production company Red90. Working as a cameraman and editor for over 30 years Martin has seen it all and even he is impressed with the speed of the iMac Pro:“The amount of time we save when we are editing is the most surprising, Scott has been working away and got more done working from the iMac Pro than he would have ever before on our old iMac’s. They have really helped increase productivity and lower our turnaround times they are sort of paying for themselves with the time they save.”
In all of my experiences with the iMac Pro I have heard nothing but positive reviews, it seems that Apple has really pulled out all the stops with this machine and produced something really special, that: Fits the technical niche professional consumers have been looking for from Apple, whilst maintaining their signature USP of being easy to use and beautiful to behold.
HardSoft is an authorised UK Apple re-seller. The latest model of iMac Pro available to lease today, from as little as £32 a week and remember whenever and whatever you lease with HardSoft it will come with our comprehensive 3-year warranty and UK based technical support. Order online or contact our dedicated HardSoft Sales team online or over the phone on 0207 1111 643.
An ever-increasing number of people are using an iPad as their sole computing device. If Apple continues to further improve the iPad’s: functionality, build, and software it looks likely that we will see these figures rise.
It’s been long debated whether tablets can or will ever replace laptops and computers. Over the last decade, tablets have successfully carved themselves out a middle ground in the tech market and are often viewed as ‘luxury goods’.
‘But what we are seeing now is an evolution of the traditional tablet into something far more versatile and technically impressive than ever before.’
The introduction of the iPad Pro heralds the introduction of the first pedigree ‘Tablet’ option for users, that perhaps, is finally powerful enough to replace a laptop.
Benchmark tests carried out by Bare Feats show that, when comparing the 2017 MacBook pro and the 2017 iPad Pro, the CPU and GPU performance are extremely similar. This means the iPad Pro is delivering a level of performance directly comparable to the MacBook Pro. Their capabilities are closer than ever before, and this improvement in performance isn’t compromising the iPad’s battery life. With up to 10 hours of regular use available, the same amount as the MacBook Pro.
The maximum amount of storage available on the larger 12.9 inch iPad Pro is 512GB. Although this is the same as the MacBook Pro, it is configurable to a 1TB SSD. Despite not being able to configure the iPad Pro, the standard 64GB and 256GB often prove to be enough storage for the average user. This is due in part to many popular applications and file saving services now being cloud-based, so restrictive hardware storage is far less likely to be a deal breaker where it may have been in the past.
When it comes to typing, if they’re using the iPad as an alternative to their laptop, people will inevitably want to purchase a detachable keyboard to accompany their iPad. For Tablet tasks the iPad Pro’s onscreen keyboard is somewhat…sufficient, but if you’re doing work on your iPad, a separate keyboard will be more than beneficial but probably necessary. There is a huge range on the market, but remember this will add to the cost difference (we’ll come to this later!).
Another accessory which will increase overall cost is the smart pencil. This accessory is fantastic for creatives in professions like graphic design. The pencil is pressure-sensitive so you can vary the weight of lines when drawing and given new ‘Lean’ features shading is also possible. The iPad Pro is not only something that can replace your laptop but now even your pen and paper as it allows you to scribble down notes whenever&wherever needed!
Software & Apps
As for software, it differs between devices. The iPad Pro uses iOS, a touch-based operating system, whilst the MacBook Pro uses OS X which is operated via the traditional keyboard and trackpad interface. The iPad Pro’s new ‘dock’ feature on iOS is very similar to the MacBook’s, the dock certainly streamlines the interface and makes it easier to access applications and files. Enabling files to all be viewed immediately and be dragged and dropped, just as they can in OS X. The iPad Pro also offers multitasking abilities with both slide over and split view features. Recently, iOS has seen an increase in the number of apps made specifically for it, so if trends continue App accessibility shouldn’t be a restricting factor for the Tablet market.
Applications such as Photoshop and iMovie can all be used on the iPad, ensuring it’s relevance in creative industries. People working in graphic design can also use the iPad Pro to directly ‘sketch’ out ideas on their screen using the Apple Pencil.
As well as comparing all the specs of these devices, the often defining factor for many is cost. Leasing the entry-level iPad Pro (10.5-inch with 64GB storage) starts from just £5.50 per week, whereas the entry-level MacBook Pro (13-inch: 2.3GHz 128GB storage) starts at roughly double the price, £10.95 per week. Remember, there will be additional costs for the iPad Pro if you choose to add a detachable keyboard and/or Apple pencil. Here at Hardsoft UK, we always offer these extras in with the leasing cost so you have everything in one easy to manage package.
At the moment, there is definitely still room in the market for both the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro, but this could all change in the future as technology continually improves. Right now, the iPad Pro could easily replace a laptop for average day to day users who need to browse the web and create basic content. As for professionals, the iPad Pro can be a valuable product, but one that their workload will often dictate is best used alongside a more powerful device.
At Hardsoft UK we offer to rent, hire, and lease all the models of Apple MacBooks and iPads. As an authorised Apple reseller, we offer you the best products as they’re released and with our leasing service can upgrade your machine after two years!