HardSoft wish to congratulate engineer Greig Taylor for passing his exams to become an Apple Certified Support Professional. Greig only a few weeks before became a father to a baby daughter. So its double congratulations. Apple Certified Support Professional will allow him to further his Apple career. He specialised in OS X Server and will now be able to lead installations of HardSoft Apple networks. HardSoft offer a flexible Lease scheme that includes a Mac Mini Server and networked iMacs all installed and configured.
Apple Certified Support
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.
A Mobile Workstation is a PC notebook computer which has high-end features which you wouldn’t usually find in a notebook. These high-end features include faster graphics processors, more powerful CPUs and additional memory, which enables the notebook to work as efficiently as a desktop workstation. Mobile workstations have often weighed slightly more than standard laptops but the latest models are becoming thinner and lighter than ever before. So if you need the
power and versatility that a desktop but need it to be portable and easy to carry around, a Mobile Workstation is the perfect solution.
The ZBook range is HP’s Mobile Workstation range. It was first launched in September 2013 and has had several reincarnations since which can cause confusion when you’re trying to find the best one for you. A few years ago there were only a few laptops in the ZBook range and the choice was as simple as 15″ or 17″ display. Now you have different weights, graphics cards etc and the range has various sub-brands and multiple options within each. So we thought we’d do our best to give an overview of the range and, hopefully, help make it easier to navigate.
The ZBook x2 is a fusion of a mobile workstation with graphics and lots of memory, plus a detachable tablet which you can interact with using just the touchscreen once you’ve taken off the wireless keyboard. Quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia Quadro graphics card. two USB-C connectors with Thunderbolt 3 support, a dedicated power jack, a USB 3.0 port, and even a full-size HDMI connector and an SD card slot.
ZBOOK STUDIO x360
This model has some aspects of the Spectre and EliteBook lines, like the milled aluminium bodies, but are more durable. Aimed at creatives who may need a device that is portable and convertible enough to cope with intense workloads. They come with options for Intel’s latest Core i5 and i7 processors, or even Xeon chips, graphics from Nvidia Quadro, up to 4TB of local PCIe NVMe storage, and up to 32 GB of RAM. Featuring a 15.6-inch 4K touchscreen display that comes with a Wacom AES pen with 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and two customizable buttons. There are two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support. It’s also fully convertible, with a 360-degree hinge.
ZBOOK 14U & 15U
The U in these models stands for Ultra book or Ultra thin. The ZBook 14u G5 is a 14-inch 4K IPS LED-backlit screen mobile workstation, with an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, a 256 GB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 dedicated graphics card that is optimised for professional use. The ZBook 15u has had a chipset refresh and a 15.6-inch 4K IPS LED-backlit screen. Both use a wide range of Intel’s 8th gen quad-core mobile CPUs, ranging from Core i5-8250U to the Core i7-8650U. They can also be equipped with up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM in two SO-DIMM slots, up to 1TB of PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage or HP’s 1TB HP Z Turbo Drive G2. The ZBook 14u and 15u G5 come with workstation level Radeon Pro WX 3100 graphics which can handle AutoCAD and other design applications easily.
The ZBook 15v (v meaning value) is aimed at a wider market than your standard workstation laptops, targetting those who need more from their laptops for software like AutoCAD design, Autodesk Revit, and SketchUp. The ZBook 15v has an 8th gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB memory, 1 TB HDD storage, 15.6″ diagonal Full HD display, and Intel UHD Graphics 630. The 15V is reasonably portable, coming in at just over 25 mm thick and weighing in at 2.14 kg.
The ZBook 15 Mobile workstation has a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics. It’s rugged construction and multi-layered security keep everything safe and secure, although it is fairly heavy, weighing in at 2.81kg. It’s HP DreamColor screen offers superb quality and accuracy. With four USB ports, one USB 2.0 port and three faster USB 3.0 ports, including one with power for charging devices, the HP ZBook 15 is a robust mobile workstation, offering great processing power, ISV Certified graphics and durability.
The ZBook 17 has a Gigabit Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports (one with power for charging devices), an SD card reader and a security lock slot, plus two Thunderbolt 3 ports, VGA and HDMI outputs, a fourth USB 3.0 port, a SmartCard reader, and connectors for power and audio, so you can get connected to pretty much anything. It has a 17.3-inch IPS panel, which offers great viewing angles and an anti-glare coating which means it is also visible in sunlight. With an Intel Xeon processor, 64GB of RAM and an Nvidia Quadro P5000 graphics card, this ZBook is a great option.
Of course, no matter which ZBook you choose, the software you use defines which graphics card you need and therefore impacts which choice of Mobile Workstation is for you. We have a blog that will help you choose which graphics card you need for the software you use, and you can also use PNY’s graphics card selector tool too.
These mobile workstations are fantastic for anyone who needs a heavy-duty yet portable computer and leasing them means that you can keep your cash flow free, whilst making the most of the benefits of leasing, such as our 3-year warranty which includes technical support and the opportunity to own at the end of the lease. To find out more about the ZBook range available to lease from HardSoft, get in touch with our team on 020 7111 1643 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recently launched the HardSoft Creative Club, as a solution for our customers following numerous requests for the option of short-term hire of computer equipment. Leasing has numerous benefits for businesses, but sometimes you just need some kit to see you through a big project or an exhibition, and that’s where the Creative Club comes into its own.
Often clients commit to expensive computers with a specification they actually only need to use once in a blue moon. A typical example is taking an iMac Pro when its only needed to do the crunching twice a year. The Creative Club would allow a client to take a cheaper iMac 27″ i7, then get delivered the extra iMac Pro resource when it’s needed.
For just £6 per week plus VAT, our members (and you have to have a ‘live’ lease contract) can have access to a pool of equipment for short-term hire. The equipment in the Creative Club pool will have a daily points value and each member receives 350 points annually to use to hire the extra kit they need when they want it. It’s short-term computer hire that’s cheap and flexible.
The Creative Club has been well received by our existing customers and we thought we’d tell you more about the frequently asked questions we’ve had so far.
Frequently Asked Questions on The Creative Club
|Is delivery and collection included?||Yes, it is. Please keep any packaging provided and ensure the equipment is packed safely and securely ready for our collection.|
|When does the hire period start?||We deliver and collect Monday to Friday. We will deliver the working day before your rental period starts and collect the day after the rental period ends.|
|Is there a minimum hire period?||Yes – the minimum is 3 days.|
|How do I book equipment out?||Currently, you need to email the team email@example.com specifying the hire period, equipment choice and delivery address details. We require seven days’ notice to provide the kit at the moment, but within the next few months we will have an online booking system and aim to improve the wait time.|
|What is the current list of equipment available and how many points for each?||iMac Pro – 50 points per day|
|IPad Pro 12.9” – with Cellular- 10 points per day|
|IMac 27” 5K – 3.8GHz, 16GB RAM – 15 points per day|
|MacBook Pro 15” Touch Bar – 20 points per day|
|Drobo 5D ext storage array – 5 points per day|
|Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box with GTX 1070 TI graphics – 7 points per day|
|Blackmagic 4K Camera- 12 points per day|
|VR PC- i7 CPU with 24” Display & Oculus Rift – 15 points per day|
|Surface Pro – i7, with Type Cover – 13 points per day|
|I need to hire some equipment not listed, can I request it?||We are constantly adding to the pool of equipment as demand dictates so please ask if you have some specific requests. Obviously, we would appreciate as much advance notice as possible to try to accommodate your needs|
|Can I load my own software onto the equipment?||Certainly. Use the computers just as you would your own. There are no restrictions.|
|It’s £6 per week plus VAT. Any other costs?||There is a one-off set up fee collected with your first payment of £30 plus VAT.|
|Can I pay monthly or annually?||No, quarterly direct debit paid in advance is the only option. The cost is £78 plus VAT per quarter. An annual invoice showing the full 12 months payments will be emailed across after we collect the initial payment.|
|Do I need to ‘wipe’ the data before returning it?||No, we have a safeguarding process and all data is securely removed and destroyed within 48 hours of us receiving the equipment back.|
|Is insurance against loss or theft included?||No, it is not and you should have provisions within your normal business insurance to cover this. Accidental damage is covered though. There is no excess to pass on this cover.|
|Can I take the equipment I receive outside the UK?||Yes, but we do not cover Accidental Damage outside the UK and Ireland. Please ensure you have cover or are prepared to pay for any damages.|
|Can I cancel membership to ‘The Creative Club’?||Yes on each annual anniversary. If you cancel before the annual anniversary, you will still be liable for the remaining payments for that year unless you have never used any of your Points allocation.|
|Can I carry the ‘points’ across to a subsequent subscription year?||No, the points reset to zero on the annual anniversary.|
|Can I add extra points?||You cannot add extra points but we can add additional memberships. There is no limit per company.|
|Are the computers and equipment available to hire all new?||No, they are not new but all are the latest models and specs and all are supplied in a ready to run condition.|
|I am not a HardSoft customer. Can I still subscribe?||Unfortunately not. We have developed this scheme for existing customers only. Why not become a customer!|
If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, get in touch with our team who will be happy to answer any queries on how this is the ceapest way to hire computers for short term projects.. Call them on 020 7111 1643 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the Video explainer….
Being fully Apple Authorised, HardSoft are able to centrally register the Macs and iPads we lease to customers with Apple, which helps them with the management of their assets. Apple have recently relaunched their Device Enrolment Programme (DEP) as the new Apple Business Manager. This is, in essence, the enterprise version of Apple School Manager, which gives companies a web-based portal for IT managers to deploy and manage Apple devices across the workplace. Apple Business Manager lets you buy content and configure automatic device enrollment in your Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.
Apple says that this service offers businesses sleek device enrolment, controls for assigning privileges and settings, as well as the ability to purchase apps and books, all from one central location. Signing up for Apple Business Manager as part of your lease means that you can deploy Macs, iPads and other iOS devices which you have leased across a business or school. You can then supervise from a distance any iOS devices owned by your business but used by your staff, whether they’re office based or work remotely.
This level of management allows you to add restrictions, such as turning off integral games and apps, as well as blocking certain apps from being downloaded to the device. With Business Manager large-scale deployments of iPad and Mac are seamless. Your devices are configured through a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, we use the Airwatch MDM software solution – which costs £1.00 per week extra on a three-year lease, users are then guided through the activation process.
Through the Device Enrollment Program, businesses can choose to supervise corporate-owned iOS devices over the air and the supervision of this provides a higher level of device management customising configurations and features specific to your school or business.
What can I do with Apple Business Manager?
Configuring Business Manager allows you a number of options:
- Force the device to enroll with an MDM such as AirWatch
- Select which MDM group devices should be a part of initially
- Disable users ability to un-enroll from the MDM manually
- Place device in supervised mode
- Restrict device from pairing with macOS computers
- Disable sending diagnostics information to Apple
- Display personalised contact information for support
In addition, you can add a Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile for each device. The MDM allows the centralised control and deployment of software. Using an MDM gives you the ability to configure access to corporate services, account setting, and even which apps can be used. This removes the need to deploy your devices manually and means that your staff can get working as soon as the device is turned on. There is no need to have someone from your IT team physically set up each device individually. This is only offered by Apple Authorised Sellers or direct from the Apple Store. HardSoft has provided rollouts to such organisations as the Marie Curie cancer charity, as well as Dee Valley Water.
You can lease the iPad Pro 10.5-inch with Mobile Device Managment bundle from HardSoft, on a three-year lease from £7.50 per week + VAT. The Benefits of Apple Business Manager and an MDM solution are massive but if you want to know more take a look at the FAQs below, or give our sales team a call on 020 7111 1643 and they will be happy to talk you through why Business Manager and MDM make sense for your business or school.
FAQ’s on the Apple Business Manager
Does HardSoft manage the whole process? Not entirely. HardSoft role in the device enrolment process consists of order management functions, such as providing device serial numbers or IMEI numbers, creating a customer’s Customer ID, providing our Reseller ID, and a few other order details. Further actions in the programme — such as claiming and assigning devices in the website and or to MDM servers — are the responsibility of the customer.
What resellers, distributors or carriers are eligible to support Device enrolment for their customers? Any Apple Authorised Reseller such as HardSoft, or Telecoms carrier, such as O2, EE is eligible to participate in the programme.
Can adding devices into the Business Manager resolve issues with the new law General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? No, though it is the first stage in adding a Mobile Device Management Solution such as Airwatch that would conform. The new GDPR law states you must implement “appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, including…encryption of personal data” (Article 32, Security of processing). In the event of a data breach, the organisation is not required to inform individuals of the breach if measures that “render the personal data unintelligible” were in place, including encryption (Article 34, Communication of a personal data breach to the data subject). GDPR is a concern to all Companies with the potential for heavy fines. Mobile devices such as iPads ‘roaming;’ the country with Data on are a hole in an IT security set up that needs addressing.
What customers are eligible to sign up for the Business Manager? Business Manager is available to qualifying businesses. Generally, a client with 10 or more mobile devices feels the benefit. The service of Apple School Manager is available to state, independent, primary and secondary schools, colleges and eligible educational organisations…
What does the customer need to provide to Apple to enrol devices? We require the customer’s Customer ID (Apple will provide this to the customer after on line registration), the HardSoft ID, the device IDs of the devices sold (serial numbers or IMEI numbers), and a few details about the order, such as delivery date.
Does HardSoft specify in the terms of sale that the device must be removed from Business Manager when the customer no longer owns, it? No but the Apple Business Manager terms agreed to by the customer at sign up require a customer to remove devices that they no longer own. Be aware that any devices lost, stolen will need removing.
Is there a charge to participate in Apple Business Manager? Apple does not charge customers to participate in the service or Apple School Manager scheme. An MDM solution such as Airwatch would be at extra cost.
Can HardSoft help by enrolling devices into Business Manager? Unfortunately no. End users must enrol in the service or Apple School Manager and accept the terms and conditions themselves. Customers who request HardSoft to perform additional integration or management services (such as an MDM) can latterly create an admin account within their portal or Apple School Manager portal to add and manage these services on the customers behalf.
Could customers create their own API? Organisations should be able to develop functional integration with Apple’s device enrolment APIs using two or three developers in about 10 weeks. Alternatively, an off the shelf solution should be considered. HardSoft offer VMWare Airwatch.
What makes leasing from HardSoft so different from all the other leasing companies out there? We believe that it’s the holistic approach we take to our business, we care about our customers and the experience they have with us so we do our best to make sure that experience is a beneficial and helpful as possible. We also listen to our customers and try to develop new offerings that fit with what they’re looking for.
For example, we have recently launched our new HardSoft Creative Club. The Creative Club gives our customers access to a pool of kit for short-term hire. That’s the kit they need when they need it for short-term projects, for just £6 per week plus VAT. The kit in the pool has a daily points value and customers receive 350 points annually to use to hire the extra kit they need and at the time when they need it. All delivered and collected as part of their membership. It’s short-term computer hire that’s cheap and flexible, exactly what many of our customers have been asking for.
We have also launched a Loyalty Rewards Scheme. To say thank you to our returning customers for their continued business with HardSoft, and to show how much we value it we now have a Loyalty Reward Program and now offer these customers a free gift with new leases – see the gift grid.
Small Things = A Big Difference
HardSoft also offers lots of those small things that all add up to make a big HardSoft difference, such as:
- 35 years of trading experience
We have been trading since 1984 and our team know the nuts and bolts of leasing and can help with your financing choice.
- 4,000 clients with £30M of leases
We have over 4,000 customers who hold £30M of leases. We have the knowledge and experience that comes from supporting these customers which will help us to help you.
- FCA authorised
Being FCA authorised means you can be confident that all our leases fall within FCA lending criteria and have transparent terms.
- Apple authorised
We work directly with Apple and all of our Apple products are genuine and brand new.
- Finance for new Start-Ups
We recently approved leasing for a Start-Up without an indemnity every day for a 90 day period – and counting!
- Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award
Created by Feefo, the Gold Trusted Service Award is awarded to businesses that meet the high standard. This accreditation is based purely on reviews of interactions with verified customers. As all reviews are verified as genuine, the accreditation is a true reflection of a business’ commitment to outstanding service.
- More than 10K Macs
10,000 Macs have been supplied to our customers, getting them started or keeping them going, without the need to outlay large amounts from their cash flow.
- 5 star Google reviews
Take a look at our Google reviews and find out what our customers have to say about our business, service and support. We consistently received 5 star reviews from our customers and
- Pure-Rental options
If you don’t want the option to cancel your lease or change your equipment after 2-years, you can take out a Pure-Rental lease.
- Leases available over 2,3, or 4 years
We offer a range of lease terms to suit your needs, making it easier and more flexible for you.
- Competitive insurance
Insuring computer equipment can be expensive and some insurers won’t even quote on high ticket items. HardSoft offer insurance that is cheaper than you might think.
- Cancel after 2 years
If you have a Flexi-Lease you have the option to cancel your lease after two years, or change your equipment to the latest spec and take out a new lease.
- Apple trained technicians
Our technicians are all highly trained and receive the latest, most up to date training from Apple meaning they solve any issues you may have quickly and get you back up and running as soon as possible.
HardSoft believes in offering a little bit more to our customers to help them get the best from their leasing. If you’d like to discuss your leasing options with one of our knowledgeable team give us a call on 020 7111 1643 or email email@example.com. You can also use our live web chat service via our website homepage.