Our latest newsletter is now available to download . As well as updating you on events happening at HardSoft Computers there is an exclusive offer with FREE Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac or Office Standard 2010 for PC on new lease order. There is an offer code that you can use within the newsletter. Our standard upgrade of Windows 7 Professional and Office for Windows will continue to be shipped on all new leased Apple Macs shipped throughout May 2011. If you need further details on any of these offers or have an order to place to lease two or more units then contact us and see what sort of deal we can do for the mad month of May. The following £100 cashback is available on request of a voucher.
May Offers at HardSoft
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 Microsoft Surface Book 2 is now available in 15″ and it costs the same to lease as the MacBook Pro 15″ – but which one is best?
With the Surface Book 2 Microsoft are clearly setting their sights on creative professionals who would usually go for the MacBook Pro. The Surface Book has the high-res display, long battery life and high-end graphics performance that designers, animators, and video editors long for. You can detach the touchscreen and draw on it using the Surface Pen and Dial, and Microsoft has packed in some higher-end components, including 8th Gen Core processors and Nvidia GTX 1050 or 1060 graphics.
Traditionally Apple have been seen as the prestige item but this is starting to change – however, in our opinion if Apple were to bring out a faster MacBook Pro then this trend could start to back track. There are differences in terms of performance and power etc, which we’ll look at shortly, but some general things to consider when you’re weighing up these two notebooks are; the MacBook Pro can run windows as well as the Apple OS, the residual resale value of the MacBook Pro is also around 20% whereas the old version of the Surface Book has only 5% of it’s original value. Another thing to consider is that if your MacBook Pro were to develop a problem you can obtain a loan machine and be up and running quickly due to the Apple iCloud ecosystem.
The Surface Book 2 on the other hand has 4 times the power of the original Surface Book, an impressive battery life and up to 1TB of storage with 16GB of RAM. It also have more than 5 times the graphics performance of the original Surface Book. You can use the Microsoft Surface Pen and Dial with the Surface Book 2 to create and design and with the USB-C port so you can charge devices, transfer files, and display video from a single connector. The main difference is, of course, the ability to use the Surface Book 2 in three ways – as a laptop, tablet, and studio.
The Surface Book 2 looks just like it’s former self and the latest MacBook Pro remains the same, and while the Surface Book 2 is attractive to anyone who might want to move from laptop to tablet without having both, this does come at the cost of some portability. The MacBook Pro is thinner than the Surface Book 2 – 0.6 inches rather than 0.9 inches – and it’s also lighter by 0.2 pounds.
When it comes to displays the Surface Book 2 features an amazingly high-res screen in the 15″ version at 3240 x 2160 – the 13″ is pretty amazing too at 3000 x 2000. In comparison, the MacBook Pro, runs at 2800 x 1800 on the 15″ (and 2560 x 1600 on the 13″). The 15″ MacBook is brighter, but the 15″ Surface Book is slightly more vivid, and it detaches to become a tablet!
Both of them offer strong performance in terms of power, but graphically the Surface Book 2 is more powerful. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with its Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD achieved a score of 15,293 on Geekbench 4, while the 15-inch Surface Book 2’s Core i7-8650U CPU with 16B of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD was slower, achieving a score of 12,505 on Geekbench 4. When it comes to graphics, the Surface Book 2 is stronger, with a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. The MacBook Pro’s Radeon 560 GPU works well but the Surface Book 2 deals with more graphic heavy applications and games with ease.
Microsoft have added a USB Type-C port to the Surface Book 2, but unfortunately it’s not a Thunderbolt 3 port, which allows for higher speed connections. However, it does have two USB Tyoe-A ports and a SD memory reader, which the MacBook Pro doesn’t.
The battery life of both the MacBook Pro and the Surface Book 2 is top-notch but whilst Apple say the Macbook 15″ has around 10 hours of battery life, Microsoft say their Surface Book 2 has up to 17 hours of video playback battery life. That’s almost a whole working day of difference.
Whether you choose the MacBook Pro or decide the Surface Book 2 is for you, don’t forget that leasing either with a HardSoft lease will cost you exactly the same amount per week, so you can’t lose! To find out more about our leasing options get in touch with our sales team on email@example.com or call 020 7111 1643.
Have some free training on us! Need to get into the nitty-gritty of software such as Cinema 4D, Revit or Adobe CS?
If you’re a creative or developer, you’ll know that there are several software packages that you need have under your belt in order to stay ahead of the game. With this in mind HardSoft have teamed up with Academy Class training in order to help you out with free training on certain** new top-end Apple Mac computers.
Academy Class is a training provider for creatives and developers in the UK who are offering HardSoft customers free training on a range of 17 of their online courses, covering 9 software packages – all you have to do is log in using a rebate code and you have £238.00 worth of online training available at your fingertips.
You can become the expert that you need to be with the right training and we’d love to help you start your journey into expertise. The Academy Class training courses get a large number of positive reviews from their attendees, such as “I had never used AutoCAD before and the classes got me through the exam first time. Very good introduction to what was a daunting challenge for me.”, “The two day Premiere Pro Yellow Belt class gave me exactly the knowledge I needed. The Tutor, Dom, had excellent knowledge of the product.”, and “The trainer was very good at explaining an overview of the course and the class moved at a good pace. Mark’s understanding of printing helped a great deal”.
The wide range of courses and levels available to you, means that there is always going to be a course that will help improve your knowledge and skills. Academy Class offer three levels of training: Beginner ‘Yellow Belt‘, Intermediate ‘Green Belt‘, and Advanced ‘Black Belt‘, so you can choose which level is most appropriate for your needs. You can also choose the way in which you want to learn. You can either attend a class at one of the training centres in London, Manchester, Leeds, or Glasgow, or you can attend a virtual real-time class without leaving home or the office in a small online training group, or receive one-to-one training.
Courses are certified so you can show your potential clients you have the knowledge and skills to do a great job for them. Adobe certification is great for digital media professionals and educators alike, while Autodesk certification is perfect for every great designer.
Courses covered in this offer are:
Adobe Photoshop – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Adobe Illustrator – 101 Yellow Belt, 201 Green Belt, and 301 Black Belt
Cinema 4D – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe User Experience
Adobe Premiere Pro – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Adobe After Effects – 101 Yellow Belt
Autodesk AutoCAD – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
Autodesk Revit Architecture – 101 Yellow Belt and 201 Green Belt
** Offer for free on-line training applies for new orders from 27/2/18 to 31/3/18 on all Apple iMac Pro, all Mac Pro, and iMac 27″ with i7-4.2GHz only.
If you have Macs your current network solution is likely to include a Mac mini, or even an XServe, configured with additional Server Apps from the App Store to enable functions such as file sharing and permissions etc.
The big issue with this is that since the old OSX server upgrade to the new version of MacOS High Sierra came into effect and server functionality has been severely reduced as Apple pull back support for Servers and push towards Cloud only Servers.
Apple have also removed FTP and iOS File sharing from the Server App, which means that it is no longer a network manager, and has become more like the office junior/filing assistant. When you combine this with the fact that the Mac Mini tech is now getting fairly old, with it not having been updated since late 2014, plus that it’s missing important items such as Thunderbolt 3, and it becomes clear that the functionality has reduced to the point of being almost useless. Which, let’s face it, is not a great deal of use to most businesses!
Switch to Windows Server 2016
For the more security conscious network owners who also want to control their data, the answer is to move to a Windows based server. Particularly as High Sierra is in fact now super compatible with Microsoft Windows Server 2016.
Microsoft have in turn improved support for Macs with Windows 2016 Server the de-facto standard for remote access, file sharing and security in the Mac world. HP – who make the Servers to run Server 2016 – have recently upgraded their range, which is something that only happens every few years, with the new Proliant Gen10 Servers trail blazing on security. This is another indication that Mac users are likely to be turning to Windows Servers to rectify any issues with their Server functionality.
Small businesses have become increasingly complex with most of them having multiple devices and operating systems. In the past, life was a little easier as most devices would be running some kind of edition of Windows but in the last five years, there has been a shift. Windows PCs are still being used but they’ve been joined by Mac desktops and notebooks, iOS and Android mobile devices, a ever increasing number of Windows mobile devices and computers.
Time to Strengthen your Network
With a multitude of systems available and in use, it’s more important than ever to strengthen your business with a dedicated Server, particularly if you’re running Macs that have the reduced functionality which High Sierra brought with it.
Our standard 5-user iMac network is the perfect leasing solution for small creative businesses. Starting at £58 per week plus VAT on a three year flexible lease with an inclusive warranty. Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 or Office 365 can be added for all Macs as can Printers. For more information on the HP Proliant Gen10 Servers take a look at our fact sheet. All Mac leasing packages include everything to run your business with your choice of Support and Installation options. For more information on networks and servers, give our expert sales team a call on 020 7111 1643, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be exhibiting at the Broadcast Video Exhibition, aka BVE, again this year, making it our 7th visit. This year the show runs from the 27th of February to 1st March at Excel London and we’ll be there demonstrating how our flexible leases can benefit the broadcast business.
We look forward to BVE each year because we get to experience the latest technology hands on, as well as meeting our existing and potential new clients. With around 300 companies attending there will be lots to see with businesses showcasing their products whilst an extensive program of free seminars featuring more than 200 speakers and over 100 sessions across the 3 days. We’ll be on the same stand as last year – R29 – so come along and meet some of the HardSoft team who will be there explaining how our leasing can benefit those in fast-moving tech heavy industry. You’ll find that leasing turns the un-affordable into something very affordable indeed.
Why you should visit our stand
We have a great treat for you this year, we’ll have a brand new iMac Pro on the stand with us for you to try out – even the Apple stores don’t have the iMac Pro in yet so make the most of it and head over to see us!
Don’t forget to ask us about the risk of 8K. Yes, you may have thought you were bang up to date with your 4K TVs and displays but in fact 8K is fast becoming the latest tech trend. This of course brings with it it’s own issues, such as storage and speed capabilities, and builds on the ever increasing demands for bigger, better, and faster custom built computers. We have been building custom PCs at HardSoft since we started out in 1984, but we have seen a rising trend for bespoke computers over the past few years as customers need to use the highest spec graphics and applications which often don’t work to their optimum capacity with ‘off the shelf’ PCs.
Book a slot
So, if you’re heading to BVE this year make sure you come over and visit our IT financing specialists to discuss all of your technology needs. Something to bear in mind – we’ve been extremely busy at previous BVEs, so if you want a detailed chat we’d advise booking a slot to visit our stand. If you’d like to do this, just email us at email@example.com and we’ll reserve you a time slot. Look forward to seeing you there!