In general, we would recommend going for the best device you can afford within your budget. As Coreo surveys vary so much, we can only offer ideas on what to consider when making your choice, so hopefully the following will help inform your decision.
Apple or Android?
Both Coreo and the UKHab Survey will run on either iOS or Android. So, personal preference, your existing technology ecosystem and budget play a large part in the choice here.
iPhone and iPads generally come at a premium and are generally renowned for their quality, user-experience and overall simplicity of use. And because only Apple makes and sells Apple devices there’s a limited number of models to choose between, which makes for a simpler choice. The Android market, however, is awash with manufacturers and variations on a theme which means that you can get a device to suit almost any budget/requirement.
iOS and Android also tend to have a different ‘feel’ when it comes to apps. We’d recommend trying some of your favourite or key applications on both operating systems before making your decision. You’ll likely find that you prefer one OS over the other.
Tablet or phone?
Certain Coreo surveys will benefit from using a tablet over a phone as the greater screen space available makes life easier when mapping detailed habitat areas.
If accurate location recording is important to your projects, then you might want to consider avoiding budget Android devices. These devices can have unreliable GPS chipsets, so investing in mid/top range devices with better chipsets should give more reliable location recording. It’s not easy to find or understand detailed information on GPS hardware but as a general rule you get what you pay for.
This depends on many factors, not least what else you might be using the device for. In general, it’s easy to calculate how many photos, videos, or apps your device can store. For example, assuming an average image file size of 5MB, you can store 20,000 images with 100GB of storage. Similarly, one minute of 1080p video at 30fps is roughly 100MB, which means more than 16 hours of video can be stored in 100GB.
Lower-end Android devices often offer the ability to increase storage with removable SD cards, but flagship devices and Apple products tend not to, so choosing the appropriate capacity up front is important.
Most devices support both WIFI and mobile data. If you’re purely going to use WIFI on your device then paying extra for a mobile data plan may not be necessary. The new version of Coreo (coming in late Feb 2023) will be completely functional offline so using mobile data might be considered as non essential.
However, you will also want to weigh up whether you want to download new surveys or submit data in the field. If so, a mobile data plan could be important but you might be happy to tether/hotspot off a phone or other device that has WIFI/mobile data available for this.
If you do opt for a mobile data plan then going for the most data you can afford comfortably makes sense. Lots of map usage, or uploading/downloading lots of images in the field could use a lot of data so having a healthy allowance will probably give you reassurance in peak survey season.
Many plans will offer a set amount of data that can be used each month, and if you go over this amount, you will be charged extra fees. It’s important to understand how much data is included in the plan and what the overage fees will be. You should also consider if there are any options for adding more data to your plan if you find that you are running low.
If you intend to record media files along with your Coreo records, there are a number of things to consider with regards to the camera on your device.
First, the resolution of the camera is important. A higher resolution camera will produce clearer and more detailed images, which could be especially important if you might need to zoom in on objects when observing from a distance. However, higher resolution images will be larger and take up more storage space on your device. Note, however, that Coreo allows you to submit images with records without storing them locally on your device automatically (although that option is available).
Some cameras come with image stabilisation options which can help reduce blur in photos and videos, especially when shooting in low-light conditions or when moving or zooming in on subjects.
The camera software provided can be a useful thing to consider. Many smartphones now come with advanced camera software that can enhance images and videos, such as HDR and portrait mode, but many third party apps are also available to help enhance your images before submitting them to Coreo.