I Need A Mobile Office Setup!

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Hi All - I need to upgrade my technological capabilities as it relates to real estate. Specifically I need to be able to edit, print and sign contracts on the go. I know a tablet must be a part of the plan and I'm assuming something that's wireless? Will I need a wireless printer as well? Should my tablet come with a usb port? Any recommended models?

Bottom line, I need to be able to conduct online research, print direct mail as well as edit and print purchase and sale contracts on the go (while in a seller's living room).

Any suggestions?

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

A ultra slim notebook is cool. A tablet is not a computer. You need to subscribe a wireless internet service as well.

Well since it's an on-the-go type setup you need, you'll probably want:

1. A tablet computer - Either an iPad or an Asus Transformer. I can't recommend a Windows tablet as I haven't used one yet. If you want my opinion, I'd go with the Transformer, but the iPad is a great decision as well.

2. A editing and printing app. I know they have printer apps for Android tablets (the Asus Transformer) but I've never checked for the iPad but I'm sure they do.

3. A mobile printer.

***You will need your tablet to be 3G capable or buy a WiFi hotspot from a cell phone company. Alternatively (and this may be hard if you're not technically inclined but I thought I'd mention it anyway) you root your iPhone/Android phone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S3) and use it as a Wifi Hotspot for free, as buying/paying for the service is fairly expensive, at least for me.***

How's that sound?

Originally posted by Xing Zhu:
A ultra slim notebook is cool. A tablet is not a computer. You need to subscribe a wireless internet service as well.

I agree, the ultra slims are really awesome! My tablet can do everything my PC can though. Except have multiple things running on the same screen (which seems like they're working on that now though for Android's....)

This may be a better option if you want a little more bulk for more familiarity as you can get a ultra thin Windows or OSX(?) computer as opposed to using the Android OS or the iPad OS.

Great idea!

Originally posted by Xing Zhu:
A ultra slim notebook is cool. A tablet is not a computer. You need to subscribe a wireless internet service as well.

Thanks Xing - But I want to avoid having to use something as 'long' (when you flip it open) as a laptop. I think a tablet is perfect. All I want to do is basic editing (and some drafting if necessary) of documents (mainly letters and contracts), surf the web and maybe scan/print docs.

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Originally posted by Manuel Acuna:
Well since it's an on-the-go type setup you need, you'll probably want:

1. A tablet computer - Either an iPad or an Asus Transformer. I can't recommend a Windows tablet as I haven't used one yet. If you want my opinion, I'd go with the Transformer, but the iPad is a great decision as well.

2. A editing and printing app. I know they have printer apps for Android tablets (the Asus Transformer) but I've never checked for the iPad but I'm sure they do.

3. A mobile printer.

***You will need your tablet to be 3G capable or buy a WiFi hotspot from a cell phone company. Alternatively (and this may be hard if you're not technically inclined but I thought I'd mention it anyway) you root your iPhone/Android phone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S3) and use it as a Wifi Hotspot for free, as buying/paying for the service is fairly expensive, at least for me.***

How's that sound?

Thanks Manuel this is exactly what I was looking for. I forgot I also want to scan at times so I assume a droid phone should be able to take nice pics and handle that (too embarrassed to tell you what I have now but it's basically the cell version of a rotary phone). Will likely go with Android or windows tablets (must/should have a usb port) as opposed to an ipad. And I am technically inclined so will tether my cell phone as a wifi for the tablet. Verizon Wireless' tablets and accompanying service are way overpriced imo. Thanks again man.

Anyone else?

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Ibrahim S Your ending statement answered what I was going to add, you dont need expensive add on plans, there are many apps that allow you to use your smartphone for a hotspot as you eluded to.

Thanks David Niles. Didn't know there were apps for this. Verizon wireless charges $20/mo. Are you saying there are apps (free or otherwise) that allow this without paying VW?

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Does it need to have 3G/4G capabilities, will you need to use it as a laptop at times or will you just be doing basic stuff with it, etc.? Do you need to connect via wi fi or wireless network through your cell phone carrier (my son uses the mobile hot spot on his phone)

My son, Michael, has been doing extensive research on these lately as he needs to get a tablet too for much of the same uses. He's narrowed it down to the Asus or the Microsoft surface. He definitely doesn't like the ipad, nor does my daughter that uses it for her job (she's an education coordinator for major costmetics manufacturer).

Also, I believe both of those models have options for a keyboard that is removable so that you can use as a tablet or laptop.

Medium tmg  1 Karen Margrave, The Margrave Group #00636992 | [email protected] | 949‑933‑3955 | http://www.themargravegroup.com

If you have an Android phone, try the free app, Foxfi, uses your 3 or 4g from your phone and is fast.

Yes Karen M. thanks to Manuel I'm looking at both the Asus and the Surface. Will use it with the cell and at public wifi spots. Just looking to do basic stuff with it. I don't do too much more than basic stuff with my laptop which is my main PC. I know a lot of folks download music and videos/movies but I don't typically do it. Hearing a lot of bad reviews on the ipad. Many having to do with folks being stuck in their cycle of costly upgrades (i.e. memory not expandable) or just an overpriced gadget. Thanks for responding.

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

I have also dreamed of building a mobile trading office.
The idea is to take a van or a SUV with three rows of seats, and remove the middle row to set up a trading environment with four 27" monitors and two slim (desktop) computers each with 8 cores or more.

Actually, Michael was researching them for all of us. He's decided we are going with the Surface. For our needs it will work good, though it doesn't have as long of a battery use as the Asus, but when the Surface Pro comes out Michael's getting that because of the resolution, he needs for graphics, etc.

Medium tmg  1 Karen Margrave, The Margrave Group #00636992 | [email protected] | 949‑933‑3955 | http://www.themargravegroup.com

Interesting Karen M. - If you don't mind me asking, what are your needs that caused you to choose the Surface over the Asus?

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Ibrahim, I love my iPad (on it right now) but I find it to be pretty restrictive for my real estate needs. Actually, I find the sites I typically use are restrictive. For instance, my MLS back end only works on Internet Explorer. And it's not some po-dunk MLS, this is Houston! They have a new one in Beta but even it does not work on the iPad. I am not familiar with Windows 8 yet but i do know you can open 2 screens at once. Printing comes standard and is not a luxury only if you have the right printer (not sure how the ipad or even an Android would do with your mobile printing. The printer and tablet would both have to be connected to wifi, and i dont know of any android tablets that have usb. Windows 8 tablet would give you option to do usb or wifi. I know there are plenty of apps on iPad that allow you to upload a contract and can be filled out and signed right on the iPad. I'm sure something will be available for windows 8. As far as the two versions, you would probably only need the RT version vs the Pro version. RT is more for a tablet and Pro more like a laptop. This is my plan anyway. Keep us posted on what you choose and how it works out because I'm very interested in figuring it out for myself too.

If you are thinking about the Surface, which I am, make sure you research the difference between the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. RT is a striped down operating system that does not run your existing software. Pro, which is supposed to come out in January, runs a full Windows 8 OS. I am leaning toward the Surface Pro.

Originally posted by @Eric Thomson :
Ibrahim, I love my iPad (on it right now) but I find it to be pretty restrictive for my real estate needs. Actually, I find the sites I typically use are restrictive. For instance, my MLS back end only works on Internet Explorer. And it's not some po-dunk MLS, this is Houston! They have a new one in Beta but even it does not work on the iPad. I am not familiar with Windows 8 yet but i do know you can open 2 screens at once. Printing comes standard and is not a luxury only if you have the right printer (not sure how the ipad or even an Android would do with your mobile printing. The printer and tablet would both have to be connected to wifi, and i dont know of any android tablets that have usb. Windows 8 tablet would give you option to do usb or wifi. I know there are plenty of apps on iPad that allow you to upload a contract and can be filled out and signed right on the iPad. I'm sure something will be available for windows 8. As far as the two versions, you would probably only need the RT version vs the Pro version. RT is more for a tablet and Pro more like a laptop. This is my plan anyway. Keep us posted on what you choose and how it works out because I'm very interested in figuring it out for myself too.

Eric the Surface has a usb port. Just not sure how many printers would work with it (assuming I don't get a wifi printer). Also I'm assuming Adobe acrobat (AA) would work on the surface and allow you to sign documents. AA is what a friend of mine uses on his Samsung Galaxy 10.1 when he has sellers sign contracts right on the spot.

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Since it is Windows just about any printer should work via USB. It would obviously be best over wifi. If you are going to use a mobile hotspot, rather than the connection built into the tablet, then this should be easy to do. And the printer will not use any of your data plan. I'm not sure what Adobe has out yet that is touchscreen for Win 8, but you can bet it's several hundred dollars. There will probably be other great options through the Windows App Store.

Ibrahim S I think the reason he's decided on the Surface over the Asus is the Surface has higher resolution. We are real estate developers, and view renderings and pictures. Also, with the Pro version I believe it has a stylus, that way on jobs if there are changes to a detail, stairs, walls, or ? he can draw them.

The upside of the Asus is that it has longer battery life. Either one is a great product in my opinion.

Medium tmg  1 Karen Margrave, The Margrave Group #00636992 | [email protected] | 949‑933‑3955 | http://www.themargravegroup.com

I was recently shopping for a wireless printer and came across the Epson XP-400 wireless all-in-one printer, copier, and scanner. It says it can print from mobile devices, including tablets/smartphones. All that for under a hundred bucks. I'll probably order it in the next few days. I already have one Epson all-in-one printer (not wireless though) and have been very happy with it.

Originally posted by @Eric Thomson :
I'm not sure what Adobe has out yet that is touchscreen for Win 8, but you can bet it's several hundred dollars.

Eric are you saying that you think the Adobe app will be several hundred dollars? It's a free download for my buddy with the Samsung Galaxy tablet.

Medium webuynjrealestate bbbIbrahim Hughes, We Buy NJ Real Estate LLC | http://www.WeBuyNJRealEstate.com

Originally posted by Ibrahim S:
Thanks Kyle J. - Reading the reviews now. But I think I need something (if it even exists) that doesn't require an AC Power source.

Then you'll probably want to look into mobile printers (i.e. HP OfficeJet H470) which have the option to be powered via rechargeable battery or cigarette lighter adapter.

I'm also one who's waiting on the Surface Pro. Main thing is that I want seamlessness btw all of my devices, especially with my Office apps; planning to run Project remotely too.

FYI that anyone can get 7G of free storage using MS SkyDrive cloud - I have it linked to my PC so I can get to stored contracts, project plans, etc without storing local copies on a cell or tablet & sucking up storage space.

Thanks for the tips on portable printers - that's the last thing I need for my tech arsenal. :)