Choosing a handset for your field team’s data collection can be tough. There are so many different handsets and manufacturers all with different features and benefits. We’ve listed a few recommendations and considerations below to help you select handsets that will work best for you.
- The Mobenzi mobile app requires a minimum of Android version 5. The most popular and widely used Android version is version 6.0 (Marshmallow) which is recommended for using our mobile app. Be sure to check the Android version of the handset before downloading and installing the Mobenzi mobile app.
- Mobenzi web forms allow forms to be filled in and submitted using a web browser. Our recommended web browsers are covered in the article 'Which web browsers are supported?'
Handset specifications and features:
Consider features that will be required for your specific data collection and ensure the handsets are able to meet these needs.
- Size of the handset and the screen may effect the fieldworkers' ability to work with and use the handset. For example, a larger screen might be useful if the form contains signatures or multiple fields per page. A smaller handset might be more convenient and discrete if fieldworkers travel often.
- RAM is responsible for 'multitasking' all the actions that run when using an application. Greater RAM enables the handset to run more complex software and multiple applications at the same time.
- A quad core processor or above is likely to have better performance. The processor is the 'engine', i.e. the faster the processor the better it will perform.
- Battery life is measured in mAh (Miliamp hours) and can be used to measure how long the handset's battery will last. This is important to consider when charging handsets might be challenging. Screen size and CPU also plays a major role as bigger screens and higher CPU uses more battery. The average handset has around 3000mAh. Generally, the higher the mAh, the longer the battery life.
- GPS accuracy is important to note if location will be captured as part of data collection. Not all handsets have the same GPS capturing capabilities. We therefore recommend testing the GPS accuracy before purchasing a handset. Additional GPS logging hardware and/or software can be considered to increase accuracy if needed.
- Camera quality should be considered when images and/or video clips will be captured during data collection. Additional apps (for example Camera MX) can be downloaded from the playstore and used to manage quality, size and other settings.
- Camera auto-focus is required if barcode/QR scanning will be used for capturing data.
- Storage (internal memory) is important to consider if media is embedded in forms or if forms are large and require capturing multiple media fields. If additional apps will be used as part of data collection, you could consider larger storage or an additional microSD card.
Note: We cannot guarantee that all handsets will support our mobile application. It's not recommended to choose the lowest tier of a handset range, using unknown manufacturers or purchasing counterfeit handsets. Such handsets might not perform adequately and adversely affect your data collection.
Data can be captured offline using the Mobenzi mobile app. Internet connectivity, is however required for uploading submissions and for downloading updates and thus connectivity should also be considered.
- Do the handsets use Wi-fi, mobile data, or both?
- How will data recharges be managed, if applicable? (Sim management platforms like Flickswitch can be ustilised to manage and monitor recharges for your handsets)
- If handsets are using Wi-fi only, where will Wi-fi access points be located and how often will fieldworkers have access?
- Logistics and timelines: Consider timelines for courier, testing, set-up and training when deciding to rent or purchase handsets.
- Warranty: Data collection may be affected if handsets suffer set backs (such as a broken screen or charger). We recommend investigating warranties when purchasing handsets and consider having spare handsets available if needed.
- Training: We strongly recommend training fieldworkers to get familiar with the new handset and Mobenzi mobile app that they will be using for data collection. We'd be happy to share our fieldworker training slides with you. Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request the latest slides.
- Lockdown can be added to improve productivity and preserve resources.