How to choose a device

Choosing a device is a very personal thing depending on what you are most likely to do online. The main things to consider are size, weight, portability and battery life. There are several main types of device which can all be used to make video calls.


Smartphones are mobile phones which can connect to the internet. They are pocket-sized and use touch-screen. Their drawbacks are that the small screens can be difficult to read, or watch programmes, and many websites are set to only show part of their content to mobiles. How to choose a smartphone.


Tablets are portable devices larger than a phone. They have a touch-screen, which tends to be 8-13 inches. Tablets are useful as they are light, portable, easy to use and have a screen large enough for video calls and watching films. iPads are tablets made by the company Apple but there are many other commonly used tablets. A balance usually needs to be struck between screen size and weight. How to choose a tablet.


Laptops have a keyboard and a larger screen, so are useful if you want to write a lot of text. They can be used to run more complex programmes, have a built-in mouse and some have a touch screen too. Basic laptops are sometimes called “notebooks” and one commonly used one is the Chromebook. They are still portable but are bigger and heavier than tablets. How to choose a laptop.

Personal computers/ PCs

Personal computers are sometimes called PCs or computers. They have a separate hard drive (sometimes called the base unit) and screen (often called the monitor). They are not portable. PCs are useful for graphic-intensive applications such as computer gaming or photo/video editing. How to choose a PC.

Refurbished devices

There are initiatives across Scotland that refurbish devices that have been donated by individuals or local businesses. Each of these organisations have slightly different models: some will provide devices at significantly reduced prices, and some donate them through local community groups. Please be aware that these organisations operate with very limited resources and may not always be able to provide devices. here are some that we are aware of:

Edinburgh & Lothians 

People Know How, Edinburgh and East Lothian  

Pass IT On, Edinburgh 

ACE IT, Edinburgh  


The General Store, Selkirk 

The IT Centre, Castle Douglas  

Glasgow & Clyde 

Remade Network, The Repair Stop, Govanhill 

Input Community Works, Saltcoats 

Belville Community Garden Trust, Greenock 

Remade Network Ltd, Glasgow 

Forth Valley 

Clackmannanshire TSI, TechShare, Clackmannanshire 

Reboot Stirling, Transition Stirling, Stirling  


Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire, Airdrie (covering North Lanarkshire) 

Reconnect, Community Links South Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire 


Budding Engineers, Thurso (but covering the North of Scotland) 


Reboot Computer Recycling, Forres (but covering Grampian area) 


Home Computers Support, Dundee 

WEEE Centre, UHI Perth College 


Reusing IT 


The National Databank from Good Things Foundation can provide data via their Online Centres Network. To find your local Online Centre please visit their website.