As a home inspector, having the right tools and technology is crucial for delivering efficient and professional services. When using HomeGauge software, you must ensure that your devices meet the requirements for optimal performance. In this article, we'll explore the desktop and companion app requirements for HomeGauge, helping you make informed decisions about your technology needs.
Web Report Writer and Inspector Dashboard
The Web Writer works on a browser regardless of the device's operating system. It will work as long as the device can connect to the Internet.
To learn more about which browsers work best with HomeGauge, you can visit this article titled HomeGauge Web Browser Support FAQ.
Desktop Report Writer Requirements
Desktop Report Writer is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11. Any new laptop or desktop running Windows 10 will support HomeGauge.
Windows Vista, XP, and RT* are not supported. If you use Windows Vista or XP, upgrade to Windows 7 or later to use Desktop Report Writer.
*Windows RT is a limited version for some older devices, such as the original Microsoft Surface. Report Writer Desktop will not run on any device running Windows RT.
Chromebook does not run the Windows operating system and will not work with Desktop Report Writer.
While Desktop Report Writer is incompatible with Mac, running it through a program like Parallels or Bootcamp is possible. For more information about running Desktop Report Writer on a Mac, visit the Desktop Report Writer: Installing on a Mac Computer article.
Companion App Requirements
Below is a list of things to consider when purchasing a device with the HG Companion. The list talks explicitly about using them for home inspections, so if you plan to use them for other things, please keep your different needs in mind. One significant advantage of the HG Companion is the ability to include pictures from the device right at the inspection item when taking the photo. While most devices have a camera, many inspectors will still want to use their regular camera to take pictures in dark areas or use the lens for wide / zoom shots.
Android Operating System (OS)
The HomeGauge Companion is only available on Android version 7 or later.
Since earlier versions of Android do not support the latest secure protocols, we recommend that all users upgrade their Android to at least version 7.
Android 7 was released in 2017. Most phones produced since 2017 already have Android version 7 (Nougat) or are compatible. Please back up your data and check with your carrier and manufacturer for instructions on upgrading your software.
Apple iPhone/iPad iOS Version
iOS 13 and higher are required to use the HG Companion on Apple devices.
Of course, the lighter, the better for carrying around all day, but it often comes at the cost of screen size and battery life. Recommendation: Up to the inspector's personal opinion.
Can you read the screen at that size? Can you read the screen in daylight? Phones are smaller and will fit less data on the screen, requiring more scrolling around than a tablet. The small size can be more convenient, however. Recommendation: If you're getting a smartphone, please ensure the screen size works. For either device, make sure it is readable in the shade outside. We recommend devices with Super AMOLED displays, such as the Samsung Galaxy line of devices, as they are typically brighter than the competition.
Since you will carry it around all day, you want it to work all day, so consider the battery life. Phones stay on, and the batteries are smaller, so this is a consideration. Recommendation: Get one with many hours of battery life. This is usually listed in the specifications when shopping for devices. Also, a replaceable battery is helpful. You can also use a third-party "power pack" to recharge your battery.
Camera / Flash
Most mobile devices have a camera now. However, some devices do not have a flash, especially many tablets. Recommendation: Make sure it has a rear-facing camera with a flash.
Using the HG Companion, you must connect to the Internet to quickly transfer your reports back to the desktop to complete the report. Since you will also be taking pictures and videos with the device, the reports might be fairly large, so a good Internet connection will be necessary. Most will connect to the Internet over WiFi and mobile network. Recommendation: Make sure you have at least a WiFi connection for fast uploads, and consider a contract for 5G LTE if you have good service coverage in your area. Reports can use a lot of data, so keep that in mind when using your cellular data service to transfer data. If you are worried about cellular data fees, there's an option to transfer by WiFi only in the HG Companion.
CPU Speed / Disk Storage / RAM
All manufacturers are competitive in this area, except some of the cheaper prepaid phones. RAM is the memory used to run your software. The more RAM, the more software you can run simultaneously, and the faster your phone will perform. Storage is where the software will store the data. More storage gives you more on your computer but does not help performance. In general, any new phone or tablet will have plenty of speed, storage, and RAM for completing and holding many days' worth of reports. Most tablets will have 1GB+ of RAM and 16GB or 32GB or more storage space. Recommendation: 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage will work fine for HG Companion, but the more, the better. When looking at devices, choose one with a high amount of internal storage, as this is where HomeGauge stores its files rather than on SD.
HG companion supports text-to-speech, and all smartphones have a microphone. If you choose a tablet, please ensure it has a microphone if you want to use this feature.
Tablets versus Phone
Which one you use is going to come down to personal preference. The many items listed above, like size and weight, have different considerations depending on whether you use a tablet or phone. Some additional reviews for which to use are listed below.
- Being distracted by answering the phone during an inspection (we recommend using a dedicated device for the Companion to keep your calls from interrupting your work)
- It must keep track of multiple devices (phone, tablet, camera) or one device (such as a smartphone) that covers all bases.