With so many options for both rugged and consumer grade tablets, it can be difficult to know which to choose. Significant price differences and numerous claims about durability on both sides makes the decision more difficult. That begs the question: Who actually needs rugged tablets?
There are nearly countless reasons why your company might need a rugged tablet. With factors ranging from drops to a variety of work environment, how do you determine if a consumer tablet will work well for your industry or if you need to get something a little more durable?
Frequent Work Outdoors
If you find that you or your employees spend most of their time working outdoors, then a consumer tablet just won’t cut it. Trying to view a consumer tablet in direct sunlight is a difficult task. To solve this, many rugged tablets are built with sunlight viewable screens, so that you aren’t struggling to view your work.
Another factor is rain, dust, and sand. Any of these can quickly get into a consumer tablet and render it inoperable, or worse, unrepairable. Most rugged tablets go through Ingress Protection testing, which defines how resistant to dust and water they are, as well as MIL-STD-810G. In addition, many have rugged screens that aren’t affected by water droplets, which do effect consumer grade technology.
Hot and Cold Climates
While extreme climates are often associated with outdoor work, that isn’t always the case. A warehouse in Texas might be an abnormally hot work environment, reaching temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While a consumer tablet might be able to operate at that temperature for a while, the chances of it failing are a lot higher than a rugged tablet designed for such conditions.
The same principals apply for the cold. Working in a freezer, you’ll want a tablet that can handle the low temperatures and be able to be used with gloves. Most consumer tablets will need either a stylus or your bare fingers to function. Many rugged tablets are built so their screens can be used with gloves on.
Sticking with the warehouse example, if you’re going to mount your tablet to something like a forklift, you'll want to consider something more durable than an average consumer tablet. The vibrations from the large machines will often prove too much for consumer grade technology to handle for an extended period of time.
Long Working Hours
Got a twelve-hour shift ahead of you and no time to charge your batteries? How about back to back shifts spanning sixteen hours of the day with no downtime? Or maybe it’s a factory that never stops running?
With consumer technology, in these situations work will be interrupted so that the device can be charged. With many rugged tablets, you can use swappable batteries to maximize productivity. The time it takes to power down the device to switch batteries can even be removed with hot-swappable battery capabilities.
At its basic level, both consumer and rugged tablets will meet most of the needs of a mobile workforce. Beyond basic functionality it will become apparent that one is superior to the other. Mobile workers are constantly on the go, packing and unpacking tools, doing invoices, traveling from one worksite to the next. It’s tough work – even more so for a tablet. A tablet will experience frequent bumps, dings, hits, spills, and drops. Rugged tablets are designed to handle these conditions and continue working. Consumer tablets often crumble under the pressure.
Still unsure what tablet is best suited for your needs? Contact a Rugged Tablet Expert today – Sales@MobileDemand.com or 319.363.4121 – and let us help you find the right tablet for the job, or leave a comment below telling us how you use your tablets.