Agency officials in meeting with tablets

5 tablets to tackle government work

The tablet has become an integral part of the mobile plans of many agencies. For some users, they have become the replacement for either notebook computers or full desktops. For others, they are simply a way to connect to the office while out in the field.

What we considered

Battery life

How long will it last when unplugged from a power source? Are optional spare batteries easily removable and replaceable?

Processing power

Does it have a powerful processor and enough memory to open large documents, use high-performance apps or run multiple programs at the same time?

Security features

What kind of authentication is available? Are there FIPS-certified encrypted drive spaces or secure containers for BYOD users?


If it’s designed to be rugged, how rugged is it? Can it pass MIL-STD 810G tests for temperature, shock, liquid and particle intrusion?

No matter their intended purpose, there are some features of the tablet form factor that every agency needs to consider. We take a look at five models — the Apple iPad, Dell Latitude 10 Enhanced Security, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet2, Microsoft Surface Pro and Panasonic ToughPad — and see how their features match up with agency needs.

Apple iPad
There are many features that might make Apple’s fourth generation iPad the right choice for an agency’s users, such as the bright display and long battery life. However, its more limited processing power and limited number of ports might keep it out the hands of certain employees. Prices range from $499 for a 16G Wi-Fi version to $929 for a 128G cellular version. Read more.

Dell Latitude 10 Enhanced Security
The Latitude 10 Enhanced Security tablet from Dell has user authentication features that simply aren’t available on most tablets. However, without a spare battery users won’t want to be away from a power source for long. Prices range from $499 to $779, depending on the configuration. Read more.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2
Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a Windows 8 Pro tablet with good battery performance well-suited to the agency user who needs a near-desktop experience while operating remotely. But its prior-version USB port might be a hindrance to those using many newer peripherals. It starts at $670, and its optional keyboard dock is $119. Read more.

Microsoft Surface Pro
The Surface Pro from Microsoft could be a popular choice among government IT administrators, given its large, clear display and processing power. But the larger size and weight of this device might make it less popular among some end users. Its price starts at $899 for 64G versions, $999 for 128G and a just-released 256G version for $1,200. Read more.

Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1
Panasonic’s ToughPad FZ-G1 is a Windows 8 Pro tablet rugged enough to be used in practically any environment. But when multiple options are in use, its power consumption might be an issue. Depending on the configuration, prices can range from $2,100 to $3,500. Read more.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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Reader Comments

Sun, Aug 4, 2013 Nico

I agree with Mark. The advantage of a windows tablet is that could be use as your desktop too. The need of mobility is huge but why to have 2 devices when you have a windows tablet can become yor desktop too.

Fri, Aug 2, 2013 Gary

When I want real work to be done on a computer, phone software won't be my first choice. There's not an app for that.

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 german-vasalle

This article shows in a wonderful stile the level of corruption. Bad products, really bad products,like W8 and WP8, are pampered here by ignoring the fact, that MS-Office is the only relevant Microsoft product, all other MS-Products are just on "metoo and bad re-invention level". Microsoft ist just a NSA-subsidery - nothing more. Government bodoes and agencies should not be allowed to use proprietary products! They should use open sorce products only.

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 TJ United States

I partially agree with Paul - the new Windows stuff is too new / untested IMHO. And how can you have an article talking about tablets and not even mention a single Android tablet? I mean, I realize Android only has just_over_half of the market - clearly, no reason to look at it.

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 Mark

Sounds like Paul has his own security issues or a major fanboy. If you know what you doing with Windows in a MS environment all is good. Just lock it down.

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