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?

Ruggedness

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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