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Professional users are offered a dazzling array of devices designed to meet their mobile needs. You can choose between laptops, tablets and smartphones. The technology is changing very rapidly, and today’s super device may be tomorrow’s elegant doorstop. Having said that, many users are finding that tablets are an ideal compromise between the power and price of fully configured laptops and the convenience of smartphones. It’s all down to what your business needs are.
We’ve had a look at the current range of tablets available in the market and set out a list of the ones we think you should be considering.
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Lenovo are a leading supplier of desktops and business laptops. They provide a range of devices including a progressive range of A8 and A0 tablets carefully designed to meet most business needs.
Typically, Lenovo tablets provide eight hours battery time and a high-quality multimedia environment. For example the eight-inch model has Dolby Audio and an HD quality screen. You can showcase your multi-media presentation at the monthly sales meeting then sit back and enjoy the latest blockbuster movie during the boring bits.
Excellent value for money.
Two key considerations when working unplugged are battery life and on-board memory to support today’s resource hungry apps. The Galaxy Tab makes the grade on both fronts. Memory can be expanded to 128Gb by using the integrated microSD memory slot.
If you are put off by the size of the device there is an 8.4-inch variant ofthe Galaxy Tab S, which might appeal to those needing something smaller to fit into the portfolio case. However, if you are a serious business user, then the 10 inch version is probably better.
Microsoft have made an aggressive entry into the tablet and smartphone space on the back of Windows 8.1 and their recent purchase of Nokia.
If you have a business need for easy integration with your corporate systems and document synchronization between desktop and tablet, then the Windows 8 environment is worthy of serious consideration. The user interface is also the same in the office and on the road, a distinct advantage.
The Microsoft offering in this arena is the Surface Pro. A powerful device supporting Windows 8.1, it is a fully-functional tablet that has been applauded by industry reviewers and users. Some even consider it better than the IPad Air 2 when you look at connectivity and spec.
However, you do pay the price, literally. The price increases steeply as you move upwards through the range.There is a comprehensive range of accessories, storage options are very good for example. But be warned, accessories are expensive.
Overall though, a tablet that pretends to be a laptop worth splashing out on as either a corporate tax write-off or a grit the teeth and blast the plastic purchase.
Price depending on options selected
The world is divided between Apple and Microsoft people, and never the twain shall meet. If you are an Appleite, then this is the device for you.
It is slim, (6.1mm thick), Apple’s most powerful tablet, light, and is highly portable. To create a personal iOS environment of tablet, iPhone, watch and possibly even glasses, it links seamlessly with all your other Apple devices.
A no-brainer for Apple aficionados
Price depending on the options chosen.
Finally, a few things to think about before you flash the cash. Tablets are designed to be portable for sure, but very few people work in complete isolation.
Battery life. If you spend a lot of time on the road and need to work unplugged for extended periods, good battery life is essential. If the supplier offers extended life batteries or supplies extra batteries that can be charged off-line, so much the better.
Connectivity. If you work in a corporate environment, easily linking to your corporate systems is an absolute must. If it doesn’t link, or means that you need a degree in rocket-science every time you come into the office and plug in, it’s a no-no. See what everyone else is using for an indication of where to start. Check to see if there is a corporate policy about what devices and operating systems you can connect to the corporate network. Ask your techie people for advice if you are unsure.
Sharing. Most office documents can be shared between the Windows, Android and iOS environments, but there are small differences between each. Keep it simple. If most of your colleagues use a tablet from the same supplier, that is probably the best option for you. If nothing else you can borrow chargers.
Suitability for purpose. Business needs are different from those of gamers and other leisure users. You need to consider the main use your tablet will need to support. If you are presenting to clients frequently, either a large format tablet, or one that can be connected to a video projector through a VGA cable, wireless or Bluetooth is a key consideration. If you travel particularly by air, battery life, weight and size are key. Pulling a muscle yanking it out of your bag in the airport security queue can really cramp your style.
Finally, futures. The tablet, super tablet, smartphone and laptop space is probably the fastest moving hardware environment around. All major manufacturers, and all those listed above have new products coming out in 2015, the iPad Pro, the Surface Mini, new HP Slate models for example. Bear in mind that specs are flexible, as are release and availability dates.
It is all too easy never to buy by waiting for the new best thing coming out later that month. Go buy now.