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Why Rugged Tablets?
In mission-critical situations, no bulky iPad case can offer the durability and peace of mind that comes with a fully-rugged tablet. Built from the ground up to provide the utmost protection, tablets from companies like Durabook and Panasonic forego the slender form factor and “premium” glass exterior of traditional high end tablets in favor of no-nonsense, industrial-strength construction.
Don’t get us wrong; the Microsoft Surface, iPad and a wide range of Android tablets have come a long way in the last few years. They are great computers for use at home or in an office, but take a consumer-grade tablet into a dirty garage, warehouse or out in the field and you’re gambling with your data. All types of protective cases have come out to address this issue, but no matter how good your Otterbox, Lifeproof or Pelican case may be, it is still a retrofitted exterior enclosing the wrong tool for the job.
Rugged Tablet Features and Benefits
What do rugged tablets have the regular tablets don’t? It’s more than just “ruggedness.” Let’s take a look.
Most premium consumer tablets employ aluminum casing. Aluminum is a very malleable material, meaning it tends to bend and dent under stress. The tablet form factor requires delicate internal components to occupy a very compact space. A small dent to the outside of an aluminum tablet can be devastating to its insides.
Rugged tablets from Durabook and Panasonic use hardened polymers and magnesium alloys. While these materials may be more expensive and difficult to work with than aluminum, they are stronger, lighter and far more rigid. Rigid casing combined with shock absorbing bumpers mean that rugged tablets like the ones sold at bobjohnson.com are far less likely to take damage if dropped and will hold up to far more wear than other tablets.
Bright, anti-reflective screens
The light a computer screen emits must compete with the ambient light surrounding it in order for the display to be readable. If you are going to use your tablet outside, you’ll need a very bright screen. Screen brightness is measured in candelas per square meter, otherwise known as nits. As a point of reference, a very bright laptop screen will typically max out at about 300 nits. If you’ve ever tried to use your laptop out in the daylight, you’ll know that that isn’t enough. Factor in screen glare and you might as well be looking at a mirror.
Rugged tablets, on the other hand, are meant to be used outside. With powerful backlights and technologies like Transflective Plus (Panasonic) and DynaVue (Durabook), most rugged tablet screens max out at around 600-1,000 nits, sometimes even brighter (the Toughbook H2 reaches a frankly excessive 6,000 nits). By that same token, most rugged tablet screens can also be set extremely dim for working in the dark.
While Ingress Protection (IP) has become an increasingly important selling point in the mobile phone arena, most tablet computers are still do not have IP ratings. If you take a look around bobjohnson.com, you’ll probably notice that most of our tablets are IP65 rated. This means that they are completely impervious to harmful particle ingress (in other words, dustproof) and can survive jets of water sprayed from any direction.
Ports and connectivity
Unlike their consumer-grade cousins, rugged tablets typically offer a range of ports and connectivity options. These are useful when you need to connect with other tools and machinery as part of your workflow. You’ll still have more connectivity options with a rugged laptop, but most rugged laptops can be docked to a port replicator if you need more flexibility.
While the trend in gadget design has veered toward minimalism in recent years, rugged tablets often offer a veritable tool box of specialized features and options, including programmable hardware buttons, RFID readers, barcode scanners and more. Rugged tablets are designed to work, not to be worked around.
You’ve come to the right place
If you need a rugged tablet, we’re here for you with both new and refurbished models. Questions? Comments? Need more help? Let us know!