Businesses are spoilt for choice now, due to advances in technology that have allowed them to really advance their practices. Now, companies can interpret, receive, and distribute information. With businesses facing an increased level of competitiveness, companies have to think of new ways to be productive and face their competitors.
Mobile devices, such as tablets, have become more widespread in business environments. With great reason too – they’ve entirely elevated how we work, and communicate.
However, with this also comes competitiveness from the tablets. There’s a wide variety of tablets to choose from – and every single one claims to be the best for your company.
Businesses that are looking for ways to incorporate mobile devices into their teams have a tricky decision to make – consumer or rugged tablet. Admittedly, the function practically identically, they do differ in certain areas – which can make a huge difference. Both have their pros and cons – and it’s important for businesses to decide which device is best suited for their company.
For this reason, we’ve created a guide – so that you dive into tablet shopping with a clear direction. Here’s everything you need to know and consider about consumer and rugged tablets.
What is a consumer tablet?
A consumer tablet is an average tablet that you can see in the shop. They’re the generic mobile device that everyone has – in their home and study. Think, iPads, and Kindles.
They’re accessible to buy in various places, including Amazon and eBay. In fact, they’ve become a go-to device for many who travel, read, or game.
Apple has often been credited with defining the new class of consumer tablets with their iPads. Their products really shaped the market and revolutionised how everybody (from companies to students) work.
What is a rugged tablet?
So, how is a rugged tablet different from a consumer tablet. In short, they’re a tablet that has been designed explicitly to withstand harsh usage environments and conditions. This can include strong vibrations, wet conditions, or even extreme temperatures.
Not only does this make rugged tablets the go-to tablet for industrial environments, but also for those who travel a lot – from the airport to increasingly hot temperatures.
It’s not just the external part of the device that differs, though. They’re not merely just a consumer tablet with a protective case on, despite what you may hear. They are tested and designed specifically to perform and last even in hard environments.
This means, all the core materials used are also different.
Let’s compare and contrast these consumer and rugged tablet.
Consumer tablets vs. Rugged Tablets: Price
We know, price is a significant factor when deciding on the devices and technology that you want in your office. There is a noticeable difference between rugged and consumer tablets in regards to their price, which may affect your decision.
As we all know, depending on the brand, you can get a very cheap tablet. They range from $200 to $600. They’re accessible basically anywhere, including Amazon and even sites like Wish and AliExpress. Obviously, if you want a reliable consumer tablet that will perform well, you will have to buy from a reputable brand.
An excellent rugged tablet will cost between $800 and $3,500. Of course, it depends on your requirements and the specifications.
As we mentioned, rugged tablets are designed specifically for specific conditions. You can find a rugged tablet that will promise to withstand your specific climate or environment. We’re not stating that consumer tablets aren’t designed or built well – they just haven’t been created with industrial or extreme conditions in mind.
Before you choose a consumer tablet, purely for the price – we urge you to look at the bigger picture. Sure, the initial cost is very attractive, but it’s essential to look at purchasing from a long-term perspective.
Upfront, you can save money on a consumer tablet. However, if you consider repairs or replacements of consumer tablets – the price may not look as appealing. Also, consider how much money downtime will affect a business, by decreasing the output, and slowing down the team.
For this reason, you should look at a rugged tablet as an investment. One that will save you money and stress in the long run. Typically, rugged tablets require much fewer repairs than their consumer counterparts.
Consumer tablets vs. Rugged Tablets: Design
It’s a subjective point, but a relevant one nevertheless. When we say design, we’re specifically talking about the usability of the tablet. For instance, the software – not so much the external appearance.
Usability is an essential factor when picking your tablet, and although every team is different, it’s vital that we mention it. Businesses should always choose a tablet that supports software that will fit comfortably into a team, and help workers to do their job efficiently and smoothly.
As an example, if your workers are required to wear gloves – the tablet should have resistive touch screen panels, that allow them to use the screen, even with gloves on.
Another typical example that you’ll see every day is signature panels. Specifically for delivery drivers – their rugged devices have a pen and touch screen to make signing easier. Again, this is a crucial usability point.
Before you dive into buying a tablet, always consider if it will actually work for your company. To reiterate, this should be seen as an investment to help with workflow and save you money in the long run.
Consumer tablets vs. Rugged Tablets: Durability
You’ll already know by now: rugged tablets are designed to withstand any type of extreme condition. They may be more expensive, but they are designed and created with harsh environments in mind. Not only does this mean that they will require much less maintenance, but they’re also a reliable companion to have in your team.
Consumer tablets, although cheaper, do not withstand harsh environments. A simple drop on the floor is enough to make a consumer tablet unusable. This, obviously, isn’t great for teams that are in tough work environments.
Of course, you can buy protective cases for your consumer tablet, which can increase the durability of your tablet. However, they don’t quite compare to a rugged tablet. Every drop or shake can be slowly breaking a tablet.
In terms of durability, a rugged tablet trumps a consumer tablet, quite dramatically. Here are the particular stand out points.
Water/dustproof – You might not even realise that you’re in a high-risk environment. Also, office settings have frequent spills, and construction sites have a lot of dust.
Drop/shock protection – If you’re clumsy, you might want to consider a rugged tablet. The impact of an intense fall can be withstood by a rugged tablet, with no problem. Consumer tablets may not appear to crack or break when they fall, especially if they have a case on them, but it does ruin the tablet internally.
Extreme temperatures – Have you ever been using a mobile device, only for it to overheat? For warehouse temperatures, a rugged tablet is perfect. You want to ensure that your tablet won’t shut down, and thus result in a loss of work and revenue.
Longevity – Rugged tablets have much longer life spans. In terms of your company, this does mean less time replacing – making up for the upfront higher cost. It also means that workers can become acquainted with their tablet, without any replacements or significant changes.
Consumer tablets vs. Rugged Tablets: Which one is for me?
When it comes to consumer and rugged tablets, everybody is different. For some teams, a consumer tablet works perfectly – especially when it’s used carefully and in a mundane environment. For instance, in an office where it is used sporadically and with care.
However, many workplaces are fast-moving and often have extreme conditions. This is especially true for warehouses and construction sites. In these cases, we can’t recommend a rugged tablet enough.
For personal use, of course, a consumer tablet works perfectly – unless you drop your tablet multiple times a day. Then, a rugged tablet could be an excellent personal investment for yourself.
There are various types of rugged tablets on the market. Many of them withstand different types of extreme conditions. For instance, one may be designed with water and dust in mind, whereas others focus on the vibration and intense dropping. Finding the perfect one for you may require a bit of research.
To reiterate, every workplace is different – and for some, a consumer tablet suffices. However, for many, a rugged tablet is the way forward. Not only does it withstand any type of trauma or drama, but it also saves you money in the long run.
With the price, design, and durability in mind, many businesses lean towards a rugged tablet. It’s an extra bit of security for their workflow and workers.
Which one do you think is the right one for your company? Diving into buying a tablet, knowing precisely what you want, will help drastically when choosing the right one for you.
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