We've done a couple of posts now on using tablets in business/enterprise settings. In our final post in this series we're soliciting ultimate feedback. There's an interesting trend going on in the consumer tablet space now, with attention shifting away from 10-inch form factors down to 7 or 8-inch models. I suspect things will be different in business/enterprise markets though. For those of you who see a use for tablets in the workplace, what is the ideal form factor? I'd love to hear your responses in the comments. Go as far as you want on the spec list too - down to silicon, storage options, dimensions, etc... Upcoming tablets are obviously set in stone, but your input could definitely help shape future designs.

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  • DrCheap - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    Alright, you asked for it. I have been using business tablets or convertibles for some years now and none of them are perfect. My hope is the coming generation will get it right. I do mountains of document and image work all over the country (rarely overseas) ranging from markup on PDF copy to processing images from camera into PDF, etc.

    Here's the ideal specs for my usage, in order of priority:

    Digitizer pen with excellent palm rejection, good precision, and (close to) no lag. This is an absolute deal breaker. Without this, I will not buy.

    Windows 8 Pro x64 (NOT RT) (must be some version of Windows 8 or later)

    128gb ssd or larger (I might be able to like with 80gb but that would be the bare minimum)

    8+ hr battery life regular usage, 20 hrs standby in tablet mode -- without any dock, slice, or detachable keyboard (more is better for sure, but if it cannot do this then it's no dice)

    Keyboard in some kind of form (detachable or convertible either works)

    Screen size of 12-13 inches. A 13" 4:3 ratio, odd as it may sound, is almost 8.5x11 inches, the size of a regular sheet of paper. That would be perfect for my uses, but since I will probably never see that, I would settle for 13 inches at 16:10. 10.1" screens have been too small. 11" is even really too small, with 12" being about the smallest I have used that worked well.

    At least an i5 or equivalent processor. Needs to handle Acrobat Pro, GIMP, etc., with ease and with very large color documents and images.

    Bare minimum 4gb ram. Would seriously LOVE to have 8gb.

    SD or MicroSD slot

    Under 3 pounds. Bonus if under 2 pounds in tablet mode.

    USB 3.0

    HDMI out (vga or dp also a bonus)

    Decent rear camera with 720p (1080p preferred) recording with mic. Front camera Skype-capable.

    Separate headphone and mic jacks

    3yr warranty (bare minimum 1 year)

    Dual-boot to Android (nice but not essential)

    VERIZON LTE 4g card (never ever again will I have a device on ATT)
    Reply
  • gxtoast - Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - link

    I have a similar requirement to DrCheap's. I want a tablet that can be effective for Active Reading/Study/Learning using PDFs of technical books. For most active reading, 13.3" is the absolute minimum, and a 16:10 ratio is much preferred over 16:9. Microsoft says their tablets are for content creation, yet they mandate a form factor based on how good it is to consume movies? What the hell are they doing making their display ratios good for movies at the sacrifice of everything else? Talk about a contradiction!

    I need to be able to view two pages of a technical PDF (Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, etc) and be able to annotate and create notes on the side. Actually, at 16:9 the height of the tablet while in landscape is still not ideal for viewing pages. A 15.6" tablet would really be required to do that well.
    Reply
  • Ytterbium - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    The best size tablet I ever used was Compaq TC1100, 10.1" 4:3.

    I agree with others, for business 16:9 isn't great.

    I love the comments about the doctors, they run windows apps on an iPad. I think we'd be in the same situation, all our apps are windows only and the cost to re-develop them is too much.
    Reply
  • iwod - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    The Original iPad size was great, actually i would even want the screen size of the iPad to stretch to the edge, making the screen so slightly bigger rather then the current trend of cutting down in size.

    My Problem isn't so much about size. Is the weight.

    From my experience around me, it was too heavy especially for female who could but iPad mini in their bags and doesn't hurt their shoulder.
    There is also problem with one hand operation, holding a bigger iPad one hand the weight will pivot through and it "feels" a lot heavier.

    Being Apple sided I agree spec doesn't matter as much. You could have software feeling super snappy even if the hardware isn't top of the line. It is how much software engineering you put in. And it is not like our silicon tech are limiting the performance of tablet. It is the battery and heat dissipation that is limiting us. And we can put a super big and thin battery in as well, it will cost and it is technically possible, but it is going to weight a lot heavier, which goes back to my original concern of weight.

    We need a battery that improves the Energy Density / Weight / Volume in big ways. That is what is currently limiting us.
    Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    My use cases:

    7-8-inch tablet: eReader usage, pure tablet, "reduced" OS with finger/touch-only stuff.
    12-13-inch tablet: Everything and the kitchen sink usage. Classic convertible laptop with rotating hinge. Full laptop capabilities with x86 architecture, SecureBoot optional, preferably intel(+optional nvidia GPU) platform for proper Linux support.
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    My workplace forbid using any kind of tablet or other IT devices (probably due to security policy), a little bit disappointing.

    Anyway I think the tablet for enterprise should be/have, or rather this is what I want :P.
    * a little bit oversized (11"-12", or maybe A4 size display)
    * sturdy but lightweight (carbon fiber/magnesium alloy chasis?)
    * >2GB RAM. 128GB SSD.
    * Pen enabled. 2 USB ports.
    * TPM, fingerprint reader.
    * VMWare View, Citrix XenApp client, RDP client, etc.
    * A good Email client.

    But putting that together may be too expensive for the company ;-)
    Reply
  • mr_tawan - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    Oh, I forgot, I want to use the tablet as an external monitor too. Reply
  • SanX - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Yes, A4, like most journals have. Size will be as with current 11" Windows tablets if use almost zero 5mm maximum bezel. Make smart virtual bezel you moronic developers which separates the area you are using for handling the screen from areas you are selecting something, what, are you waiting for Apple will guide you ? Reply
  • amrs - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    Matte display would be on my wish list. I've tried to use my Nexus 7 at work but with the kind of overhead lights we have in the office it seems impossible to avoid annoying reflections on the screen. It's pretty hard with my 4.6" phone already. Maybe if I crawled under my desk...

    Other than that, well, engineering software isn't available much on tablets. I could do some of my work by turning a tablet into a text terminal and connecting to a Linux server like that one software developer Mark O'Connor did with his Ipad.
    Reply
  • ruzveh - Thursday, June 27, 2013 - link

    Atleast a 10 to 12" is required if u want to work comfortably for hours on it Reply

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