The 2017 JBKnowledge Survey shows that roughly 53% of participants use tablets for construction work. It’s part of a growing trend of technology at the construction site and the desire to consolidate that technology into one device. The increasing capabilities of tablets coupled with their portability and durability make them a great option for construction work. But there are hundreds of tablets out there, so what should you look for in tablets for construction?
What to Use?
The first question you have to ask yourself is, what will the primary use be? If you plan on mostly using the tablet to take photos of the site and take short note, then you might not want a large tablet. In fact, you might be able to get by with a cellphone with a good camera and a laptop for your office. However, if you want to use your device to write long field notes, change orders, and other documentation, you might want a larger tablet.
Another question is, what operating system do I prefer? If you primarily use Apple device, it makes sense to stick with an Apple device. They communicate effectively with each other and allow you to easily access files created on any device. If you prefer Windows Operating systems or Android then it makes sense to stick within your preference.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is incredibly important in any new piece of technology. If the learning curve on the device is too steep then your chance of using the device regularly decreases significantly. Another issue is how your current software or apps will run on your potential tablets for construction. You need to know if the software or app is less intuitive on one operating system than on the others. Or if it isn’t available on certain operating platforms. This dramatically changes your search for tablets for construction.
Not every construction site has Wi-Fi. If you need to have an internet connection then you need a tablet that has a cellular connection. Not all tablets can be used on a cell network, and some cell companies charge extra when you use a device as a Hotspot. If your tablet lacks cellular capabilities you might not be able to do everything you need to.
Size is everything for a tablet. If you need a tablet to draft memos, change orders, answer emails, to be your computer in the field then a larger screen is helpful. If you’re looking for something to take photos and quick notes with high portability then a smaller screen works. In looking for tablets for construction you should think about the job you want it to perform when looking at device size.
Battery life is crucial. You don’t want to be in the middle of a field note and have the tablet shut down. You need a tablet that can last 10 hours or more, that way you have guaranteed power for your workday.
Processors, RAM, and Storage
Processors, RAM, and storage are all key features on tablets for construction. They determine if a tablet can run necessary software and apps for your business. They also determine the speed with which the tablet runs them and how much can be stored on it. If you plan on using the tablets for construction more like laptops than it is important to get tablets that have a better RAM and processor. Otherwise, you can prioritize storage. They’ll need to have similar specifications to laptops in RAM and processor depending on their proposed use.
Accessories and Ruggedness
Many tablets that fit your technical specifications might not fit the ruggedness of a construction site. Hopefully, the tablets aren’t being thrown around and dropped regularly, but life happens. When considering tablets you should consider the cost of any protective gear for the tablets. Or even rugged tablets themselves. These tablets are crafted for military professionals but come with high price tags.
Budget is always important when purchasing new technology. Treated well, a tablet should last you several years and is an investment in your business. When tallying up the final cost of a tablet you should consider the tablet, any accessories like keyboards or styluses, cases, and internet. You have to consider what you’re getting for the price. If you choose based on cost rather than features you might waste your money. With technology often times you pay for exactly what you get.