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August : Which tablet is right for your forestry business?

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23 August, 2016

Which tablet is right for your forestry business?

A Canadian company has recently provided an excellent review of tablet selection for use in the field. The question of which tablet to use out in a rugged environment is a very challenging one to answer. You will likely know the answer after you have used a tablet computer for several months. And just to make things really challenging whatever you choose will not be the best option in a year because of advances in technology! 

You can make a good case for the adoption of Android, Apple and Windows tablets. None of them will be a perfect fit and of course the best fit will vary with job function and individual. To help you make an informed choice Brian Saunders has considered the following four "classes" of tablet computers. 

1. Class 1 - Apple Tablets
2. Class 2 - The Android "Consumer" grade tablet
3. Class 3 - Ruggedized Android tablets
4. Class 4 - Ruggedized Windows PC

When he has conducted workshops on the field use of tablet computers one of the things that has surprised him is the high proportion of users that have chosen Apple tablets over Android devices.
From the functionality perspective there is little reason to choose one over the other - both can perform the majority of functions required by field users. However, it is the lack of good harsh environmental cases available for Android consumer devices that tip the scales in favour of Apple's tablets.

With a Griffin Survivor- or LifeProof-equipped iPad, you have a highly water resistant (or waterproof) tablet computer at a much lower cost than a purpose built ruggedized Android tablet. And these devices hold up remarkably well on Canada's West (Wet) coast. He knows of one coastal consulting company that has about 5000 man-days of iPad field use without the loss of a single device due to moisture ingress.

If you require a device that will work in more extreme environments your only option is a purpose-built ruggedized tablet such as the Panasonic Android Toughtab or Motion Computers F5. These tablets are significantly more expensive than an Apple iPad equipped with a ruggedized case but you get what you pay for. The full article can be found by clicking here.

Remote sensing, forest inventory and data management is again the focus for this regions independent technology update, ForestTECH 2016 which will run in Rotorua on 16-17 November and again in Melbourne on 22-23 November. Programmes are now out for both venues. Registrations are already coming in. Further details on the November technology series can be found on the event website,