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Balancing Processor Speed, Battery Life, and Use Case for Rugged Tablets

When it comes to a custom tablet, end users look for the best blend of properties that can fulfill all of the tasks in a given environment without compromising one quality over another. That being said, the order of importance of the mix of properties will vary to some degree due to particular needs and industries.

The mix of properties of custom tablets includes the following:

  • Speed
  • Reliability
  • Ruggedness
  • Long battery life
  • Cost effectiveness/ value
  • Versatility
  • Security
  • Certifications (FDA, Intrinsic Safety, MIL-SPEC, cellular, etc.)

The right mix of these properties for the best rugged tablet may be unique for each user. This is chiefly because processor speed and feature set impact the types of applications and functions that can be implemented while all of these properties impact battery life.

When specifying a custom tablet, it’s best to initially avoid diving into processor types, cores, speed, and battery life on a technical level. That’s pretty much a rabbit hole as most people want the fastest/newest processor available. Instead, let’s concentrate on what really matters to the end user, which is making the decisions based on a specific use case for the tablet device.

The Importance of Use Cases

The beauty of custom-made tablets is that working with the right expert designer and manufacturer can enable you to get the optimal mix of features that meet your needs – the use case. Use cases may include the technical functions that need to be performed, the environments in which the tablet will be used, how the user interacts with the tablet, peripheral devices and networks attached to the tablet, regulatory requirements of specific industries, look/feel of the device, and more. The custom tablet manufacturer brings expertise in understanding use cases, and distilling the use cases into implementable specifications. This then flows into a defined design process design process and associated component choices with an understanding of reliability analysis that ensures the end solution meets performance needs under duress.

The combination of speed and battery life are largely dependent on specific use cases. For example, if your users spend a lot of time downloading large files over Wi-Fi, compressing and displaying multiple video streams and running other processor-heavy applications that are battery drainers, your design choices would be different than for a custom tablet used to capture and process data in the field through low power Bluetooth devices with an app that has lower graphics requirements.

While there are plenty of good tablet processor comparison guides out there, it’s important to keep in mind that the faster and higher-end a processor is, in general the more power it consumes. In short, processor speed can directly influence battery life. While knowing these and other specification comparisons can be somewhat helpful, what ultimately matters is how they will perform in your particular use case.

A custom tablet that is used on an eight-hour shift on the factory floor to monitor machine performance will have different processor, battery, and peripheral needs than one used for inventory tracking with RFID infrequently during the day.

In healthcare, safety and reliability are usually the highest concerns, and other considerations like long battery life may become secondary. Meeting the strict FDA certifications standards, including proper medical device design records traceability and configuration control are critical.

The Best Rugged Tablet for Your Needs

Designing the best rugged tablet for your needs and environment starts with your knowledge of how it will be (and might be) used by your end users.

When you bring your knowledge of need and budget to the design table, it is critical for the design team to ask the right questions that uncover a complete and thoroughly thought out set of use cases and requirements. This then determines the hierarchy of feature needs. That enables the custom tablet to properly balance processor, speed, battery life and use cases along with a host of other features to provide the ideal design for your needs.

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