Rugged laptops vs. issued tablets | MassCops

Rugged laptops vs. issued tablets

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by USM C-2, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. USM C-2

    USM C-2 MassCops Member

    I'm about to purchase a few new patrol vehicles and have heard some discussion about the plusses and minuses of issuing tablets instead.

    A new patrol car computer will cost me about $4000, plus another grand or so for a Gamber-Johnson mount, docking station and installation. I've heard of some departments doing away with that and just issuing a consumer-grade tablet and otterbox case to each sworn officer.

    Has anyone had any experience with a department-issued tablet? Any ones you've liked or hated?

    I'm looking at the iPad, Galaxy and Surface Go (3 different operating systems.) Almost everything we do in the car is web-based, and we have desktops at each station if needed.
     
  2. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    The only tablet I would look at is the Toughbook CF-33. Anything consumer or even business grade will get broken and you will have difficulty properly mounting it in the car as well.

    Gamber and Havis both make docks for the CF-33 but they are different options depending on which keyboard configuration you go with. I recommend spending the extra dough to get dual-pass thru antennas on the docks if the tablets/laptops you spec out have them, even if you aren't using them right away. They are about an extra $100 per dock.
     
  3. j809

    j809 Subscribing Member

    I’ve seen the patrol PCs and we have the Fz1 Panasonic tablet as well as the toughbooks CF31. I’d get toughbooks. They are removable from the dock and can be used to do reports etc. The tablets are too small and we all hate the one car with tablet. The patrol Pc cannot be removed and useless. Best bang for the buck is toughbook.
    There’s a new cf-31 replacement coming out This fall too.


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  4. Danusmc0321

    Danusmc0321 MassCops Member

    I prefer the laptop. The tablet mount (the ones we use), are hard mounted to the dash and blocks the entire center stack where the radio and hvac controls are. You can’t swing it side to side like you can with the laptop mount. The other issue is, I couldn’t shut the screen off at night so you have the light in your face,you can unhook it and swing it up, but the light is constantly on. You can just shut the laptop, maybe that’s user error but I couldn’t figure it out.
     
  5. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    The other problem is that if you issue each officer a tablet and you're running CAD on it, you will end up paying thousands additional in licensing and maintenance fees each year (unless everyone has a take home anyway, then it's kind of a moot point).
     
  6. USM C-2

    USM C-2 MassCops Member

    The end goal that saves $$ would be to do away with the car laptops and just issue each officer their own tablet. Put a Ram X-mount and charger cord in each vehicle, but the tablet stays with the officer.

    Our CAD/RMS is web-based, runs on anything with a browser, including NCIC access. No licensing fees per machine, just per user.

    From what I'm hearing, I may be ahead of my time in my thinking. I'm leaning back towards toughbooks.
     
    Goose and j809 like this.
  7. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    If you get them the kid Kindle Fires, they at least have a warranty where they will replace them for free for a year or two any time they are broken.
     
  8. patrol22

    patrol22 MassCops Member

    I like your idea but how can you sell that to your admin? The Toughbooks may be more expensive but they will last longer. Maybe I am missing something but what is the benefit having individually issued tablets? Won’t they sit idle most of the time vs a car mounted laptop that will be used constantly
     
  9. Edmizer1

    Edmizer1 MassCops Member

    Dell semi-rugged laptops are pretty good and are cost about 50% less than toughbooks with a much bigger screen
     
  10. j809

    j809 Subscribing Member

    We bought some refurbished CF-31 tougbooks mint look brand new $799. pm me for seller info he’s from NH. You don’t need much to run plates.


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    Goose likes this.
  11. Goose

    Goose The list is long but distinguished. Staff Member

    He has an IT department. He could totally just buy some $350 ones on fleabay. ;)
     

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