Best Tablet for Construction?
“What device should I buy for use at the construction site?” That is a frequently returning question from our users, so it makes it a good subject to explore.
Instead of just listing a number of suitable tablets, we like to present you with a number of criteria that are relevant in selecting a suitable device that works well in the construction environment. This way you can decide for yourself what is important for you personally and keep that in mind when you decide on the purchase.
4G or no 4G
Devices without 4G are cheaper. Many applications work without connection, but it can be handy to have 4G at certain times, for instance when downloading the latest version of a drawing or to mail a site report from an area that does not have a Wi-Fi connection. If you urgently need a connection, you can of course also create a hotspot with your phone and make a temporary connection that way.
Random Access Memory determines the speed of the device. 1GB of RAM is in principle sufficient for most applications. For intensive usage, more RAM may be needed. In case of very many reports, projects and blueprints, we usually advise ArchiSnapper users 2GB of RAM or more.
This is the number of Giga Bytes that is available on the device for pictures, documents, etc. The more GBs of disk space, the more expensive the device, but it decreases the frequency that the device is full and that pictures have to be erased in order to continue working.
A tablet or phone must be able to survive for a while at a construction site with an occasional drop, some rain now and then and volumes of dust all the time. At the time of the purchase it makes sense to figure out beforehand which protection possibilities are compatible with the device. Here you already find an article with a number of popular rugged cases.
Size of the device
This is personal and it depends on exactly what you want to do with the device at the site. ArchiSnapper users often ask us what is most suitable on the job site: a tablet, a smartphone, or an inbetweener (for instance the size of the mini iPad). The answer is, as it often is, “it depends”. The essence of ArchiSnapper is that on the job site you can note a remark, accompanied by an immediate picture or sketch and the location on a blueprint. After the site visit, everything is ready in the online ArchiSnapper account and the texts can be finalized from there at leisure on the PC. This makes it redundant to have to completely write out the descriptions using the phone or tablet while you are at the construction site.
If you would like to be brief on the job site, (just some keywords with pictures for example) allowing you to work out the remarks using the PC, then that is actually possible using a smartphone. An extra advantage with that is that taking a picture is easier with a smartphone. But then, adding annotations and making remarks on blueprints is harder on a phone.
If you prefer to write out the remarks mainly on the site, then a usual tablet (such as an iPad) is more suitable. It also facilitates working on the blueprints. As disadvantages, we can list that the device is harder to manipulate because of its size and that taking pictures takes a little more time.
Then we can offer the doubters the size in between tablets (such as the mini iPad and Android equivalents) that are not too bulky (and so can be tucked into a coat pocket or back pocket) but that are more convenient than a smartphone for typing in text and working with blueprints. Therefore, we see that this is a popular size for our users.
Note: the voice-to-text functionality works pretty good (both for Android and iOS). In quieter areas (site cabin, car, office…) this is worth considering! It is more efficient than the use of a Dictaphone and have the text transcribed by a secretary :)
If you run into any other questions when purchasing your next device to use ArchiSnapper at the job site, feel free to mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.