Ask LH: Which Tablet Should I Buy For Work?

Dear Lifehacker, I need some advice! My employers want to buy me an iPad or an Android equivalent. I’m leaning more towards Android, largely for its warm-inner-glow-from-opensource-ness, but am not very familiar yet with its suitability for enterprise/work environments (would, for example, it work with our Citrix gateway?). I was wondering if you could ask Lifehacker readers with experience with both what they thought? Thanks, Tablet Dilemma

Dear Tablet Dilemma,

It’s a good question, and one that I’m sure our readers will have plenty of opinions about. It’s also one to which there isn’t a single “correct” answer, since there’s a lot of variables to consider. Here’s a few to think about:

  • How much money are you planning to spend? In absolute cost terms, Android devices are often a little cheaper (for instance, currently the original Galaxy Tab can be had from Telstra for $299). Supply can be an equally relevant issue — right now, Apple is quoting a 2-3 week delivery time for the iPad 2
  • How confident are you of your own tech skills? And how much support is your employer offering? If everyone else in the company already has an iPad, you’ll have a much smoother ride sticking with that than choosing the less common option. If the device is essentially your responsibility, then your own skills and inclinations become more important.
  • Which specific apps do you need to access on the device? For the most part, browser-based work options will run equally well on either platform, unless Flash (which isn’t supported on the iPad) is an important component. You mention Citrix; a Citrix Receiver client is available as a free download for both iPad and Android , so that shouldn’t cause too many dramas.
  • Can you run iTunes on your work PC? If your employer has a locked-down configuration that precludes that, syncing an iPad could be a nuisance on occasion. Android is less reliant on such connections and you can configure a device without ever connecting it to a computer, though your desktop rights also a consideration if you’re planning to replace the supplied installation with your own custom image.

And with that said, we’ll throw it open for discussion. Which tablet option has worked better in your workplace environment?


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