Tablet for Network Engineer?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by escher, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. escher

    escher Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I am considering going to a tablet for it's size/weight convenience and I have a very specific application.

    I'm a network engineer and I would want to be able to do wireless surveys, log into networking equipment, use the standard corporate business software (MS Office), e-mail, connect to the 'net via a cell system (Dunno which "G". Don't know if I care.)

    Here's my questionnaire:

    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?

    I'm not really worrying about budget at this time. Not that I'm wealthy or anything, and I do prefer to pay as little as possible for everything I own, but if I buy a tablet it will be a tool, not a toy; and tax deductible.

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?

    Absolutely. As long as I could feel safe about the vendor.

    3. Do you prefer a Slate, Convertible or Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC)?

    I think probably a Slate, although I can see where a UMPC could be handy and I would certainly consider anything that fits my needs.

    4. What size Tablet PC would you prefer?

    I think that would be pretty subjective and I couldn't answer definitively, but I also know that I am far more likely to find a larger screen more comfortable to use. WEIGHT is a big issue. I want something lighter and slimmer than a laptop, which makes convertibles a wee bit pointless in ANY size.

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from?

    The USA.

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?


    7. How many hours battery life do you require?

    The more the better, but dual batteries and/or a hot swappable setup of some type would make up for limits here. As long as there's a way for me to quickly and easily change a low battery for a fresh one without having to power down, I'm good.

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet?

    The primary usage will be work, and I'll get into details at the bottom.
    Having said that, if the tablet wont let me run Microsoft Office, including e-mail, then it won't really work for me. Ditto if it can't access the internet via a mainstream browser.

    9. Do you have an OS preference?

    Windows. At least XP-Pro, although I would be OK with Windows 7.

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run?

    Well, here's the software I have in mind:
    • MS Office, mainly Word and Excel, with some power-point possible. Likely to need Visio as well. A PDF reader too. All of those would be mainly for reading, not creating.
    • Wireshark, Netstumbler, AngryIP... A variety of network admin tools.
    • A terminal program. Hyperterminal, Putty, whatever...
    • Consider this line to be the stuff I am forgetting at this moment.

    10. Do you intend on playing Games?

    Solitaire. It's a "thing" for me.

    Screen Specifics

    1. What resolution do you prefer?

    I think if it'll do 1024x768 I will be fine. Chances are I can find a resolution that will make me happy.

    2. Do you require the screen to be readable in sunlight?

    It would be nice, but I think that if push comes to shove, I can make a cardboard visor for it.

    3. Do you prefer your display to be glossy or matte?

    I really have no idea.

    4. Do you require Touch?
    5. Do you require a Pen?

    I think those would be nice, but they aren't priorities.

    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require?

    I think at LEAST something around 40g, preferably 60g or so.
    More importantly, I really think I should have an SSD.

    2. Do you require an Optical (CD/DVD) Drive to be built in?

    I suppose it would be nice, but external would get the job done.

    3. Do you require ability to add a second Battery or Hard Drive (Modular Bay technology)?

    I DEFINITELY wouldn't want to bother buying anything I would have to power down in order to deal with a discharged battery. Dual, hot-swappable batteries would be the best.


    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?

    Well, I'd love a DB-9 port, but that ain't gonna happen, is it. So, at LEAST one USB port, preferably more. Ultimately, if I could attach a keyboard and mouse, PLUS a USB to DB-9 converter, that would be great.

    Also, wireless... I need the whole 802-11 suite. a/b/g/n

    Oh, and I would want to be able to use a cellular network to access the internet if I had to. If that means attaching an external card via a dongle, so be it, although built-in is obviously more convenient.

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?

    I have a Dell D-620 that I currently use to do wireless surveys, configure routers and switches, and do all manner of little things that are specifically related to being a Network Engineer.

    Now, I know...
    All this makes me a prime candidate for a convertible.

    But if I need to lug around a convertible, then I may as well save the money and stick with a traditional laptop.
  2. pmatulew

    pmatulew Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Stop being a weenie. Get yourself an enterprise class convertible with a slice battery and it will do everything you want. If you're going to have to carry around a bag full of accessories, they might just as well be attached.
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Surface MVP Super Moderator

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    The Fujitsu Q550 will do most of what you want, it is an enterprise class machine, rumor has it that a WWAN model will be released later this summer. I'm an Datacenter Infrastructure/Private Cloud Consultant and I use the HP Slate 500 for my main workstation. I use a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse while docked at the office or at my home office.

    While in meetings I "ink" my notes and while mobile I use Hot Virtual Keyboard (a $29.99 purchase) in the UMPC Layout to input into Office.

    I disagree with the idea of getting convertables (I've owned many) and quite frankly lugging 6 lbs around all the time got old. Now all I carry is my slate some thumb drives and the power cable. I can use the pen for mouse while mobile in the virtual keyboard. My mobile office now is under 4 lbs including the bag.
  4. Wiz33

    Wiz33 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Lowend: Acer Iconia W500 w/Win7 Pro

    Highend: Lenovo X220T

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