Samsung Galaxy Tab Active – the rugged tablet for business types

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Tablet computers are becoming increasingly popular among business users as a means of allowing employees to stay connected wherever they are. But for industrial environments, field service personnel or people who work outdoors, a conventional tablet may not be up to the task.

Step forward Samsung with an answer to the problem in the form of the Galaxy Tab Active. This is a ‘ruggedised’ tablet aimed at business users, so much so that it will only be sold through B2B channels and won’t be available through retailers. Home users may like to click-through to the next story now.

Still here? Good, you’re obviously a serious business type who’s not afraid to take the rough with the smooth. So what makes a tablet rugged? In the Galaxy Tab Active’s case it’s erm… the case. It has an anti-shock covering that Samsung claims will survive a 1.2 metre drop (that’s about 4 feet in old money), it’s also IP67 certified which means it’s dust resistant and won’t be daunted by going out in the rain. There’s also a stylus so you can, for example, use it whilst wearing gloves.

Beneath the rugged exterior – sorry for coming over a bit Mills and Boon there – is not a heart of gold but a pretty standard Galaxy Tab. You get a 1.2 GHz CPU, an 8-inch 1280×800 screen, 16GB of onboard storage expandable by a microSD slot, 3.1 megapixel front and 1.2 megapixel rear cameras. All this is driven by Android KitKat and, in keeping with its business focus, comes with Samsung’s Knox security program.

So what do reviewers think? Engadget notes that,

“The Galaxy Tab Active boasts 10 hours of power from a detachable, 4,450mAh battery, and a UI designed for tough work – the kind of stuff that keeps your fingers off the screen. It’s also got a variant of Samsung’s S Pen in the C Pen, a tougher version of the standard stylus included with various Galaxy devices.”

Reinforcing the Active’s business credentials ZDNet says, “It’s also been certified for Citrix and SAP applications…” and, “…during the design phase of the Galaxy Tab Active, the company talked with Fortune 500 companies spanning 12 industries to find out what business leaders wanted from a mobile device.”

“The tech specs are mid-range at best,” says Rugged PC Review, “but that would not detract from vertical market use where leading-edge tech isn’t as essential as in the cut-throat consumer market.” Which basically means business users are happy to buy lower tech specs as long as they work.

Pocketnow puts it more simply,

“The hardware that powers the Tab Active isn’t too exciting, much closer to a Tab 4 than a Tab S, but that’s not why anyone’s going to be buying this thing; they’re here for the rugged design. That protects the tablet against drops and environmental damage, while features like its stylus (even if it is a capacitive one) and support for quick charging cradles help expand its usefulness out in the field.”

However, Cnet’s reviewer says,

“The Active has definitely been put together with businesses in mind, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a consumer version, as there currently aren’t many options for those who want a rugged tablet for outdoor use. Samsung has a tendency to make plenty of variants of its products, so fingers crossed we see a version of the Tab Active that’s aimed at everyday shoppers before too long.”

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So, if your working life demands a tablet that’s a bit tougher than the norm, tell your IT manager that the Galaxy Tab Active is available in the UK through distributor Exertis though no pricing is has currently been released.