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Windows 8 slate tablet devices for hospital use


  • hand held portable computing devices with WiFi connectivity are becoming increasingly important as part of the solution to hospital IT infrastructure
  • the key driver for this is the need for bedside computing on ward rounds to enable rapid access to patient information such as their EMR, investigation results, appointments, and now even more critically, order entry for ordering pathology and radiology investigations, and electronic prescribing.
  • whilst the Apple iPad had a nice design footprint for holding, it has a number of critical architecture design deficiencies which make it not well suited to the hospital environment, in particular, it's web browser Safari is crippled, and the iPad does not run native Windows apps which dominate the hospital IT landscape unless these are run in a virtual desktop, fixed battery, and there are issues for the IT department in managing WiFi security.
  • in October 2012, Microsoft has officially released Windows 8 which promises an iPad-like experience, but in addition, if one buys a device capable of running the full Windows environment instead of only the WinRT version, it can run traditional Windows 7 or Windows 8 style software which allows the full productivity users expect in a business environment and which the iPad fails to deliver.
  • this page will be a place holder for devices which may have a role for ED doctors or hospitals
  • the ideal device would be rugged, able to be cleaned, have a good touch sensitive display usable with gloves, light, long battery life with interchangeable batteries (preferably hot swappable), optional keyboard use, USB 3.0 ports (for much faster access to external hard drives - most Intel Ivy Bridge-based devices will have USB 3.0 instead of the older, slower USB 2.0), at least 128Gb internal memory, SD card reader, hardware-level security protection , anti-theft (eg. Intel® Anti-Theft Technology) and asset management and perhaps barcode and RFID readers.
  • a removable keyboard makes it light enough for holding on ward rounds but the software interface must allow for touch input
  • some hospitals ONLY allow access to WiFi via their Citrix environment - this means all your software and apps on your device remain blocked from accessing the WiFi - great for hospital IT security but very frustrating for doctors as starting and re-starting Citrix from these devices is a time consuming and rather clunky experience, plus Citrix sometimes just freeze when you need it the most.

multi-touch WiFi connected portable screen

  • perhaps the BEST solution is a multi-touch WiFi connected portable screen which connects to a central computer.
  • this would be the lightest and cheapest portable solution but does require either a Citrix-like virtual machine environment, or, a dedicated PC placed elsewhere in the ED which it will “control”.
  • these devices should have much longer battery life and run much cooler as they do not require the CPU or hard drive to be included in the unit.
  • Lenovo are producing Windows 8 compatible units in June 2013

ruggedized devices

Mobile Demand xTablet T1200

  • heavy but “military” rugged, can withstand 5' drop (MIL-STD 810G rating) and weatherproof with 3 year warranty
  • starts at $3000
  • 10.4“ display
  • 3rd gen. Intel processors and 16Gb RAM to run full Win 8 Pro or Win 7 Pro
  • 64GB to 256GB of SSD storage can add a 2nd drive
  • integrated numeric keyboard, barcode scanner and RFID reader
  • front facing camera for video chat as well as a 5MP rear facing camera
  • connectivity options and ports including GPS, PCMCIA, SDHC, smart card readers, 2 USB 3.0 ports, serial port, Gigabit Ethernet and options for 3G, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0
  • optional accessories will include docking station, keyboard, etc
  • should be available Jan 2013

Motion Computing

  • yet to release a Win8 version
  • but have a Win7 version Motion C5t which is worth a look - see here

keyboard dockable devices

  • these are perhaps the ideal portable devices for people who need more than an iPad can offer but still allow iPad-like portability

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

  • perhaps too big for carrying around as a tablet
  • 12”, 2560 x 1440 screen with a 3:2 ratio making it the 1st Surface Pro to be truly passable laptop-like - you can actually use a Surface on your lap now whilst reclining in all sorts of poses even with keyboard added, but you do need the optional Type Cover keyboard (~$150) with its new magnetic mag-bar to attach the keyboard more securely
  • 0-150deg hinge but no hard click positions like the Pro 2
  • at a mere 0.91-cm thick almost half as thin as the Pro 2
  • at 798g, nearly half the weight of a 13“ Macbook Air and with a better screen
  • battery life ~7hrs (Pro 2 had ~5hrs)
  • improved touchpad although it still has issues
  • can get hot to touch

Microsoft Surface Pro 2

  • the initial version was a bit underwhelming, lacking in hard disk space
  • the Surface Pro 2 offers:
    • Intel’s new 4th Generation Core i5 Haswell processors for better graphics and phenomenally better battery life
    • up to 512Gb SSD drive (4Gb/128Gb version $A1129, 8Gb/256Gb version $A1469,8Gb/512Gb version $A2039)
    • the 256Gb version is probably best bang for bucks (the 64Gb version is not recommended as Windows 8 will take up most of that)
    • same size as Surface 2 but ~50% heavier; 275 x 173 x 13.5 mm; 900g;
    • 10.6” 1920×1080
    • battery 7-15 days “idle life”; charges in 204hrs;
    • microSDXC reader; USB 3.0; Dual 2×2 MIMO antennae;

Kupa UltraNote Windows 8 Tablet

  • 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200-pixel IPS display with a ten-point capacitive multitouch layer and a Wacom-like digitizer for pen input
  • 15mm thick, 760g (1.67lb), removable battery
  • iCore 3,5 or 7 (Ivy Bridge) CPU
  • 4-8Gb RAM, 64-128Gb SSD
  • WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3G/4G (LTE) mobile internet connectivity along with dual cameras (2MP in front, 5MP in back), NFC and a fingerprint reader
  • SIM slot, headphone jack, mini HDMI output and two USB 3.0 ports on the right side of the device, plus a proprietary power / docking connector on the bottom edge
  • optional keyboard dock with an additional battery (to increase battery life to 12hrs), power jack, SD card slot, Ethernet connector, VGA output and two USB 3.0 ports
  • functionality can include a credit card reader, scanner, handset extension for mobile phone calls
  • due early 2013

Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 700T Series 7 Slate

  • 11.6“ 1920 x 1080 screen, Intel Core 1.7GHz i5-3317U processor - fast enough for most applications, good compromise on battery life
  • 128GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, microSD, Intel® HD Graphics 4000, 2mp front and 5mp rear camera,
  • S Pen screen input
  • WiFi, WiDi, Bluetooth 4.0, GigaLAN, microHDMI, SIM card slot, auto-rotate lock, USB 3.0 x 1 + USB 2.0 x 2 on the keyboard
  • you may need to buy a Win8 x64 compatible USB network adapter for cabled network if the hospital does not allow connection to WiFi
  • return to Samsung service to change battery
  • 295 x 183 x 13mm; 857g; (11.6” x 7.2“ x 0.5”, 1.89lbs)
  • $1,199, 1yr warranty
  • can set a superviser and user password in the BIOSm but this version does not allow setting hard disk passwords and does not seem to support TPM security chip - you should consider resorting to TrueCrypt software to encrypt important data.

Toshiba Encore 8" tablet

  • quad core Atom CPU; 2Gb RAM; 32Gb ($399) and 64Gb ($469) versions
  • miniUSB out; microHDMI out; microSD card slot;
  • dual mics for better Skype
  • 1280×800 screen
  • 7hr battery
  • detachable keyboard

USB or Bluetooth connectable keyboards

Acer Iconia W700

  • 11.6“ display
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 (the same graphic chips Apple uses in the MacBook Air)
  • 3 models: two use the Intel Core i5 processor, and one uses the Intel Core i3 CPU starting at $799
  • 5MP rear-facing camera that can shoot 1080p video, and a front-facing HD webcam for video chat
  • 64GB or 128GB drives
  • 1x USB 3.0 port with additional ports via the included cradle

non-detachable keyboards

  • these generally weigh in excess of 3lb and are too heavy for holding and writing for lengthy periods on ward rounds
  • Toshiba Satellite U925t Ultrabook - sliding style display reveals keyboard underneath and over 3lbs
  • Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook - flippable swing style display but at 3.35lb is far too heavy and there is no SD slot
  • Lenovo Yoga 13 - flippable display but weighs 3.4lbs
  • Asus Taichi 21 - dual screens front and back to avoid mechanical issues with inward-facing screen has a matte finish and the outward screen having a tougher Gorilla Glass but more reflective surface. Only 3hrs battery life if you have both running. 1.25kg.
  • Sony Vaio Duo 11 - 11.6” sliding style 1920×1080 display; 1.3kg (2.84lbs); NFC; VGA port; WiDi; HDMI-out; 2x USB 3.0; Ethernet, SD card reader, full Wacom digitizer with 256-level stylus (but no where to store it); various models i3-i7 Ivy Bridge CPUs; 4-8Gb; 128-256Gb SSD; Gorilla glass; 2 x 2.4mp webcam; ~5hr battery life; 11 secs for full boot; Intel's antitheft technology; a trusted platform module for additional security;
    • it is a bit big to walk around with as a tablet for more than a few minutes;
    • the high screen resolution makes using the touch screen difficult in classic Windows mode as your finger is bigger than most buttons and text
    • sliding mechanism not intuitive and potentially a weak point although reportedly is solid, and you cannot adjust the screen angle;
    • small keys make touch typing a challenge; no touchpad but an optical pointer and 3 mouse buttons; classic style Windows users will probably want to use a Bluetooth mouse;

hand holdable devices primarily for use in Citrix environments

shoulder strap systems to carry in ED

Windows 8 RT only devices

  • Windows RT only devices are generally NOT suitable as they are not compatible with traditional Windows desktop applications, HOWEVER, they may have a place for accessing most web browser applications and for running Citrix

Microsoft Surface RT

  • USB 2.0 only!
  • only 1366×768 panel
  • 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in; 680g
  • 32Gb or 64Gb version; 2Gb RAM; 31.5 W-h battery; two 720p cameras; micro SDXC slot;
  • at under $A400, the original RT has very limited uses but if you just need to access your Windows virtual desktop at work via WiFi through a Citrix app, then this may be all you need

Microsoft Surface 2

  • USB port now 3.0 at last
  • 32/64Gb options
  • 10.6“ 1080p screen (larger than 9.7” iPad 4 screen but lower resolution)
  • new Tegra 4 quad core processor
  • micro SDXC slot;
  • 25% more battery life (10 hr battery life, same as iPad 4)
  • great for running Citrix at work
  • similar weight to iPad 4 at 680g
  • 1“ longer and 0.5” narrower than iPad 4 at 274 x 171 x 8.9mm
  • ~0.5“ shorter and 0.5” narrower than Samsung Series 7 slate and ~180g lighter
  • 32Gb $A529, 64Gb $A639

Acer Iconia W510

  • 10“ 1366 x 768 slate, 1.5GHZ Intel Atom Z2760 processor, 2Gb RAM, 32GB ($499) to 64GB of storage ($799)
  • keyboard dock (included in 64Gb version) doubles battery life to 18hrs and can be used as a stand, and adds a USB 2.0 port
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro HDMI, a Micro SD card reader, and Micro USB 2.0
  • slightly lighter than the New iPad without the keyboard
  • a little heavier than the 11-inch MacBook Air when paired with the keyboard dock


  • ASUS VivoTab RT
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2
  • Dell XPS 10
  • Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T
  • HP Envy x2

Apple iOS

Apple iPad Air

  • announced Oct 2013
  • 9.7-inch display 2048 x 1536p resolution (264ppi)
  • 5 MP Camera, f/2.4 aperture, Face detection, HDR
  • 1080p HD Video on rear-facing camera, 720p on front-facing camera
  • Lightning connector
  • A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
  • 16, 32, 64, and 128GB storage options

Apple iPad Retina

  • 16/32/64Gb options
  • 9.7” 2048 x 1536 pixel screen
  • 1Gb RAM, dual core processor
  • 10hr battery
  • no microSD card slot for memory expansion
  • 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4 (mm)
  • 662g

Apple iPad Mini with Retina

  • announced Oct 2013
  • similar specs to iPad Air but smaller: 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536p resolution (326 ppi)

Apple iPad Mini

  • 16/32/64Gb options
  • 7.9“ 1024×768 display - a touch small for Citrix Windows Desktop apps
  • 200x135x7mm; 7.9” x 5.3“ x 0.28”;
  • 308g = less than half the weight of an iPad 4 or Surface 2

Android devices

  • NB. android Citrix app may not be as user friendly as Windows app

slate comparison

iPad Mini iPad Retina Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Surface RT Surface 2 Surface Pro 2 Samsung Series 7
OS iOS iOS Android Win8RT Win8RT full 64bit Windows 8 full 64bit Windows 8
weight 308g 662g 510g 680g 680g 900g 857g
height 7.9“ 9.5” 9.6“ 10.8” 10.8“ 10.8” 11.6“
width 5.3” 7.3“ 6.9” 6.7“ 6.7” 6.7“ 7.2”
display size 7.9“ 9.7” 10.1“ 9.7” 10.6“ 10.6” 11.6“
resolution 1024×768 2048 x 1536 1280×800 1366×768 1920×1080 1920×1080 1920×1080
battery life 10hr 10hr 6-8hr 8hr 10hr >10hr?? ?6hr
recharge time 7hr 2-4hrs
CPU dual dual + quad graphics dual dual quad quad quad
RAM 1Gb 1GB 1Gb 2Gb 2Gb 4/8Gb 4Gb
SSD 16/32/64Gb 16/32/64Gb 16Gb 16/32Gb 16/32/64Gb 64/128/256/512Gb 128Gb
USB 3.0 No No No No Yes Yes Yes
microSD No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
walkaround Citrix too small - readability issues Good / V.Good? ? Citrix app/battery/resolution OK but poor resolution, battery life V.Good heavy heavy
touch apps extensive extensive moderate some some some some
MS Office compatibility no encrypted files, other issues no encrypted files, other issues some good good excellent excellent
price $A $369-589 $539-869 $389 $529 $1099-2199 $1399
it/win8slates.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/28 02:07 by

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