Comparing tablet PCs

What makes a tablet PC a good fit for government work might be quite different from what makes it an irresistible toy at home. Federal Computer Week’s sister publication, Government Computer News, recently evaluated a handful of new tablet PCs for a variety of government work-related characteristics, including security, performance and ease of use. Here are some of the highlights.

Manufacturer and product namePriceProsCons 

Apple's iPad 2 (Wi-Fi) 16G


Simple to operate, but those used to PC-based applications will need some retraining


Quite fragile, but an optional Apple Smart Cover case can compensate

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.2


Multitasking powerhouse with a huge screen and full support of Flash apps

No extra security and not very rugged

Motion Computing's J3500 Tablet PC


Security features include biometric fingerprint scanner; rugged up to Mil-Std 810G specifications

Very expensive

Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad


Powerful dual-core processor and standard security features, such as full-device encryption

Not particularly rugged

Motorola's Xoom


Runs Google’s elegant and fast Honeycomb operating system


Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook


Excellent browser for Web apps; offers top-notch security when linked with your BlackBerry smart phone

Requires a companion BlackBerry device for the best — and most secure — experience

Source: Government Computer News

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Tue, Jul 12, 2011

Only one of these is a Tablet PC, the others are big screen PDA's. What makes an IPad a tablet PC?

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group