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3 smart tablets for business pros on the go

John Brandon | Jan. 10, 2014
You'd be hard pressed these days to find a worker who doesn't think a tablet would boost his productivity and mobility. Here's a quick look at popular 10-inch iOS, Android and Windows tablets and why they will appeal to employees as well as IT managers.

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9: Battery Life, Customer Support and Browsing Advantages
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the tablet with the tech support feature you've likely seen on TV. CIO.com tested this feature and found it worked amazingly well — even if the technician who helped us was actually a burly guy in his 30s, not the spokesmodel you see on TV. Select the Mayday option and video chat with tech support (who can't see you) to troubleshoot issues such as getting Wi-Fi to connect in real-time. For a business, it's a brilliant way to solve problems.

At 0.35 inches thick and 0.82 pounds, the HDX is a thicker but lighter than the iPad Air. The 2.2 GHz quad-core processor is fast, but it doesn't run in 64 bit like the iPad Air. One major bonus: The HDX lasts 12 hours, about two hours longer than the iPad Air.

Android tablets such as the HDX generally have many of the same apps you will find on an iPad, including Skype, Evernote, Freshbooks, travel apps such as TripIt and Logmein Ignition for remote access. It's actually rare to find a mainstream iOS app that's not on Android. In the past, Android tablets (and phones) were the only place to find Google apps, but that's no longer true, as apps such as Google Maps, Voice, and Gmail are all available on the iPad now.

Still, there's a more limited selection of productivity apps for Android. Even though there is a mobile version of Word for Android phones, you won't find anything like Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. In most cases, you'll likely end up using Google Docs in the Web browser.

One key Kindle Fire difference, though, is the Silk browser. On the HDX, some of the Web processing occurs on Amazon servers. In tests, sites such as CIO.com and ESPN.com tend to pop up faster over the same Wi-Fi connection when compared to the iPad Safari browser. The 16GB version of the Kindle Fire HDX costs $379, or about $120 cheaper than the iPad Air.

Nokia Lumia 2025: The Familiarity of Windows and Office

For larger companies that want to stick with a Microsoft operating system, the Nokia Lumia 2025 is one of the best tablets around. (The recently released Microsoft Surface 2 is another good option). The tablet is 0.35 inches thin and weighs 1.35 pounds, so it's a bit bulkier than the HDX and the iPad Air, but not by much. Battery life runs about 11 hours.

Because it uses the Windows RT 8.1 OS, the Lumia 2025 only runs Metro touch apps, even though there's a desktop view that looks similar to a standard Windows 8 laptop. (To run full Windows 8 apps, you'll need the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, which costs $899.)

 

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