One of the most common questions medical students, residents, and recent doctors ask is which tablet should I use while in the hospital? Which is the BEST tablet for the hospital? There are lot of tablets out there but we’ll review three of them we think would be crucial for the hospital.
The Apple iPad Mini
When the original iPad came out, many medical students and residents thought they could carry it around the hospital, using it to reference textbooks, imaging, reference apps, and much more. However, many people realized that the original iPad was just too big! Too big to carry around all day and too big to put into a white coat pocket. And the option of leaving it somewhere in the hospital and hoping to come back to it is just unrealistic (yes, patients or visitors will steal your electronics, especially an iPad). So, when the Apple iPad Mini came out, medical students and residents were in luck! It’s dimensions (7.87inch tall x 5.3inch wide x 0.28inch thick) is so ideal that it’ll fit into almost any white coat pocket. It’s also light enough (0.68 pounds) that it will not make one side of your white coat slide all the way down as it’ll most likely get balanced by your other pocket. One drawback that many people will remark on is the lack of “retina display” in this particular model. However, weighing this lacking feature versus the benefits of the iPad Mini, the benefits significantly outweigh the lacking of retina display. It’s 7.9inch screen is ideal for reading textbooks or looking up images and its storage space (16GB and greater), built in 802.11n WiFi, A6X processor, HD Camera and much more just icing to the cake. Once you move past the great size and specs, you have everything Apple has already done: a plethora of apps (some of which we’ve highlighted here for med students), simplicity of usage, and seamless integration with all of your other Apple products. Most medical students, residents and doctors we surveyed either used or wanted the Apple iPad Mini as their first choice of a tablet for use while at the hospital. At $329US for the WiFi 16GB model it may cost a little more than most other tablets we reviewed but it certainly is worth the cost.
The Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD is Amazon’s updated version of the Kindle Fire they previously released. The Kindle Fire HD offers a slightly better screen (in terms of pixels) than the iPad Mini (1280 x 800 versus the iPad Mini’s 1024 x 768) however the screen size is smaller at 7inches. It’s dimensions are 7.6inch tall x 5.4inch wide x 0.4inch thick. Amazon also offer integration of Amazon Prime content (streaming of movies and tv shows although Amazon released a Prime App for the iPhone and iPad). Beyond that, the features are quite similar: both offer WiFi, front facing HD camera, dual core processor, and storage space. However, a major difference is the difference in number and quality of apps between Apple and the Kindle Fire HD. While you can install Android apps on the Kindle Fire series of tablets, you don’t get the seamless integration experience (compared to an Apple product which for novice users can be problematic) and you don’t get the huge selection (although the Android App Store is quite large). The Amazon Kindle Fire HD, in terms of usage, is not as smooth as the Apple iPad Mini – swiping and transitions are not as smooth as compared to the iPad Mini. A major sticking point is price: the Kindle Fire HD is $199US which is significantly less than the same size model by Apple. If price is an important determining factor, the Kindle Fire HD may be your go to tablet.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is Samsung’s second try at making a 7inch tablet. And unfortunately, it did not fair well in our tests. Although it has some decent specs such as being very light (only 12 ounces), running Android 4.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and a microSD expansion slot and other basic features (WiFi, front facing and rear facing cameras, etc.) its screen isn’t as vibrant or as pixel dense (1024 x 600) as compared to the iPad Mini or Kindle Fire HD. It also has only 8GB of internal storage (although this can be expanded with the microSD slot) while other tablets have at least 16GB standard. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 wasn’t smooth at all when using it and we felt a lag switching between apps and within apps. This was our least favorite tablet to use during our time in the hospital. At $199.99US, it’s nearly the same in price as the Kindle Fire HD but not anywhere near it’s build quality and usefulness. If you were choosing tablets based on price, go with the Kindle Fire HD.
The Best Tablet For The Hospital…in conclusion
We hope that this article has helped you find a tablet for the hospital. We know it can be difficult to figure out which tablet would truly be useful and would prove it’s value during rounds, night floats, and other times at the hospital and we hope that this article has helped you figure it out! Good Luck!