Rugged Laptop or Rugged Tablet — How to Decide on the Right Mobile Computer for Law Enforcement

Whether you decide to implement a tablet or laptop solution into your department is completely dependent on the necessary requirements to create a real-time situational awareness crime center for every officer.

We all know how unpredictable and fast-moving law enforcement can be. We can all recall the days when officers carried handhelds the size of a brick, cell phones were an expensive status symbol, no inter-connectivity to personnel was available, and long trips back to the station to input the day’s data entry was a tedious and dreaded task. Who could have predicted the law enforcement workflow of the future — reliable and continual communication, instant access to critical records, GPS guidance, e-citations, fingerprint authentication readers, smartcard and magnetic card readers, body-worn cameras, in-vehicle printing, on-scene incident reporting, barcode and RFID readers, automatic license plate readers, and law enforcement oriented apps and software — these advancements have made it possible for officers to have a real-time crime center. Whether you decide to implement a tablet or laptop solution into your department is completely dependent on the necessary requirements to create a real-time situational awareness crime center for every officer.

Within the past five years’ tablets have become an evolving form factor, some pledging the case for tablets becoming the mobile computing tool of the future for law enforcement, gaining momentum into the market so strongly laptops are being thrown into the abyss of the past. However, opinions differ on whether a tablet can outperform the old tried and trusted mobile workstations via a laptop or notebook, as both have their individual advantages. Keep reading on to discover the advantages of both mobile solutions — tablets and laptops for law enforcement.

The Pros of Rugged Tablet Solutions

Why should you choose a rugged tablet solution for your department? The choice between equipping your workforce with laptops or tablets is dependent upon whether officers are in a patrol car, at a desk, on foot, or in the office. Do officers want to take the device outside of the vehicle? Tablets are a highly effective tool for police motorcycles which can be mounted on handle bars or in the saddle bag, as well as patrol cars, SWAT teams and investigators. Detectives can use rugged tablets to take on-scene film footage and images without requiring expensive digital cameras to capture evidence.

Tablets are light weight and small enough for handheld use and take up minimal space inside police vehicles. Specialized uses for tablets include signature captures, barcode scanning for ID verification and VIN number scanning, field interview creation, evidence photography, plus the ability to exit a vehicle while filming real-time video of emergency situations to properly assess the requested resources for dispatch. Officers can take a tablet from the vehicle to the street and back to the office to be docked and used as a desktop PC — this seamless transition is the definition of true mobile computing. In the past, display real estate has been an issue with officers using tablets for their main computing solution but today tablet screen size has become comparable to the laptop or notebook and even offer digitized screens for glove-touch and sunlight viewability. What about data entry? Many rugged tablets have backlit companion keyboards that seamlessly snap-on or bolt-on for quick typing ability. Rugged tablets are a practical solution offering complete mobility allowing for routine work to be more streamlined in the field, an imperative element in creating intelligent, real-time crime centers.

 The Pros of Rugged Laptop Solutions

Not every rugged laptop is created equal and this is especially true when deciding which laptop solution to implement into your department. Many rugged laptops are purpose built for public safety and offer touchscreens for tapping and zooming, stylus pens for signatures and on-screen entry, a thin and light design, and ergonomic features such as swivel screens to be viewed by individuals both on the driver and passenger sides of the car.

What about removing the device from the vehicle? Many officers never remove their device from the police vehicle and when given the choice, would rather not. When a mobile device is removed from the vehicle such as a rugged tablet the chance of the device being broken, driven over, stolen or misplaced is highly likely. When this happens, the device must be replaced which can be very costly over time. An important aspect of a law enforcement laptop or notebook is the proper vehicle mounting solution. The last thing an officer needs is a large bulky computer impeding the process and increasing risk. Vehicle docking stations and consoles keep rugged laptops charged and ready to go while providing shock absorption and stability. Rugged laptops will continue to evolve aiming to make jobs more efficient and productive — we see this today in the adoption of the two-in-one hybrid notebook which can be used as a laptop or tablet. For those who need the stability of a laptop, yet the light weight flexible form factor of a tablet, a two-in-one device may be the right solution for your department.

When the time comes to implement new and advanced technology whether it be a tablet, laptop or a two-in-one device, police computers must be durable, high performing, easy to use with custom features and options, along with a realistic price point — an equation for value and return on investment.

The mobile solutions experts at Group Mobile work with police departments nationwide and can assist you in determining the best equipment for your application and budget.

Panasonic Toughbook 33, a Lightweight Detachable Notebook — Designed for Tough Work in the Field!

The Toughbook 33 laptop provides six flexible usage modes and offers two keyboards to choose from to accommodate the unique needs of different mobile professionals.

The Panasonic Toughbook 33, the fully-rugged 2-in-1 detachable laptop featuring a brilliant display, ideal for workers in the field. Inspired by workers in tough environments, the Toughbook 33 2-in-1 detachable laptop delivers rugged mobility with an abundance of customizable options for police, fire, ambulance, field service, and enterprise.  The Toughbook 33 is a lightweight detachable notebook with an extensive variety of integrated options, as well as a choice of two keyboards. The Panasonic Toughbook 33 can be tailored to meet the unique requirements of a diverse customer base. The CF-33 includes a USB 3.0, microSD, HDMI, Ethernet, audio and nano-SIM ports, the tablet also has an optional serial socket, allowing operators to connect older devices like stop lights to run diagnostics or configuration programs.

The fully-rugged Toughbook 33 features a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, 256GB solid state drive, 8GB RAM and a choice of Windows 10 Pro or Windows® 10 Pro with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit downgrade. The Toughbook 33 is purpose-built to meet MIL-STD-461F for electromagnetic interference and MIL-STD-810G for drop, shock, vibration, explosive atmosphere, temperature, humidity, and rain and sand. The Toughbook 33 has an IP-sealing rating of IP65 to protect against dust and liquids.

The Toughbook 33 2-in-1 laptop is built for maximum mobility with two twin hot-swappable batteries that provide 10 hours of life. In addition, the optional Long-Life Battery configuration doubles battery life to 20 hours for the most demanding mobile professionals. The Toughbook 33 laptop provides six flexible usage modes and offers two keyboards to choose from to accommodate the unique needs of different mobile professionals.

As for vehicle installations, the Toughbook 33 two-in-one device is available with two different vehicle docks for new deployments. The first is a tablet vehicle dock. The second is a 2-in-1 vehicle dock which utilizes the Premium Keyboard and can be mounted either in laptop (clamshell) or convertible mode.

Contact one of Group Mobile’s trusted technology advisors to get a personalized quote today.


Save 10% on the Popular and Newly Updated Durabook SA14 Rugged Notebook Computer — Only For the Month of December!

Group Mobile is offering a special 10% savings on the new Durabook SA14 rugged notebook. This offer is valid through December 31, 2016, and can be availed by using the promotional code SA1410 during checkout at 

The recently updated Durabook SA14 rugged notebook delivers a built-tough rugged design for even the most demanding work environments, delivering increased productivity and accelerated return on investment for public safety, government, and field service professionals.

The Durabook SA14 rugged laptop computer offers users their choice of Intel’s 6th generation Skylake turbo processor, suitable for any mobile application requiring efficiency and reliability. Pushing the graphics and visual experience to new heights, the Durabook SA14 rugged laptop is equipped with a 14.0” HD LCD display and a new HD Graphics 520 package designed specifically for Intel Skylake processors giving the SA14 rugged notebook enhanced visual computing, faster frame times, lower energy usage, and superior image quality. 

The Durabook SA14 now ships with Windows 10 operating system, optional 2nd LAN, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, and an optional GPS module with built-in antenna. The Durabook SA14 rugged laptop can sustain up to 12 hours, fulfilling field service professionals need for longer battery life.

The SA14 rugged computer will operate in environments that commercial notebooks cannot survive plus, is purpose-built with advanced layers of security including Computrace ready, Smartcard reader, TPM2.0, and Kensington lock. A broad range of accessories include an optional office and vehicle dock, allowing mobile workers a seamless transition from office to vehicle.

Learn more and order the Durabook SA14 rugged notebook here…

Featuring the Durabook S15AB Rugged Notebook: Fast, Dependable and Cost-Effective!

Group Mobile features this tough, dependable and cost-effective rugged S15AB notebook for industries such as mobile workers, governments, and automotive industry users.  

Durabook S15AB

The Durabook S15AB is designed to meet the needs of the mobile professional in need of a rugged notebook that can stand up to extreme conditions. The rugged Durabook S15AB has a 15.6-inch LCD with full HD resolution, Intel 5th Generation i-Core processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM and low 15W power consumption, which means up to 8.5 hours of battery life, vivid graphics, and faster video conversions. The S15AB offers the power, performance, and reliability required in today’s mobile environment.

The chassis of the S15AB notebook is made from magnesium alloy and is 20 times stronger than a plastic case. With that rugged chassis, the machine meets MIL-STD 810G for vibration resistance. Keyboard, keypad, buttons, and indicators on the machine are also spill resistant making it a perfect solution for the mobile professional. A variety of ports are included in this rugged notebook including two USB 2.0 and 3.0 connectors, an RJ-45 jack for internal Ethernet,  HDMI port, a D-sub 9 pin RS-232 serial port, and a VGA port, plus each one of these many ports are protected by dust covers.

The Durabook S15AB comes standard with a 2MP webcam plus a SuperMulti DVD drive. The S15AB is packed with a variety of security systems including: TPM 2.0 module data protection, a Kensington lock connector, and administrator and boot password control. It is also Computrace ready in case the unit is ever stolen. Learn more about the Durabook S15AB here…
Many accessories are available for the Durabook S15AB including docking and mounting solutions, batteries, power adapters, external storage devices, mobile printers and scanners, carrying cases, and more. Learn more and purchase accessories for the S15AB here…

Introducing the New Toughbook 54 Semi-Rugged Notebook from Panasonic!

Toughbook 54 Semi-Rugged Laptop from Panasonic – NEW!
The world’s lightest and thinnest semi-rugged laptop in its class!

The new Toughbook 54 semi-rugged notebook from Panasonic boasts a 5th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro™ processor, 11 hours of battery life — 18 hours with an optional hot-swappable second battery — and a wide range of integrated options. It is a reliable and versatile tool for mobile workers in demanding markets such as video production, insurance, utilities, construction, field service, public safety, and government.

The Toughbook 54 is a semi-rugged notebook. The semi-rugged classification refers to the fact that the Panasonic Toughbook 54 is not sealed against the outdoor elements. It meets military standard MIL-STD-810G for altitude, humidity, and dust. It can also handle being dropped on 26 faces from 3 feet. It has a spill-resistant keyboard and a built-in handle. 

The Toughbook 54’s shock-mounted flex-connect hard disk drive with quick release can handle bumps and vibrations to keep your important data safe. An optional hard drive heater is available for working in cooler environments. Optional solid state drives are also available for even more protection from accidental drops.

The 14-inch display has a 1,366 x 768 resolution (720p). An optional sunlight viewable 10-point capacitive Gloved Multi Touch model with stylus is available for greater flexibility and outdoor use.

Embedded wireless connectivity on the Toughbook 54 rugged laptop includes Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.0 + EDR (Class 1), and optional 4G LTE multi-carrier wireless broadband with satellite GPS. Dedicated GPS (u-blox) and antenna pass through are also available as an option. 

For professionals who need power in addition to rugged portability, the Toughbook 54 semi-rugged laptop is available with discrete graphics, dual drives, up to 16GB of memory, and a 1080p full HD display and webcam. Four models are available to meet customer demand — Lite, Prime, Gloved Multi Touch, and Performance — with each one designed to assure a high long-term return on investment for a diverse range of businesses and government agencies. Learn more about the Panasonic Toughbook 54 Semi-Rugged Notebook…

Enjoy Memorial Day Deals on the Getac S400 and Trimble Nomad 900L!

While supplies last, Group Mobile is offering special savings on two of our most popular rugged computers — the Getac S400 notebook and the Trimble Nomad 900L handheld! These computers are in stock and ready to ship!

Getac S400

Upgraded with Gobi! Save 10% off SRP!*

This Getac S400 rugged computer is loaded with upgrades, including an i5-3320 2.6GHz processor, 800 NIT multi-touch display, backlit keyboard, Windows 7 64-bit, 3G Gobi™ Mobile Broadband, and a low-temperature (-20 °C) battery. The Getac S400 also comes with 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 500GB shock mounted hard disk drive standard. The Getac S400 has advanced security features including a built-in TPM 1.2 module, fingerprint scanner, and a SmartCard reader to provide three additional layers of security and protection for your valuable data. With its rugged design and powerful tools, the S400 semi-rugged notebook is built to handle any task that comes your way

To learn more and order a Getac S400, visit
*Offer good while supplies last

Nomad 900L

Save $500 off SRP!*

The Trimble Nomad 900packs functionality into one of the most powerful and full-featured rugged handhelds available. The Nomad 900L features an ultra-fast 806MHz processor; 128MB RAM; 1GB of Flash storage; GPS, Wi-Fi, and CompactFlash (Type II) Slot; long-life, hot-swappable battery that can work all day without being recharged; and built-in Bluetooth® to establish cable-free connections to other Bluetooth devices that are within 10 meters. The rugged Trimble Nomad 900L handheld has a high-resolution, sunlight-visible VGA touchscreen display that presents graphics and maps in vivid detail. It also comes with a Secure Digital (SD/SDHC) slot.

NOTE: This model features a PDA keypad.

To learn more and order a Nomad 900L, visit

*Offer good while supplies last

To shop for other special offers and closeout models, visit or call 1-866-RUGGED8 (1-866-784-4338).

Happy New Year from Group Mobile! Check Out Our Year-End Deals!

Check out these great year-end deals Group Mobile is offering on the Getac B300 and Trimble Ranger 3 rugged computers!

Getac B300

Save $1,000 off MSRP while supplies lasts!

Group Mobile is currently offering closeout pricing on 4th Generation B300 models! This computer is loaded with upgrades, including an Intel Core i7-3520M processor, 1400NITs QuadraClear™ sunlight readable LED display with touchscreen, SuperMulti DVD drive, and integrated GPS!

The Getac B300 fully rugged notebook computer is both MIL-STD-810G and IP65 compliant, boasting a Magnesium Alloy design, shock-mounted hard disk drive, vibration and shock resistance, and sealed I/O caps and doors to prevent damage from solid particles and moisture.  

In addition to all the upgrades in this configuration, this laptop also includes many impressive features such as and 4GB RAM for amazing speed and efficiency, a 500GB hard disk drive to store plenty of data, Bluetooth® and 802.11 Wi-Fi for connectivity, a backlit keyboard for working in dark environments, and a 5-year bumper-to-bumper warranty!  

The Getac B300 also has advanced security features to safeguard important data, such as a fingerprint scanner, TPM V1.2, and a cable lock slot. With an extensive list of security, power and connectivity options, as well as 15-hour battery life, the Getac B300 rugged notebook is designed for a productive, worry-free mobile computing experience. Learn more and order your B300 rugged laptop today…

Trimble Ranger 3
Save $750 off MSRP and get a FREE Carrying Case with your order until Jan. 3, 2014!

The Trimble Ranger 3 has the mobile computing tools field service workers depend on. Standard features include: an ultra-fast 800MHz processor, 256MB RAM, and 8GB of Flash storage for amazing speed and performance; a 30-hour long-life, hot-swappable battery that can work all day without being recharged; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity; an integrated SiRFstarIII GPS receiver for mapping and navigation applications; a compass to capture bearing data; and an accelerometer to capture motion data. The Trimble Ranger also features a high-resolution, sunlight-visible VGA touchscreen display that presents graphics and maps in vivid detail.

The optional Trimble Ranger 3 configurations include an include WWAN wireless connectivity, an integrated 1D laser barcode scanner to track your assets, and a 5MP digital camera with flash and geotagging mode to capture color images in the field with their precise locations stored. 

This rugged handheld computer is truly ready for the outdoors! To learn more and take advantage of this special offer on the Ranger 3, visit

FREE Ranger 3 Carrying Case
Place an order before January 3, 2014 and Group Mobile will also include a free Ranger 3 Standard Carrying Case with your order! 

*Offer good through January 3, 2014