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.

The Importance of Vehicle Mounting Solutions for Laptops and Tablets

Every year over 130,000 people are hurt by flying objects inside vehicles, not just during an accident but during sudden stops, turns and unexpected maneuvers.

Why would you want to use a vehicle mount for your computer? The answer is simple – you cannot afford not to! A vehicle mount is a must have if you are driving with your computer in the vehicle, and the selection of vehicle mounting systems Group Mobile carries makes it easy to choose the correct mounting solution for your specific needs.

Safety is one of the top reasons to use a computer vehicle mount. Every year over 130,000 people are hurt by flying objects inside vehicles, not just during an accident but during sudden stops, turns and unexpected maneuvers. Your computer, or your employee’s computer, becomes a very dangerous object at unexpected times. The computer itself can be damaged, causing down time and potentially costly repairs.

Group Mobile offers a wide selection of mounting options to choose from. We carry the top brands, including Gamber JohnsonRAM, and Havis. There are also computer specific cradles and docking stations available for many computer brands and models. These cradles and docking stations offer custom fit for your computer as well as port replication with some offering antenna pass-through to increase wireless reception. Whether mounting your computer in your car, truck, van or boat, we have the mounting system you need.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of vehicle mounts for every possible make, model, and mobile computing device. Finding a durable and reliable vehicle mount is essential for the longevity and efficiency of your mobile office, so take your time finding the perfect mount for your needs. If you have any questions about the mounts discussed here or any other type of vehicle mount, or would like assistance in selecting the proper vehicle mount for your purposes, please feel free to contact one of our mobile installation experts at Group Mobile. We pride ourselves on providing trusted technology advice for all mobile workers.

5 Must-Have Rugged Computing Accessories You Need For Optimum Productivity!

Evaluate your job requirements to determine which rugged mobile accessories can streamline your productivity making you a better, more efficient employee.

With so many rugged accessories to choose from today, how do you evaluate the must-have accessories you need for optimum productivity? So, you’ve selected the rugged device that will work best for you: a tablet, handheld or laptop that’s tough enough to handle everything you do across the course of your daily job responsibilities. Or, maybe your IT department has chosen the rugged computer for you and your department and you’re not exactly sure how to make it work as a valuable tool for you. The next step is selecting the mobile accessories to accompany your rugged computing device: the additional tools that will make it possible for you to handle your daily job tasks as easily on the road or in the field as you do in the safety and comfort of a traditional office.

So, first evaluate your job requirements and begin to ask yourself the following questions: Do I need to use my rugged tablet or laptop in a company or personal vehicle? Do I need the ability to print or scan documents while on the road or in the field? Will I be charging my rugged computer in my vehicle?  Do I need the ability to dock my tablet or laptop inside my office for use at my desk? Do I need connectivity over commercial, municipal or public safety wireless networks using either a built-in or plug-in data card or mobile router? Do I need a shoulder strap to easily carry my tablet or laptop in the field? Will I be using my rugged laptop or tablet on a forklift therefore requiring a forklift computer mount? Will I be operating my rugged device for long hours which will require a spare battery for my device? Do I need a bar code scanner to read labels from just a few inches to 40-feet away? Do I need a rugged keyboard to easily attach and remove from the unit and often fold for easy transport? These are only a few of the vital questions to consider when evaluating your work environment and what must-have rugged computing accessories you need for optimum productivity.

There are plenty of accessories to choose from, but these five must-have rugged computing accessories will help make your daily tasks easier and ensure your rugged device keeps up with all of your needs to increase productivity and efficiency at work, now who doesn’t want that?

  1. Rugged Printers and Scanners

How many times have you been out on a job site, only to discover that you needed to share information with someone in paper form? From printing out critical instructions for a patient in need of detailed care to printing an invoice or receipt on the go, you can’t always rely on digital formats. Public safety and field service workers heavily rely on the availability of rugged mobile vehicle printers. Mobile rugged printers are easy to operate and maintain in the field, offering full-page printing with high resolution text, graphics and images. Another added benefit to mobile rugged printers is how easily adaptable they are to almost any vehicle in your fleet. Rugged printers are just as tough as your rugged tablet or laptop and can be easily attached to your device for precise, professional and simple mobile printing.

Many people working in realty, home healthcare, insurance appraisal, police, legal, and construction to name a few will highly benefit from a rugged vehicle scanner. Do you really need a rugged scanner? It depends on what your job entails! If you regularly handle a great deal of paperwork while you’re on the road or find yourself needing to get clients’ signatures in the system quickly, a rugged scanner can help provide the speed you and your clients need to keep your day running smoothly.

  1. Rugged Keyboards

Rugged keyboards are ergonomic and can be an invaluable tool for workers in the field. Many rugged keyboards are completely sealed form the elements and designed with LED backlit keys for use in dark environments or inside vehicles at night. Rugged keyboards are used by police, medical professionals including travel nurses, oil and gas, mining and energy, EMS and fire and fleet management. Rugged keyboards designed specifically for your business will provide real return on investment and exceptional value.

  1. Vehicle Mounts

Some people are perfectly content to store their rugged devices in a bag or case, pulling it out whenever they need it. In other cases, however, you may find yourself wanting to install your rugged device within your vehicle. Vehicle mounts are the perfect mobile solution: they hold your device where you need it, making sure that it’s always at hand. Vehicle mounting solutions offer a flexible form factor that delivers strength and durability to protect your technology investment. Worried about drilling in your vehicle? Consider the No-Drill vehicle mounting solution — installation is simple with the use of your existing passenger side seat leg bolts. Several adjustment points throughout the mount enable you to position your laptop in the most ergonomic and comfortable position possible.

  1. Power Accessories

You don’t always have the luxury of heading back to the office to plug in your device as the battery starts to run low. When that flashing power indicator shows up, you want to have options! Some rugged devices offer hot swappable batteries allowing you to swap out the battery while your device is still running. In other cases, a vehicle charger will be enough. Wherever your day takes you, make sure you have plenty of battery power to keep pushing through your work day.

  1. Gateways and Modems

Do you need internet connectivity no matter where you are? If being able to bring in data is a critical part of your daily job, you need to be sure that you’ll get wireless access no matter where your day takes you. Gateways and modems will provide the wireless signal your device needs to ensure that you have access no matter how far from the office, or how far off the beaten path you might be on a given day. Carry the internet with you wherever you go and enjoy the assurance that data is just the press of a button away. Many companies rely on mobile workers that need access to the same tools available at the office.  These tools need to be accessible anytime, anywhere – even for workers in vehicles, on the move and at remote work sites. Organizations can more efficiently manage operations by knowing the location and status of their mobile assets.

Once you’ve selected your rugged device, make sure that you have the accessories that will accompany it to make your work day run smoother and more productive. Our team of mobile solution experts can evaluate your business and streamline a solution to increase productivity and efficiency of your workers — a common goal we all have in mind. Contact a Group Mobile sales professional to get started.

Vehicle Mounting Solutions for Mobile Workers!

Vehicle mounts enable you to customize your fit and ergonomics to ensure you have the laptop or tablet in your vehicle when and where you need it.

For many public safety workers, their vehicle is their second home. And since we all live in the 21st century, reliable access to electronic communication devices is a must – not just to complete job requirements, but also to ensure continuous communication with coworkers and others, often for safety purposes. Whatever your communication device may be, having a reliable vehicle mounting solution is essential. Having a computer, cell phone, tablet or other device fall while driving or working and be inaccessible is not only inconvenient, but can significantly impact your workplace safety and efficiency. Here we’ll discuss some of the most popular vehicle mounting options for many public safety workers.

Gamber-Johnson Mounts 7160-0327_g1_thin

Consider installing a Gamber-Johnson mobile workstation in your vehicle. The right computer stand for mobile workers is one that securely mounts to the vehicle, provides flexibility for both passenger and driver to access the computer, and allows for the computer to be removed, if needed, to take on the job. A laptop mount for mobile workers should also be custom-built for the type and size of computer it will hold, to ensure a solid fit. Gamber-Johnson makes vehicle mounts for just about every vehicle on the market. If you’re a mobile professional and you frequently find yourself on your computer while in the driver’s seat, a vehicle mount, which includes a universal laptop tray, is a good option for holding your device inside your vehicle. Another great benefit to mounting your laptop in your vehicle is that you get a stronger GPS signal when integrating a GPS antenna. Gamber-Johnson offers a large assortment of mounting hardware, and accessories.

Havis Mountsc-hdm-176

Havis also supplies a huge range of mount options. Havis offers docking stations and cradles for specific electronics and car models, but they also have a unique offering of universal mounts:

  • Universal laptop mount. This mount can be used to access any laptop with a width of 11.5″ to 14.1″ and a thickness of 0.7″ to 1.2″. For departments with a variety of computer types, this would be a prudent purchase.
  • Universal tablet mount. Similar to the laptop mount, this universal tablet mount can accommodate any tablet with a width of 9.3″ to 11.2″ and a thickness of 0.6″ to 0.9″.

RAM Mountsram-vb-189-sw11

RAM offers the most extensive selection of vehicle-specific mounting solutions in the industry. These bases are engineered to conform to your vehicle interior and are constructed from high-quality steel. Installation is simple with the use of your existing passenger side seat leg bolts. Several adjustment points throughout the mount enable you to position your laptop in the most ergonomic and comfortable position possible. Some of those mounts include:

  • No Drill Mounts. There are many options for seamless integration of a vehicle mount into the RAM, using the passenger side seat rails. One example is the laptop mount for the Dodge RAM 1500 and 2500/3500, which offers telescoping features and dual swing arms.
  • Ergonomic Mounts. In addition to being no-drill, many mounts offer ergonomic features to ensure comfortable typing and laptop viewing from a car seat. One example is this Dodge Ram Mounting Kit, which is a laptop mount with a multi-adjustable swing arm.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of vehicle mounts for every possible make, model, and mobile computing device. Finding a durable and reliable vehicle mount is essential for the longevity and efficiency of your mobile office, so take your time finding the perfect mount for your needs. If you have any questions about the mounts discussed here or any other type of vehicle mount, or would like assistance in selecting the proper vehicle mount for your purposes, please feel free to contact us. We pride ourselves on providing trusted technology advice for all mobile workers.

Rugged Mobile Computing Accessories Offered at Group Mobile!

Group Mobile offers a variety of rugged mobile computing accessories including printers, scanners, computer mounts, and tablet stands to help improve worker productivity and efficiency on the go!


In-Vehicle Computer Mounts

Group Mobile offers a wide selection of in-vehicle computer mounting options. We carry the top brands, including Gamber-JohnsonRAM Mounts, and Havis. There are also computer-specific cradles and docking stations available for many rugged computer brands and models. These cradles and docking stations offer custom fit for your computer as well as port replication, with some offering antenna pass-through to increase wireless reception. 

Whether mounting your computer in your car, truck, van, or boat, Group Mobile has the mounting system you need. Visit the Group Mobile Vehicle Mount Store to find a mount to fit your vehicle, or fill out the Vehicle Computer Mount Questionnaire and one of our vehicle mount specialist will help you select a vehicle mounting system to fit you exact requirements.

Rugged Mobile Printers and Scanners

Mobile printers and scanners are great rugged mobile computing accessories. They are extremely portable and can be mounted in a vehicles or carried in a small bag. 


One of Group Mobile’s most popular printer is the Brother PocketJet 6 Portable Printer which is designed to be lightweight, durable, and flexible. With print speeds up to 6ppm, fast throughput, and high quality prints, you’ll always be prepared to print on the go. It is compatible with most PCs, laptops or palmtops running the Windows operating system. At barely over 10″ long and 1lb. in weight, the PocketJet 6 fits easily into your briefcase, computer bag, or can be quickly mounted in any vehicle or small work area. Learn more about the Brother PocketJet 6…

Group Mobile carries several different brands and models of printers and scanners. To view our entire selection and learn more about the rugged mobile printers and scanners Group Mobile offers, visit www.groupmobile.com/dept.asp/dept_id=49

Tablet Stands and Accessories
Save $10 on the fliTablet Hands-Free Tablet Floor Stand!*

Group Mobile is offering a $10 discount on each fliTablet you order so stock up today! Simply mention this blog oenter promo code flitablet10 when you place an order on our website. Discount will be taken when order is processed. To order, visit www.fliTablet.com. Offer ends July 30, 2014. 

The fliTablet™ hands-free tablet floor stand securely holds the most popular, lightweight tablet computers, including the original iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, Kindle Fire, Nook, Galaxy, Nexus, and many other lightweight tablet computers.  The heavy base on the fliTablet ensures stability. The adjustable tablet holder secures your computer in place without scratching or damaging it. The fliTablet stand allows you to tilt and swivel your tablet, as well rotate it a full 360° to view your tablet in both portrait and landscape modes. The fliTablet floor stand is lightweight and easily portable. You can use the fliTablet while working at your desk, lounging on your sofa, or lying in bed. It also makes an incredible music stand!

*Offer ends August 31, 2014. 

To shop for accessories for your Applie iPhone and iPad products, as well as other commercial tablet accessories, visit www.groupmobile.com/dept.asp/dept_id=443.

Havis Docking Station for the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

Havis Toughbook Certified Cradle for Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 (No Dock)Group Mobile has recently enhanced the Havis Vehicle Mount Solutions we offer by adding the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 docking station! The Havis Docking Station for the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 is compatible with every model of the Windows based 10” tablet, with and without the optional handstrap. The DS-PAN-700 Series Docking Station offers tablet charging, security, and connection to peripherals in medical, enterprise, and in-vehicle workplaces.

To help customers complete their docking and mounting solution, the Docking Station for the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 is compatible with many available mounts, as its mounting base fits the universal VESA 75mm hole pattern.

Visit http://www.groupmobile.com/dept.asp/dept_id=458 to check out the Havis Docking Station for the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1. 

Bundle and Save with the Vehicle Printing Solution from Group Mobile!


Group Mobile is offering exclusive bundle pricing on the Vehicle Printing Solution, featuring the popular Brother PocketJet 6 Portable Printer and RAM Vehicle Printer SystemThis is an ideal solution for field service and other mobile professionals who need to print reports, forms, contracts, and other important documents while they are away from the office. 

The Brother PocketJet 6 Portable Printer featured in this bundle is compact and weighs only 1.3 lb. (including its NiMH battery). The printer provides laser-quality text and business-quality photos. Documents and graphics print at speeds of up to six pages per minute. Due to the thermal printing solution the Brother PocketJet 6 features very low maintenance costs due to no ink or ribbons to replace.   

The RAM Vehicle Printer System is designed to hold the Brother PocketJet 6 series portable printer. The cradle uses a unique patent-pending, spring-loaded mechanism that holds strong to your RAM vehicle laptop mount, yet provides easy removal for printer storage. Learn more about the Vehicle Printing Solution.