The tablet is officially the next big thing. Every brand has one and they’re becoming increasingly more popular among the general public. There are several reasons why more and more truckers are opting to take a tablet on the road with them in lieu of a full size laptop — convenience, portability, and accessibility…the list goes on.
Perhaps the most obvious reason — a tablet is a heck of a lot easier to store on a box on wheels. When you have such limited space, size is everything. That’s why many drivers are choosing to can the laptops and take a small tablet on the road with them instead. The small size of tablets makes them extremely portable — drivers can take them into the truck stop diner or lounge to kill some time, and they offer most of the same benefits and features that full size laptops do.
The Best Tablet for Truckers
We asked our Healthy Trucker Facebook fans what tablets they would recommend for life on the road. As you can imagine, the suggestions were mixed between several different ones. I’m not going to dive too deep into the nitty gritty of each tablet, but here’s a basic overview of some of the most popular tablets if you’re in the market for one.
Unsurprisingly, we found that the iPad was the most common tablet among truckers. A 16GB, 9.7″ iPad is available for $499 or $629 if you purchase it with a cellular data plan. A 16GB iPad mini has a 7.9″ display and is available for $329 or $459 with a data plan. Complete with FaceTime, thousands of apps, 10-hour battery life, and more, the iPad is an all-encompassing tablet that is great for truck drivers if you’re willing to shell out the money. Check out our Apple iPad review here.
Kindle Fire HD
An 8.9″, 16GB Kindle Fire HD runs for $269 on Amazon, or you can upgrade to a 32GB for $299. Kindle provides a forward facing camera for video chatting, WiFi internet connection, over 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, and books, and has its own app store. I own the Kindle myself, and I have to say it does everything the iPad and a laptop does for considerably less money. The one gripe I have about it — not as many apps as on the Apple store. Check out our Kindle Fire HD review here.
Samsung Galaxy 2
Samsung’s 7″ Galaxy Tab is available on Amazon for $179. It comes with 8GB of memory and allows for microSD expansion of up to 32GB. The default tablet runs on WiFi, but a 4G LTE model is available for $280. It features a Media Hub where you can find over 1,000 videos as well as music and games.
The 7″, 32GB Nexus 7 is available for $249. The Nexus runs Android Jelly Bean and uses WiFi internet connection. Again, you have your run of the mill video, book, music, and TV show options.
As you can see, all four tablets do just about the same things. It all hinges on your price point and operating system preferences and what you’ll be using the tablet for most.
Uses for a Tablet
I’d say the biggest reason a truck driver might want a tablet is for staying in touch with friends and family back home. The Wifi access available on tablets allows you to connect with people via Facebook, Twitter, or any other preferred social media sites. Most tablets come equipped with a webcam on the front also, allowing you to video chat with your best buddies at home.
There’s also lots of recreational uses for a tablet. For example, when you’re waiting for a load assignment or maybe just on some downtime at the end of the day, you can watch movies, TV, play games, browse the Interwebz, and read books, all in one device. You can also find apps on virtually every device that are made specially for truck drivers.
It seems many truck drivers are opting for these smaller alternatives to laptops, and for due cause. It’s hard to deny that they’re super convenient for the on-the-go lifestyle of truck drivers.