Wired Tablet
August 5, 2013 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Need a tablet that can do wired networking and running Windows if this is possible.

Co-worker needs to access security cameras via a ethernet connection (cable) to perform maintenance on them. As he will usually be in the bucket of a bucket truck he wants the device to be as lightweight as possible and wants a tablet. Also has to run a Windows OS.

Told him I wasn't too sure about any kind of USB<>ethernet dongles as I've never had good luck before with any kind of USB<>other interface. First, is it even possible on a tablet without a dock? Second, bonus points if the tablet is a Dell.

I hate that I am having to use this as my question this week
posted by dukes909 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: The Surface Pro is probably the best "tablet PC" being sold right now: it runs the full version of Windows 8, it's one of the thinnest/lightest devices in its class, and you shouldn't have any trouble plugging into ethernet with a USB adapter.
posted by Oktober at 12:09 PM on August 5, 2013

Response by poster: I hate that I have to add this point but they want it to be under $400. ugh
posted by dukes909 at 12:24 PM on August 5, 2013

USB to Ethernet should be possible without a dock. It's just going to mean an adapter, in which case you should order about 4 times whatever you think anyone will need-- it's hard to imagine any application of a bucket truck that won't inevitably result in all the small hardware getting lost or broken.

Alibaba has about 250 hits for "windows tablet with ethernet port," and they look cheap, but they look like they have low prices (See what I did there?). They usually have minimum order numbers, though, so you might need to get some more coworkers and bucket trucks.

Lenovo makes some lightweight laptops can flip the face of the screen around so you have a sort of thick tablet, not entirely unlike kind of tablets that existed before everything had to look like an iPad, and which were probably what the camera-maker had in mind when using them. However, these will not be in your budget.

Can you contact the camera-maker/seller? They might have some idea of what people use.
posted by Sunburnt at 3:27 PM on August 5, 2013

Wikipedia's surprisingly comprehensive list of Windows 8 and RT tablet devices shows only a couple that have built-in wired Ethernet ports. I imagine fitting in the $400 budget will be hard.
posted by zsazsa at 3:33 PM on August 5, 2013

Best answer: they want it to be under $400

Ok, what kind of tablet? Will something like an old lenovo X61t work here, or does it have to be an actual slate-type unit that is not a convertible laptop-to-tablet?

If it has to be a slate, i have never seen one that has an ethernet port(And i wonder why? what happened to those little pop-out jacks that were common on PCMCIA network cards, or the "expanding" jacks some asus netbooks had where the non-contact side of the jack was spring loaded and dropped down as a cable was put in?)

Does it need to be a touch screen, or is a stylus fine? if the answer to a stylus is "yea that's ok" go buy a fujitsu p1630 on ebay for under $200. Hell, get two. Then you have a spare. They're metal, the same size as an ipad mini but thick, have EXCELLENT screens, and built in ethernet. If the answer is no, or that it has to be a non-keyboard type convertible from a laptop tablet get an asus EP121 on ebay for $400ish and a brand name usb ethernet unit from newegg. I've had trouble with brandless junk ones, but i also have a linksys 10/100 that has never ever faltered on me and has lasted ~10 years.

If you want the absolute smallest one and rendering these camera feeds is not a high-cpu task(are they flash? how are you viewing them, is this a dedicated app?) i'd look at an hp slate 500. They're quite cheap.

An alternative option you could actually shove in your pocket would be a sony vaio UX + the little ethernet dongle. I loved my one of those. Then you're not using a USB anything, just a dongle that locks in place and uses an honest to god on the motherboard NIC. They go for about $200-300, and the adapters are $40 or so. If you hunt you can probably find one that includes the dongle, i did. It's not strictly a tablet although it has a touch screen, it's more of a...er... palmtop... thing. It has a trackpoint and a thumb keyboard.

I could probably bullshit up some more small tablet systems that would get this done if you wanted. Personally i'd get another p1630 though. I loved that laptop(I'd still have it if a crazy person didn't stab it through the keyboard with a knife...), and who knows when you're going to need to type? The extended battery also lasts like freaking nine hours. It also has suede patches on the underside and feels wonderful when held in your hand in tablet mode.

You definitely don't want some state of the art windows 8 non-rt table here. They're expensive, and none of them would be within your budget. You're also not going to find a non-convertible in that price range that has an ethernet port.
posted by emptythought at 4:47 PM on August 5, 2013

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