IFA 2014: Samsung's rugged Galaxy Tab Active comes out swinging

IFA 2014: Samsung's rugged Galaxy Tab Active comes out swingingGiven the level of competition in the tablet market in general, it's surprising to see so few options for business users looking for something a little more rugged.

Panasonic's pricey ToughPad range is one option, and now here's another, more mainstream alternative: Samsung's new Galaxy Tab Active, announced this week at IFA 2014 in Berlin.

Like the Galaxy S5 Active smartphone, the tablet equivalent falls short of the full hard-man treatment, but has been beefed up in a few key areas to make it better suited to tougher environments.

The ruggedised exterior has IP67-rated protection against dust and water, and will survive being dropped from a height of up to 1.2m.

However, while the Galaxy S5 Active doesn't require much compromise on the spec sheet to achieve its ruggedness, the tablet equivalent is a little more downmarket.

The display is an 8in TFT with a resolution of 1280 x 800 – that's a pixel density of just 188ppi. The 1.2GHz quad-core processor is partnered by 1.5GB of RAM, and you get 16GB of storage, which you can add to by up to 64GB on microSD card.

On the camera front, Samsung has kitted out its rugged slate with a 3.1MP/1.2MP combo. That's far from high-end stuff, but then who is going to use a ruggedised tablet as their primary mobile camera?

Android 4.4 KitKat takes care of OS duties, and Samsung has boosted the usability by slotting in a C-Pen stylus for drawing or editing documents while using gloves. Sammy's KNOX mobile security service is also on board, which should appeal to the business users the Galaxy Tab Active is aimed at.

Battery power is an important consideration given the Galaxy Tab Active's likely deployment away from power points, and Samsung says the 4450mAh cell is good for 8 to 10 hours of use between charges. It's removable too, so you can carry a spare cell or two around with you as backup.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Active is impressively svelte and sleek for a ruggedised product, but it remains to be seen whether it's actually tough enough to carve a niche for itself among business users working in tough physical environments, while its limited specs don't exactly get the pulse racing.

It's set to come in both Wi-Fi-only and 4G LTE-enabled guises, though we have neither price nor release date information at this stage.

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