Tablets vs. Mobile Computers: What’s best for Business Central?

The question of choosing “Tablets versus Mobile Computers” is a commonly asked one that directly impacts inventory management efficiency and data processing, especially for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central users. Business Central stands out as the ERP solution of choice for SMBs managing stock rooms or warehouses. Out-of-the-box functionality in Business Central limits the features available when scanning barcodes.

Insight Works bridges this gap by offering a range of apps like Warehouse Insight, the free WMS Express app, and Advanced Inventory Count, enhancing Business Central’s capabilities. The hardware options are plentiful for those looking to integrate mobile devices for barcode scanning. The decision often boils down to choosing between tablets and mobile computers. This article explores when to opt for a tablet or a mobile computer, guiding you to the best decision for your unique business needs.

Tablets versus Mobile Computers

When to Choose Tablets

Tablets, in the debate of tablets versus mobile computers, are an excellent choice in certain scenarios, especially when their specific features align with your operational needs. Here are key situations where tablets might be the superior choice, along with important considerations:

Pros: 

  • Mounted Use: Tablets mounted on pick carts or forklifts enhance mobility in the warehouse. However, when mounted, tablets will need to interface with a handheld scanner for barcode scanning, as a built-in scanner becomes impractical in this configuration.
  • Screen Size: Their larger display is advantageous for showing more detailed information, improving user interface and readability. 
  • Connectivity Options: Compatibility with USB or Bluetooth scanners, offering flexibility in data capturing and processing. 

Cons: 

  • Two-Handed Operation: Generally, it requires two hands to operate, which can be less efficient for certain tasks. 
  • Portability: While offering a larger screen, their size can be a hindrance in environments where compactness and ease of handling are preferred. 
  • Cost: Typically, more expensive than handheld scanners, making them a significant investment. 

However, it’s important to note that tablets are generally two-handed devices and might not be the best option for all types of tasks. 

Advantages of Mobile Computers

For many tasks, mobile computers emerge as the more practical choice. Their design and functionality cater to a range of operations, especially where mobility and ease of use are paramount. Here are some key advantages: 

Pros: 

  • Ergonomic Design: Their build is tailored for comfort, reducing strain during extended use. This ergonomic shape is conducive to long-term user comfort. 
  • One-Handed Operation: Thanks to their compact size, mobile computers allow for efficient and quick one-handed use, ideal for dynamic and fast-paced tasks. 
  • Mobility: Excelling in flexibility, these devices are perfect for users needing to move around frequently, providing an unmatched level of mobility compared to tablets. 

Cons: 

  • Screen Size: They typically lack a large display, which can limit the amount of information readily visible to the user. 
  • Functionality Limitations: While great for scanning, they may not offer the same breadth of functionalities as a tablet, such as detailed data entry or viewing comprehensive reports. 
  • Battery Life: Depending on the model and usage, mobile computers can have shorter battery life, requiring more frequent charging in intensive use environments. 

In the context of tablets versus mobile computers, mobile computers are more than just a tool; they are a versatile companion in various workplace environments, enhancing productivity without compromising user comfort.

Making the Smart Choice: Tablets or Mobile Computers?

When selecting the right tools for use with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, it’s essential to recognize that the choice extends beyond tablets and mobile computers. Options like ring scanners and voice picking also exist for those seeking hands-free solutions, though their details are beyond this article’s scope. 

While tablets, particularly those not specifically designed for warehouse environments like Apple iPads, may lack ruggedness, scan engines, and app support, they offer a larger screen and work well when mounted.

Mobile computers, on the other hand, are known for their ergonomic design and mobility. It’s crucial to note that not all tablets or mobile computers will integrate seamlessly with the software; compatibility depends significantly on the device’s operating system. Therefore, the optimal choice for enhancing your Business Central experience should align with your unique business needs, operational demands, and the technical specifications of your devices. Remember, the right tool not only fits your current workflow but also adapts to your system’s technical requirements. Happy scanning! 

Explore your options and find the perfect tools for your needs by browsing the wide selection available at the Insight Works’ e-commerce shop.