Many of you have become very creative when incorporating the tablet for best use by technicians. This article attempts to spark different ideas and is designed to help you using as much experience other shops went through already as possible.
How to mount a tablet to the toolbox, using different flashlights, what size is best, what cases exist and how to keep the tablet with you all the time, and many more topics will be covered. Please take the following list as recommendation and if you could send us your solutions we will add them to this page as fast as we can.
The Right Tablet, Size and Brand
Criteria for selecting the best tablet type are
- Needs to be reasonably priced (less than $400 including case, ideally around $300)
- Easily held with one hand over a considerably longer time while the other hand is used to operate the tablet or performs other operations outside of the tablet
- Fast and robust handling of the application (no double taps needed, selection always responsive etc.)
The winner hands down has been for the last two years the iPad Mini. The lack of a built-in flashlight can be compensated with measures described below.
The Right Case for the Right Scenario
Cases are available in abundance. Below you see a selection of three different case configurations for the iPad Mini. The most left makes sure the screen is protected and the case is sturdy and robust enough to handle dirt, liquid and drops. Griffin Technology and Otterbox offer the most reliable cases known to us. The case in the center is made by Rokform, a very innovative case company with a snap mechanism, which makes it easy to mount to many different holders. The downside is the lack of a sealed screen protection. If you take the trouble of applying a film to the screen (included) and wipe off aggressive fluids right after an incident, this is the most versatile case. It even allows to embed magnetic stripes so you can ‘snap’ your tablet to anything metallic easily. The image on the right shows a HDE case with handle. Cute and versatile at first sight, don’t you think? The reason we downgraded it is the soft material, which catches dirt easily and can’t be easily cleaned. A screen protection is missing as well.
Holding the Tablet
The handle in the image above is a great way, using the Rokform swivel mount with suction another (image below).
The most versatile is the otterbox strap utility
Using a flashlight in dark places is the most straightforward solution. Since the iPad Mini doesn’t come with a built-in flashlight, the search for a different tablet seems to be the next best step. A bigger iPad might help, but can you still get into the narrow spaces underneath the vehicle where the iPad Mini still fits? Do you want to use one of the Android Tablets with built-in flash for a higher price and compromising a robust application use? Before selecting a diferent tablet consider the following alternatives
Check out in below’s image how Craig’s Car Care uses the EZ-Red on the back of their iPad Minis.
Last, but not least, before you even need the flashlight, try the manual, built-in aperture correction when taking images with the iPad Mini camera.
Check out the video below (courtesy Bill Connor with Craig’s Car Care) for details.