A guide to help you decide which kind of tablet is the best fit to upgrade conference room scheduling in your office.
Placing tablets outside of your meeting rooms instantly makes it easier to spot available rooms, book impromptu meetings, and ward off conference room thieves. With visual cues like red, green, and yellow, room displays instantly make it obvious when a room is available from afar, avoiding circling the office to find an open space.
With so many hardware options out there though, how do you choose the best conference room display for your company’s meeting culture and budget? Here at Robin, since we happen to have a ton of experience shopping for and installing room displays, we thought we’d share our favorite tablets and what use cases they’re best fit for.
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The best tablets for a meeting room schedule display
1. iPad: $$-$$$
Regular or mini, the iPad is the queen of tablets and it’s hard to argue that any other tablet deserves the #1 spot. It’s fast, has a high screen resolution, and is affordable compared to enterprise hardware solutions. Over 70% of our customers run Robin on iPads, so they are certainly a crowd favorite.
iPads can also be repurposed in a number of different ways. Want to take it off the outside of a conference room? Place it at your front desk and use it for visitor management. Give it to the marketing team to use for events. Award a high performer with one as a gift.
And if you encounter any issues with an iPad, Apple’s support and commitment to quality is top-notch. iOs is easy to troubleshoot on your own and worst case scenario, you can simply bring it to the Apple store.
Look out for battery swells, though, as iPads aren’t intended to stay on and plugged in. One way to avoid this is to use a smart plug like this one from Wemo that’s programmed to shut off for an hour overnight.
Another pro tip is to have power-over-ethernet injector (PoE) powering the iPad to make the internet connection more reliable, unless you somehow have flawless WiFi (which, if you do, can you shoot us an email on your provider!?). In order to get a PoE injector that can be switched off to protect from battery swell, you’ll also want a PoE switch.
There are also a ton of great mount products out there for iPads today. We’re big fans of Powerbx, Heckler, and iPort, to name a few. Powerbx even has an LED light mount so people in your office will not only see availability via the color of the screen, but also the LED lights on the side of the mount.
2. Crestron: $$$$
If you have the budget, are part of a large company, and/or want something commercial-grade, Crestron’s TSS 7 and 10 devices are a great option for room display tablets. We see customers -- often financial or legal firms -- invest in Crestron’s products when they’re looking for super sleek, enterprise-ready hardware and their budget matches the higher price point Crestron tablets come in at.
Powered by PoE, Crestron runs Robin meeting room software to make sure the end-user experience is premium across both the software and hardware solutions. One distinct benefit of Crestron tablets is that you won’t have to worry about battery swelling or buying a separate mount.
Crestron also sells separate room availability indicators -- one that lives on the tablet itself and a few others that live further up on the wall so you can see whether a room is booked or not from across the office. Two of their light options let you engrave a room name or number on it, which can be extremely helpful for wayfinding.
3. Samsung Galaxy Tablet: $$-$$$
If you like the price point and speed of an iPad, but need to go with an Android OS, then Samsung Galaxy tablets are a great option. They have similar reaction times and resolution to the iPad, but can be more compatible if you’re a PC-driven organization.
Samsung Galaxy tablets don’t have as many mounts out there (although we did find this company VidaBox) so if you’re hoping for a specific look and feel you may want to reconsider using iPads.
4. Amazon Fire: $-$$
No budget? No problem. Amazon’s Fire tablets are a great option for someone looking to improve meeting room schedule displays without a ton of money in their pocket. The Amazon Fire 7 comes in at $49.99, but you will need to connect to WiFi and be ready for a slightly slower experience than the other three tablets above.
If you want a mount for these, we did find some online, but they’ll run you more than the device.
5. Chromebase mini: $$$
While there are some decent mini versions of Chromebases, we believe the room displays discussed above are better options. We’re also not convinced these tablets will be supported that much longer. A few companies have tried out tablets in the past and then discontinued them, leaving buyers in the dust and without support after discontinuation.
Also, these support a Chrome OS so you won’t have the same access to room scheduling software in an app store. Instead, a booking system needs to be jerry-rigged instead to make it available.
With this information under your belt, hopefully you’re feeling confident about which tablet will best suit your room scheduling needs. But if you still have questions, our Sales team can be a resource based on what other customers have bought.
No matter what, you’re moving in the right direction to improve your workplace experience just by thinking about conference room schedule displays! Feel free to share what solution you end up going with by reaching out to us on Twitter.