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GCN : July 2013
tage of USB 3.0 devices. An- other minor concern is the fact that the Bluetooth keyboard charges through its micro-USB port, which will be an issue if both the keyboard and Think- Pad need charging. The ThinkPad includes Win- dows 8's enhanced security features but doesn't have a bio- metric or smart card reader. 4. Microsoft Surface Pro The Surface Pro from Micro- soft could be a popular choice among government IT administrators, given its large, clear display and processing pow- er. But the larger size and weight of this device might make it less popular among some end users. Its price starts at $899 for 64G versions, $999 for 128G and a just-released 256G version for $1,200. WHAT WORKS FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES The Surface Pro's 10.6-inch ClearType HD wide-screen 10-point multi-touch display is nice and bright, though there are some visibility problems in indirect sunlight or brighter environments. The keyboard cover that came with the mod- el we tested snaps into place, and when combined with the built-in "kickstand," it provides a pretty close approximation to a notebook or desktop experience. The Intel Core i5 processor with Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4G of memory is a powerful combination, making the Sur- face faster than tablets that rely on the lower power Atom Z2760. We were able to open and run multiple apps without any noticeable sign of lagging, allowing an agency user to multitask effectively. The Surface Pro had a decent number of accessory ports, including a full-size USB 3.0 port, a Micro-SDXC card read- er and a MiniDisplay port. The power adapter also has a full-sized USB port, which lets users charge another device at the same time. WHAT MIGHT NOT WORK FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES The Surface Pro does come with some security features. For instance Windows 8 Pro's built-in BitLocker feature can encrypt the Surface Pro's hard drive. However, there are no hardware-based security features, as some agencies may require. And as might be expected of a device with a powerful processor and the ability to run multiple apps, battery life can suf- fer with heavy use. Like the keyboard cover port, the power adapter port is magnetic, which can be a safety bonus in some situations. However, that port is also where the pen device is stored. So users can't charge the tablet while storing the pen. Those who need to be able to recharge while on the go might end up losing the pen. Probably the biggest issue users might have with Microsoft Surface Pro is the weight. Two pounds might not seem like a lot, but after holding it for more than five minutes, users will feel it, and they probably won't like it. This might eliminate the Surface Pro from consid- eration from certain types of jobs, such as certain medical environments, but it should work well in places such as the classroom. 5. Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1 Panasonic's ToughPad FZ-G1 is a Win- dows 8 Pro tablet rugged enough to be used in practically any environment. But when multiple options are in use, its Microsoft Surface Pro GCN JULY 2013 • GCN.COM 31 The Surface Pro from Microsoft could be a popular choice among government IT administrators, given its large, clear display and processing power.