Hardware recommendations - what's your favourite Android tablet?

Hi all,

we've been happily using a fleet of Samsung Tab A 2019 8" tablets across sub-tropical turtle nesting beaches in Western Australia. Unfortunately, they are now at end of life and we're looking for replacement models. Together with silicone sleeves, tempered glass screen protectors and neoprene sleeves for transport, we were in turtle monitoring heaven.

Some tablets being prepared...

Two last batches heading out to two sub-tropical islands off the Pilbara coast, Thevenard and Delambre Island

Previously we've used the AU$ 100 Lenovo Tab3 7", which unfortunately had a sluggish GPS chip and no really good protective sleeve option. Here's our device shoot-out of our pre-Samsung Tab A 2019 trials.

The winning factors turned out to be the "iPad mini" form factor (8" display) and a fast GPS chip, combined with a AU$ 250 price for tablet and covers.

The holy grail we haven't found yet would include a powerful PIT tag scanner (reading through a human forearm would be enough) and a reliable compass (for bearings).
Pit tags are rice-grain sized passive integrated transponders (PIT) applied into turtles by syringes like these. They end up ca 5cm deep inside the animal's shoulder but can migrate through the muscle. A good approximation to test PIT tag scanners is to cover a PIT tag with a human forearm and scan through the arm. To my knowledge, there are no PIT tag scanners integrated into tablets yet. Domestic pets have PIT tags implanted (known as microchips) under the skin between the shoulders, where a scanner only needs to penetrate skin. Horses have PIT tags too, so any solution here would also benefit equestrian uses.

Our corporate supplier recommends as a replacement model the Samsung Tab A7 lite. Has anyone used this device so far?

What are everyone's favourite tablets to run ODK Collect?


Hi @Florian_May, Hope you are well!

I used Samsung tab a7 lite for data collection purposes for 45 days approx. The best thing about this tab is its compact size and our data collectors appreciate this tab as battery optimization is also good for this tab.This tab has good GPS antenna connection which help to take GPS connection.
I am not sure if you have Redmi9A phone in your country. We used Redmi phones in one data collection and these cost us nearly $100. The main concern to choosing Redmi phones in India is they are cheap, have the nice build quality, also have a WIFI scan function so we can easily connect any redmi phone with the same WIFI connection from scanning another redmi's QR code. However, there is one negative point which is they do not come with a compass chip in a phone so in the field survey where you need to find out the northeast corner then you need to use another device to identify the northeast corner which we used in the census.
Now come on PIT tag scanner, I never did this however I used Redmi7A then 9A and these phones have good algorithms where they can scan bar codes quickly and accurately.

Now let's come on ODK Build, I have Samsung tab S6 lite LTE with Logitech keyboard with this I can work on ODK Build with my tab. I got this tab in $300, in a sale in India.

One last point you mention about the iPad mini, it's much expensive, does not support much android software. So, I do not recommend using any iOS device for data collection(if we have nearby 200 data collectors then NO if we have a few data collectors as one or two and budget allows then go ahead).



Thanks for sharing your experiences, @iamnarendrasingh ! I've clarified a few points in my post. My tired eyes mixed up Build and Collect, fixed now.

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We also tend to opt for Samsung Tab A range, either with or without sim card slot.
Galaxy Tab Active is OK too. The tab active is cheap as chips at the moment. Not amazing processors but perfectly functional for using Collect.

Overall, my experience is that the Samsung tablets have great build quality

PIT scanning isn't on my radar as people tend to complain more than turtles if you give them a sub-dermal implant. With PIT not being widely used for consumer levels stuff afaik there's no tablet with this built in.

Best tablets I ever had were 2013 Google Nexus 7. Built to last! I still have a dozen of those in action after going around the world a hundred times, though sadly soon to be retired.