New tablets for council are more luxury than value

New tablets for council are more luxury than value

Members of Charlottetown city council will be getting new tablet computers with all the bells and whistles.

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Council voted 8-1 Monday evening on a resolution to award a tender to Halifax-based IMP Solutions to supply members of council with Microsoft Surface Pro tablets. Coun. Bob Doiron was the lone vote against the tender, which is valued at $28,978 plus taxes.

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Doiron told me that he felt the cost was too high and he wanted the city to pursue a cheaper option. Doiron still uses a computer he received in 2014 and finds that it still functions fine for attending virtual meetings with very little problems.

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Here's a breakdown of the purchase:

  • Surface Pro Tablets = $26,119.72 + tax
  • Microsoft Keyboard/Cover = $1,420.87 + tax
  • ​Surface Pro Extended Warranty = $1,437.59 + tax

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A review of the latest Surface Pro by PC Magazine says the device is more luxury than value. The review goes on to say that much of the price premium comes from the high-end and unique design. It’s essentially the Macbook Pro of the Windows 11 world.

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The price of these tablets online starts around $1,200, but the cost skyrockets from there depending on the hardware configuration and accessories. I requested a list of specifications from the city and was quoted back the specifications that were outlined in the tender. Interestingly enough, there is no configuration available that meets these requirements, so it’s unclear exactly what model the city purchased, and what hardware configuration the devices will actually ship with.

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Here's a breakdown of specifications outlined in the tender:

  • Intel Core i7 processor; 32 GB of RAM; 512 GB of Storage
  • 4-year warranty
  • 11 keyboard/covers

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When asked why the city would recommend this tablet for councillors, the city said these devices would best meet the current needs of councillors. Those needs include email, attending meetings, reviewing meeting and agenda packages – all very basic tasks that are easily performed with even a mobile phone.

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The city expects councillors to use these devices for the next four years.

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