Laptops and tablets
Should I buy a laptop or tablet?
Buy a laptop for detailed working (creating documents/spreadsheets etc).
Tablets are suitable for email, websites and simple tasks. The screen is too small for complex tasks, even with an add-on keyboard.
A business class tablet (see below) with add-on keyboard can fulfil the role of a laptop, with some limitations (smaller screen, less effective keyboard).
If you buy a tablet, make sure it has Windows 10 Pro
If you want to buy a tablet for staff use, make sure it’s a business class tablet running Windows 10 Pro:
- only tablets with Windows 10 Pro can be shared with colleagues and added to the Kent network (the UKC domain).
- tablets listed as Professional tablets sometimes come with a home version of Windows - don't buy one. We can't add it to the UKC domain and it'll be difficult and expensive to upgrade.
- consumer tablets like iPad, Android, or Windows RT shouldn’t be shared, and won’t be allowed to join the UKC domain. The only way to ‘share’ such tablets is to wipe them (factory reset) before passing on. They can use University Wi-Fi (eduroam) in the same way that personal devices can.
- there aren't many business-class tablets to choose from. They're a similar cost to a laptop.
Setup service for Tablets with Windows 10 Pro
Business class tablets bought with Windows 10 Pro can be joined to the University Windows domain (UKC) and can use standard software just like a laptop. Check whether it has TPM with the manufacturer before buying - ideally it should come with TPM to make encryption quicker and easier.
Most tablets are designed for personal, individual use, so can’t be joined to the Kent domain (UKC). They can only use applications downloaded from an Apps store.
We offer very limited help with iPad, Android and Windows 10 (home) and other consumer tablets. They aren’t suitable for sharing because they only offer a single user account, making that person liable for any misuse by others.
I need a laptop - which model should I get?
We're working on a list of potential laptops we recommend. In the meantime, contact the Purchasing Office or ask suppliers directly.
We can build your laptop
For a small fee we prepare the laptop for the Kent network and install our standard build (operating system updates and core software). It's then easier for us to support.
Laptop build service - full details
For staff laptops bought by the University:
- build cost: usually £50. If more charges are needed we'll ask you first.
- ongoing support cost: £25 an hour per job (as it is not a managed service, a maintenance agreement isn't available).
What we do:
- Install core software and anti-virus protection, including: Office 2016; Windows Media Player; Google Chrome; Windows update; Java Runtime; Windows Defender (anti-virus software).
- Configure the laptop to connect to the University domain, so that a Kent IT Account username and password can be used to log onto the PC. Users will not be prompted for credentials when using network shared drives or printers.
- Encrypt it for data protection.
- Provide an administrator username and password for the laptop, and on request grant administrator access to specific Kent users.
- Configure connections to the Kent Wi-Fi (Eduroam) and VPN service.
- Install security updates: Windows Updates, security patches, and set it to automatically install future updates.
- Install the SCCM client on the laptop. This allows us to provide additional software and updates in the future when connected to the Kent network.
- Document: explain what's been done, including settings and logins.
Data protection: your responsibility
If your laptop wasn't built by us, it's your responsibility to make sure the data stored on the laptop is encrypted. All laptops used for University business must be encrypted in order to comply with data protection laws and University regulations.
If you're an advanced IT user, you could set up the laptop yourself (pdf).