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Motion Computing J3500 review


Undoubtedly well-designed, with a quality touchscreen and many neat features, but battery life could be better

Review Date: 7 Jul 2010

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £2,253 (£2,647 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

4 stars out of 6

There aren't many circumstances under which we can see ourselves putting a touch screen on a PC to much use. But in some industries and for some applications, devices such as Motion Computing's J3500 will certainly fit the bill.

Targeted principally at medical environments, where keyboards and mice are viewed as bacteria-harbouring nasties, the J3500 certainly seems up to the job. Not only is it equipped with a touchscreen capable of being operated with both finger and digitizer pen, but our model was also supplied with a rather ingenious drop-in docking station, complete with its very own stand, and hygienic, rubber membrane-covered keyboard and touchpad.

That means harassed medical professionals could equally use the J3500 as a desktop computer, but also on the rounds as a high-tech clipboard. But it clearly isn't just for doctors. Couple it with Microsoft OneNote's excellent handwriting recognition, for instance, and you have yourself a top quality, multipurpose office workhorse. Plus, to further cement its all-things-to-all-businesses pedigree, there's a fingerprint reader, a TPM chip, Intel's top-end dual-band Ultimate-N 6300agn Wi-Fi, mobile broadband and even a GPS chip.

Motion Computing J3500 with mobile keyboard

Squeezing that lot in is an impressive feat given the svelte dimensions and light weight. The J3500 measures just 23mm thick and weighs a mere 1.9kg without its charger. But it's even more remarkable when you consider how rugged this tablet is. Everywhere you look there are features that make the J3500 ideally suited to life in a warehouse, on the road or in the field. Take the touchscreen, for instance. Not only is it dual-multitouch capable and pretty sensitive at that, but it feels tough too. We really had to press down hard to cause even the slightest rippling effect on the display behind, plus it's shock mounted to prevent it shattering when knocked against hard surfaces. And if that's not enough for you, there's a "Gorilla Glass" version that's even more breakage and scratch resistant (note that this version is pen digitiser only, not multitouch).

The rest of the J3500 feels just as solid. The chassis is made from unyielding plastics, with a non-slip textured rubber rear and it has an endoskeleton of lightweight magnesium alloy. There are sealed flaps covering the two USB 2 ports, D-SUB out, Gigabit Ethernet and audio ports on the left, and the whole thing has been tested and rated to the MIL-STD-810G (a test used by the US military to ensure ruggedness) and IP52 standards, which means it's dust and very slightly water resistant. Inside, our review model also had a 128GB SSD, and even if you choose to go with the cheaper 160GB mechanical disk option, you still get drop-sensing technology and more shock-protection for your money.

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User comments

Touch vs Gorilla Glass Model

I'll assume that you were using the touch + digitizer model of the J3500. You'll find that the colouring that you refer to in your verdict not present on the Gorilla Glass model. It's unfortunate, but the extra convenience of touch will be worth the drawback of the yellowish tinge for many...

The battery figures that you quote are very suprising though. I have worked on my J3400 for 6 hours straight on it's two batteries. The worst I have experienced is 3.5 - 4 hours (3G active, lots of pen input, disk access etc.)

I can't imagine that the J3500 would be that much different. It sounds like your test was only using one of the 2 batteries to me.

By TabletPC on 13 Jul 2010

Battery life

TabletPC - The J3500 was definitely using both batteries. It was one of the first things we checked! The shorter life is probably down to the more powerful processor in the J3500. Can I ask what CPU your J3400 has?

And yes, the J3500 we tested uses the non-Gorilla Glass version (see paragraph four).

Jonathan Bray,
Reviews editor,
PC Pro.

By JonBray on 13 Jul 2010

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