Motion Computing F5v review

14 Jan 2011

A refined, yet tough-nut Tablet PC for the most niche of business applications

Price when reviewed 
2,539
5

The new breed of Tablets might be catching all the headlines, but the concept is nothing new. And much as they might appeal to the average consumer, none of those Android or iOS-powered handhelds would be up to withstanding the rigours of daily use in hospitals, warehouses or out in the field. Motion Computing’s range of ruggedised Tablet PCs, however, are perfectly suited.

It might look like a jumped-up Speak’n’Spell, but the F5v is designed to flourish where other Tablet PCs would fear to tread, and it’s got the hard-knock accreditations to prove it. The chassis is IP54-rated, which means that it’s certified to operate in dusty environments and shrug off liquid splashes from any direction. It also claims to adhere to the US Department of Defense MIL-STD-810G tests, which cover a product’s ability to operate while subjected to vibration, extremes of temperature and other external forces.

Frankly, though, the F5v has always been a pretty tough cookie, and physically it is much the same as ever. The magnesium chassis is covered in a wipe-clean, rubberised finish, and the solid, large handle makes it easy to sling about. And if you’re thinking you’ll need a laptop bag to go with it, think again: its 1.5kg frame feels nigh-on indestructible, and the 10.4in display is protected by a layer of super-tough Gorilla Glass.

Motion Computing F5v - Tablet mode

Thanks to the recent addition of Intel’s Core i5 and i7 low-voltage processors alongside Intel’s vPro technology, performance leaps ahead of the previous generation. Our review model combined a 1.2GHz Core i7 U640 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory and a suitably shock-proof 64GB Samsung SSD with great effect. A result of 1.19 in our benchmarks proves there’s plenty enough power for most applications. It’s not just performance that improves, though, and IT departments will appreciate the remote management tools of Intel’s vPro platform.

The F5v relies on a stylus to navigate Microsoft’s Windows 7 Professional, which is less than exciting given the preponderance of multitouch these days. Stylus control makes complete sense given the target markets Motion Computing has in mind, though. Healthcare professionals or field technicians can operate the F5v even while wearing gloves, and it makes it possible to grab the F5v without fear of accidentally closing a program or unwittingly entering data.

The F5v’s stylus control initially feels a touch clunky alongside the likes of Apple’s iPad, but it’s surprisingly easy to get up to speed. Dab the ever-present touch input icon, and you can quickly scribble written notes with Windows 7’s excellent handwriting recognition tool, or just resort to tapping away on the on-screen keyboard. We soon found ourselves zipping through Windows barely any slower than we would with a traditional notebook.

Details

Price ex VAT £2,116
Price inc VAT £2,539
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 4
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 3yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 256 x 25 x 256mm (WDH)
Weight 1.500kg
Travelling weight 1.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7 U640
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 10.4in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1024 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM 256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 64GB
Hard disk usable capacity 60GB
Spindle speed N/A
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Samsung SSD
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive none
Battery capacity 4,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed N/A
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter yes
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader no
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Stylus
Audio chipset Intel HD Audio
Speaker location Underside
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 3.0mp
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader yes
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 15min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 21min
Overall application benchmark score 1.19
Office application benchmark score 1.03
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.32
Encoding application benchmark score 1.17
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.26
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition