Motion Computing F5v review
A refined, yet tough-nut Tablet PC for the most niche of business applications
Review Date: 14 Jan 2011
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £2,116 (£2,539 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
We need IP-65 or IP-69 tablets.
The best used to be the Husky range. One of our field engineers got his Merc K Wagen stuck in a field, he stuck the Husky under a rear wheel, drove himself out of the hole the vehicle had dug, picked up the Husky, washed it off in a near-by stream and then continued to collect data...
By big_D on 14 Jan 2011
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