Motion CL900 Tablet PC review

7 Jul 2011

Rugged, well made and the dock is neat, but it needs more than Atom-level performance to persuade us that Windows 7 and tablets can mix

Price when reviewed: 
1,022(£1,022 inc VAT)
3

Intel has been talking up its potential in the burgeoning tablet market, but after taking so long to dive in it has real ground to make up on the likes of ARM. That’s what Oak Trail is for: the Atom processor refresh takes the TDP down to just 3W. It lies at the heart of Intel’s tablet assault, and it’s finally arrived in an absolute tank of a tablet.

We shouldn’t be surprised it’s so hefty: the CL900 is from Motion Computing, so it’s meant for more strenuous environments than the average iPad. It has a 10.1in 1,366 x 768 panel covered by Gorilla Glass on the front, while Motion claims its internal frame should withstand a fall from “the back of a truck” (or, less dramatically, four feet). It’s sealed and tested to MIL-STD-810G and IP-52 specifications, so you don’t have to worry about moisture and dirt in the field.

Motion CL900 Tablet PC

It’s understandably heavier than other 10in tablets, its 1kg weight giving it a good 400g over the iPad 2. That does make it a bit of a chore to hold in one hand, but it’s well balanced and comes with both a standard touch interface and a stylus for more precise input. The latter is stored in a little slot on the right edge, and it’s also hooked to the tablet by a cord – useful when you drop it, not so useful when you realise it just dangles loosely when the pen is stored away.

The screen gets things off to a rather shaky start. Using a colorimeter we measured a maximum brightness of 318cd/m[sup]2[/sup] – middling in tablet terms – and a contrast ratio of just over 400:1. To our eyes it looks fairly washed out and limp, and the viewing angles are nothing to write home about.

Motion CL900 Tablet PC

The performance of the 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670 also fails to excite. It’s a single-core processor, so it’s no surprise that its benchmark score of 0.16 is on a par with current single-core Atoms, despite the CL900’s 2GB of RAM and 62GB SSD. A Responsiveness score – basic window opening and switching – of 0.31 is in the same single-core ballpark too. So it’s not as fast as the latest dual-core netbooks, and Motion’s claim that it can “simultaneously run multiple enterprise applications” is questionable.

It does, however, bring the TDP down, which should keep battery life high. In our light-use test, the CL900 lasted 7hrs 32mins before dying. The fair comparison is not with an iPad – which easily outlasts that – but with other Windows 7 tablets, of which there aren’t many. The Acer Iconia Tab W500 lasted 5hrs 8mins of light use with an AMD Fusion netbook processor, so the Z670 does appear to deliver on those promises.

Detail

Price ex VAT £852
Price inc VAT £1,022
Warranty 1yr on-site
Overall rating 3
Performance 2
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3

Physical

Dimensions 275 x 179 x 15.5mm (WDH)
Weight 1.000kg

Display

Primary keyboard On-screen
Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Display type Colour touchscreen LCD
Panel technology TN

Core specifications

CPU frequency, MHz 2MHz
Integrated memory 62.0GB
RAM capacity 2.00GB

Camera

Camera megapixel rating 3.0mp
Built-in flash? no
Built-in flash type N/A
Front-facing camera? yes
Video capture? yes

Other

WiFi standard 802.11n
Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes
Accessories supplied Optional docking station
HDMI output? yes
Video/TV output? no

Software

Mobile operating system Windows 7 Professional