Motion CL900 Tablet PC review
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
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.
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£852|
|Price inc VAT||£1,022|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||3|
|Dimensions||275 x 179 x 15.5mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Display type||Colour touchscreen LCD|
|CPU frequency, MHz||2MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||3.0mp|
|Built-in flash type||N/A|
|Accessories supplied||Optional docking station|
|Mobile operating system||Windows 7 Professional|