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Motion CL900 Tablet PC review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 7 Jul 2011

Reviewed By: David Bayon

Price when reviewed: £852 (£1,022 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
2 stars out of 6

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/m2 – 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.

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User comments

No!

"..in that case a Core i3 tablet such as the Asus Eee Slate EP121 "

It's an i5.

By rhythm on 8 Jul 2011

The big Q is whether the LCD is the special sunlight-readable sort.

For a casual-use "media player" or "web/email platform" type of usage you can use an Ipad, or one of the countless Android tablets.

But today, most windoze tablet users are serious users running specific applications.

And often they are running them outdoors, otherwise why bother with a tablet?

What would really set apart a windoze tablet would be a proper sunlight readable LCD.

Motion have been doing these on their £1500 tablets (I have an old LS800) but they seem to have dropped the ball on this one. Their website claims a superior display and implies it is usable outdoors. Is that the case?

This LS800 review shows how good the display was on that one
http://www.peter2000.co.uk/ls800/index.html

By peterh337 on 8 Jul 2011

Using a matte display would make it far easier to read outdoors.

Ok, it looks like intel is doing work here - at last - this should help drive not only prices but areas for others to innovate on and around.

End of the day its better for the consumer to have choice.

Good luck intel.

By nicomo on 11 Jul 2011

Horrible, horrible, horrible

I have had the CL900 for less than a year, and have had to return the unit for repairs 5 times so far.
Each time, they tell me to reformat the computer, which is especially tedious because I have to reinstall all my applications and transfer all of my files.
I paid $1,300 for the CL900 and intended to use it for my business. The reliability of the unit is abysmal, and I do not feel comfortable performing everyday tasks since it is very likely that either the pen will malfunction or there will be an operational issue.

While on paper the tablet seems attractive, its implementation is pitiful. From experience, STAY AWAY from the CL900, unless you like frustration and constant disappointment.

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