25 April 2009

Getac V100 Rugged Tablet Review

When it comes to making rugged notebooks and tablets, Getac is one of the most respected names in the business. As impressive as the fully rugged Getac V100 tablet might be at first glance, there's one thing that makes this tablet really special ... a screen rated at 1,200 nits brightness! By comparison, a good notebook screen might only be rated as a 250 nit screen. We're talking about a rugged tablet that can not only be used in the middle of the desert, but that has a screen you can still read when the desert sun is beating down from above. Read on to see how well the Getac V100 holds up against our testing.

Getac V100 Rugged Tablet Specifications:

* Processor: 1.2GHz (ULV) Intel Core 2 Duo Processor U7600
* Memory: 1GB DDR2 (expandable to 2GB)
* Storage: 120GB hard disk drive, removable, shock-mounted
* Display: 10.4-inch XGA (1024 x 768) TFT Touchscreen LCD with digitizer and 1,200 nits brightness
* Graphics: Intel 945GMS, 128MB shared memory
* Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC
* Expansion Slots: PCMCIA Type II x 2 or Type III x 1
* Memory Card Reader: SD card reader
* Smart Card Reader: Optional smart card reader (occupies one PCMCIA type-II slot)
* Communication: 10/100/1000 base-T ethernet, 56K ITU V.92 modem, Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 a/b/g, Bluetooth (v2.0+EDR class 2), Optional GPS (either GPS or webcam), Optional EV-DO/GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/WCDMA/HSDPA
* Security: TPM 1.2, Kensington lock
* Battery: 11.1v 7800mAh
* Weight: 4.9 lbs. (2.2 kg) including battery
* Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.7 x 1.9 inches (285 x 222 x 49 mm)
* Evironmental Spec:
o Operating temp: 0°C to 55°C / 32°F to 131°F
o (Optional low temperature: -20°C / -4°F)
o Storage temp: -40°C to 70°C / -40°F to 158°F
o Humidity: 5% to 95% RH, non-condensing
* MSRP: $3,550

Build and Design
The design of the Getac V100, like virtually all fully rugged notebooks is extremely boxy. There's nothing "consumer friendly" about this design. The V100 means business, and the magnesium alloy construction and rubber bumpers covering the edges are enough to strike fear in the hearts (or processors) of average notebooks. The V100 is almost twice as thick as a standard 12” notebook or tablet and a price tag to match it's rugged build.

At first glance it might look like the V100 is missing all its ports, but when you take a closer look you see that every external port has its own waterproof cap or door. This keeps dirt and moisture out when not in use, and also protects the fragile connectors in the event something might hit that area of the notebook when the tablet is dropped. The only potential negative to having all the ports covered in this way is that you have to move the port covers out of the way every time you need to plug something into the tablet.

The bottom of the V100--where you might expect to see easily replaceable components like a battery-you find access panels held in place with large screws and more weather-sealed doors. The docking station connector is hidden behind a sliding door and even the battery and hard drive are protected by rugged metal doors with hinges on the side of the tablet.

When we describe the Getac V100 as "fully rugged" we don't expect average consumers to understand that this convertible notebook is built with MIL-STD 810F and IP54 compliance. What should be easy to grasp is the fact that the V100 features a full magnesium alloy chassis, sealed ports and connectors, a shock-protected removable hard drive, a is overall vibration and drop-shock resistant.

The durability of the screen on the V100 is quite impressive. Not only are the back of the screen and screen bezel impact resistant, but the screen itself can withstand a direct impact from a fist (or the edge of a table as you drop the tablet) without any damage.

One minor problem with the design of the V100 is the integrated carrying handle. The handle seems to be more of a last-minute addition to the V100 rather than a fully integrated handle like what we see on the Getac B300 rugged notebook. The loose nylon strap and metal retention clips just hang off the front edge of the notebook. To make matters worse the metal clips started to wear some of the matte black paint off of the tablet next to where the clips connected to the chassis. Despite the fact that a fully rugged notebook needs to have a handle we would rather have a sturdy handle built into the design of the tablet (at the expense of size and weight).

Display
The screen on our review unit of the Getac V100 Rugged Convertible Notebook is a 10.4” touchscreen with 1024 x 768 resolution that is bright enough to be easily read outside under bright sunlight. Getac also offers the V100 with a 12.4" widescreen display. Colors are bright, but have a washed out look due to the combination of the touchscreen surface and an amazingly strong backlight. As listed in the specs, the V100 includes a screen with a backlight rated at 1,200 nits brightness. To put that in perspective, many of the giant displays in New York's Time Square are rated at 1,500 nits. Unfortunately, one negative side effect of having the 1,200 nit screen option is that the minimum screen brightness is still quite high. Even if you turn the screen brightness down to the lowest setting it is still brighter than many standard notebook screens at nearly maximum brightness.

Performance and Benchmarks
The V100 has an Intel U7600 Core 2 Duo Merom processor, running at 1.2GHz. This might sound unusually slow compared to the latest notebooks and tablets on the market, but the V100 uses a sealed chassis that is passively cooled. Any excess heat is dissipated through the metal chassis and not through a vent.

The V100 might not shatter any benchmark records, but it's still more than powerful enough to handle regular work in Microsoft Office, do some light Photoshop editing, or browse the web and respond to emails in the middle of a combat zone. Bottom line, you don't buy a V100 for the fastest performance ... you buy it because it can keep working in just about any environment.

We also decided to benchmark the video and graphics performance of the V100 with 3DMark06 just for the sake of running a complete suite of tests. The V100 produced a 3DMark06 score of only 107 ... an extremely low score, but that is to be expected from all tablets in this class.

Wireless
Wireless performance on this rugged notebook was average, losing a connection to wireless access points at roughly the same distance as other notebooks. That said, it's hard to complain considering the range of connectivity options that the V100 offers; everything from a modem to GPS and EV-DO/GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/WCDMA/HSDPA broadband.

Heat and Noise
Since the V100 is a passive cooled notebook the only noise you can hear is the faint seeking of the hard drive inside or the system chimes coming from the built-in speaker.

Heat is minimal at worst, even without active cooling. Like most passively cooled rugged notebooks, the entire chassis structure acts as a gigantic heatsink, evenly spreading the heat around inside. Even after stressful benchmarks the tablet's external temperatures stayed between 87 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Battery
Battery performance was less than impressive, but it's safe to say that the lower-than-expected battery life is due to the insanely bright display. Again, having a screen rated at 1,200 nits is like looking into a spotlight ... a spotlight powered by the tablet's battery. With the screen set to the minimum brightness setting (still brighter than a 250-nit screen at maximum brightness) the V100 ran for just a little more than 4 hours. When you cranked the screen up to maximum for use outside, battery life was less than 2 hours with the 7800mAh battery in our review unit. In the interest of full disclosure, it's worth mentioning that we were never able to get the battery in our review unit to register a full charge (the maximum charge ended up being somewhere between 90 percent and 96 percent), so actual user results may vary. Still, spare batteries are probably a good idea for those who need longer battery life.

Conclusion
As a ruggedized convertible notebook, the Getac V100 is an exceptionally strong choice. Granted, you can find tablets with better processor and graphics performance for less money, but none of those cheaper tablets can withstand the daily abuse the the V100 will take in stride. Toss this tablet at a brick wall and the only thing that might be damaged is the brick wall.

At the end of the day, if you need a rugged tablet with a screen that's so bright you can see it from outer space then the Getac V100 is probably the perfect choice for you. The pen, screen rotation, and handle present some minor headaches, but this is still a very impressive tablet if you've got that budget to support a fully rugged convertible notebook.

Pros:

* Cool and silent
* Rugged and waterproof design
* Sunlight readable LCD ... extremely sunlight readable

Cons:

* No pen silo or retention clip
* Screen orientation can only be set in three of four directions
* The 1,200-nit screen option means the minimum screen brightness is still very bright
* Poor carrying handle design
* Expensive




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2 komentar:

Anonymous said...

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