I’m up to my elbows in hardware evaluations right now. Short-term, I’m walking around with the ARMOR X10gx from DRS Technologies, and I do mean “walking around.” I don’t know if a rugged work tablet should be this much fun.
What’s so fun about it? For starters, it’s a grab-and-go device. Literally just grab it by the handle and walk out the door. No case. No bag. No concerns about it breaking in a fall or getting caught in the rain. I could really get used to this kind of worry-free experience.
Second, it’s practically instant-on thanks to an Intel SSD. Push the power button and it’s asleep or awake in a second. Returning from hibernate feels about as long as resuming from sleep on any of my other Tablet PCs, including the Fujitsu T900. I am seriously considering getting an SSD that I can rollover into new computers as I get them (a real possibility now that I leave the bulk of my personal files at home).
Third, it stands on its own. Seems like a small thing, but tablets are always presented in mock-ups in upright positions. We think of them this way, yet on their own, they typically lie flat. Not so with the X10gx. It can lie flat, but thanks to the handle and rubber bumpers, I’ve been enjoying the freedom of setting it down upright. Paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, I can see it acting as a mobile office.
Finally, the pen experience is amazingly good, which you can see for yourself in the ink blog sample below with text conversion (cross posted from Sumocat’s Scribbles).
I’ll be evaluating this unit through the first week of October. If you have questions, please leave them here. I’ll address them all at once at the end. I’m already evaluating the display under different outdoor conditions, as well as testing the dual-battery system (and comparing to the dual system in the Fujitsu T900). Sorry, no drop or submersion tests. We’ll just have to trust the ruggedness certification tests on that.
ARMOR X10gx: Ink Blogging on a Rugged Tablet
When one thinks of rugged Tablet PCs, one envisions guys in hard hats taking meter readings, looking at design plans, or otherwise getting their hands dirty. But since I don’t do those things, what you get instead is me ink blogging from my front yard bench.
Currently, I’m in the shade, relaxing with a root beer. Screen brightness is notched down to 60%, but it’s still perfectly legible. I took some video earlier of it in direct sun, complete with glaring reflection, still quite readable at full brightness. Bezel button backlight control makes for an excellent daylight experience.
As you can see, the pen input is smooth, more so than I expected. The Wacom Penabled digitizer offers its usual accuracy and pressure sensitivity. That’s paired with low-sensitivity resistive touch, which eliminates stray screen triggering. Perfect palm rejection. Pen experience is wonderful.
Despite the weight of the device, its ruggedness makes it easy to handle. The carry handle is very convenient, and I’ve enjoyed being able to carry a Tablet PC around without a case or bag.
I’m taking notes as I go along, monitoring battery life, judging the responsiveness of the Intel SSD, and noting the heat output from its fanless design. Very impressive so far. I especially like that it can stand upright on its own. More to come.