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My new toy: arguably the best windows tablet on the market.





ocalhoun
I wanted a super-portable computer for school, and as an engineering student, I wanted one that could run a standard OS, to be able to use any fancy calculator or simulator programs.

After a lot of looking, I think I found what I was looking for:
http://www.motioncomputing.com/products/tablet_pc_CL900.asp
The cl900, from a company I had never heard of before, motion computing...
(Apparently, motion computing has been making ruggedized windows tablets aimed at the business market ever since the idea of a tablet became practical, with designs that predate almost everything else out there... And I'd say all that practice paid off!)

Showing off a nifty feature; the ability to enter complicated math via writing it in with the pen:


Connected to the docking station, which gives it extra USB ports, power, and an ethernet port...
which is in turn connected to my KVM switch, and displayed on the TV there, just like most of my other computers. (The cable coming off the side is the HDMI out, being used to connect the display to the KVM; sadly, the dock does not have video out; it has to be connected directly.)


The pen hides away inside a little compartment in the side, which is pretty cool and really convenient.



And really, I am confident in saying it's the best windows tablet on the market today.

It has 8 hours of battery life -- even the intensive run-down tests done by reviewers result in 7.5 hour life... And that's easily double what you can expect from most windows tablets!
The long battery life is awesome because it means there's no reason to bother with power adapters and cords when taking it places. Just grab and go.

It has more wireless connectivity than I know what to do with; wifi (n), bluetooth, carrier-independent cell-phone data, satellite GPS...
(I don't use the cell-phone capability; everywhere I go with this has wifi, and I don't want to pay for a data plan... but it's pretty awesome that it's there, and even more awesome that it can be used with any cell phone carrier, not locked into any particular provider.)
(I've been making good use of the bluetooth; got a folding keyboard, calculator/number pad, and there's a bluetooth mouse on its way in the mail.)
(Having the real satellite GPS in there is pretty awesome too; I've got the right software on it now, and can use it to navigate just like any other GPS unit -- and since it actually uses satellites (not cell towers), it can be used to navigate where there's no cell phone signal.)

It's got a fast (yet low power) 64GB SSD for the hard drive, 1.5Ghz dual core processor, 2Gb of ram... Performance is perfectly good for doing work on it, or browsing the internet, or watching (HD!) videos... but leaves somewhat to be desired for even the simplest games... This ain't no gaming rig, that's for sure! ... But it does perform perfectly good enough for everything I really need it to do, and then some. Even with multiple big programs open, it doesn't really show any lag.

Unlike some tablets (especially the ones from a certain fruit-themed company), this one actually has useful ports! I've already mentioned the HDMI out, but it also has an audio in/out, a USB port, and a SD card reader.
...And speaking of the card reader, I've put that to good use, getting three 32GB cards, which more than doubles the amount of storage I have available for it.

...And one of those cards, of course, is full of ponies! This tablet has exactly the same resolution and aspect ratio of a 720p TV, which makes it perfect for watching HD video.
Speaking of the display, it's one of the best you'll find in any tablet, nice, bright, and colorful, intended to be viewable outdoors, and better resolution than nearly all other tablets, including ones with fruit on the back.

The touch input is awesome; state-of-the-art. 5-point capacitive touch, plus it also has an active digitizer pen -- it can detect where the pen is whenever it's within an inch or so of the screen, and the pen is pressure-sensitive too, which is really awesome for drawing. (With the pen, holding it above the screen moves the mouse, tapping the screen left-clicks, and tapping the screen while holding the button on the pen right-clicks.)
It can use both touch and pen at the same time, but the way I've got it set up, you switch between either by double tapping with the one you want to use... I do it that way because I kept accidentally clicking buttons with my palm while writing... No more problems with that now.

It's got both a front and back camera, better cameras than most tablets have... but I don't use those much.
And a neat little battery meter button on the left side; push it, and a few tiny little led's on the front panel light up, showing how much battery power is left, so you can check battery power without exiting a full-screen application.

Oh, and the best part?
It's semi-ruggedized; designed to be dust and moisture resistant, and designed to survive a four foot drop.
(Thanks to the internal aluminum frame, rubber outer edge, and gorilla glass display.)

Of course, all that costs money, and this thing is pricey; it starts at $999, but with the options I wanted (double RAM, double SSD space, dock, GPS capability), comes out to around $1,600.
But, I'd say it's worth it in this case, to have a nice windows tablet that can do anything I need it to... and one which had absolutely no corners cut in the design -- everything is well thought out and no-compromise for quality.
deanhills
Thanks for this detailed review Ocalhoun! Totally blew me away. How did you buy the tablet? In Seattle or is it available directly from MotionComputing? What is the warranty like?

I was just about to get despondent as I was convinced the tablets would not be available in the UAE, but just checked through the list of distributors and found one in the UAE! GREAT! Will see whether I can get there to check them out.

Quote:
SANCO ME (FZC)
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
www.sanco-me.com
Contact: Hatim Qureshi
Tel: + 971 6 557 15 47
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Thanks for this detailed review Ocalhoun! Totally blew me away. How did you buy the tablet? In Seattle or is it available directly from MotionComputing? What is the warranty like?

The best price I could find was from buy.com, which saved me about $100 off the retail list price.
The warranty is just a pretty standard 'defects in materials and workmanship' 1 year policy...

They offer a 3 year accident protection plan, but I didn't buy it because it doesn't cover the main threat: theft.
(Basically that extended protection plan only covers damage due to dropping it... and on a ruggedized tablet, I'm not worried about that.)
Quote:

I was just about to get despondent as I was convinced the tablets would not be available in the UAE, but just checked through the list of distributors and found one in the UAE! GREAT! Will see whether I can get there to check them out.

I guess that's one advantage of a business-oriented company. ^.^
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