You can drop it from chest height onto concrete multiple times. You can spill coffee over it. You can read it outdoors (even in the bright sunlight of a Las Vegas winter day) and keep it out in the desert heat (or indeed a much colder temperature than the desert winter).
But when you look at the 10.1-inch Motion CL900 tablet PC it doesn't look like it belongs on a building site or strapped to a tank; it's a rather stylish black case with sleek, rounded corners that looks just as appealing as tablets you can't kick around like that.
Being rugged doesn't make it unusually heavy; it's 2.1 pounds, and while 16mm isn't as thin as an iPad it doesn't feel bulky for a tablet PC. Gorilla Glass keeps the touchscreen from getting scratched.
Motion has been making tablet PCs for years, switching to industrial and medical markets as mainstream tablets failed to take off. We think the CL900 is the best of both worlds.
Motion told us they wouldn't consider it to have a true outdoor screen, but it was easier to read and (thanks to the Vertak coating) had less glare than any of the notebooks we compared it to.
The Ntrig touchscreen gives you the combination of responsive capacitive multitouch (with four points of touch, so you can enjoy multiplayer games or type fairly fast on the Windows 7 on-screen keyboard) and an active pen (tucked securely away behind a pop-out door) with smooth ink for handwriting (and the pen turns off touch so your hand doesn't act like a giant crayon if you rest it on the screen while you write).
Motion is 'experimenting' with the circle-based ExoPC user interface we've seen on the ExoPC Slate, which works just as well on here. The screen rotates automatically thanks to the accelerometer, but you can turn that off if you want.
The dual core 1.5GHz Oak Trail Atom processor, 30 or 62GB SSD , micro HDMI, SD card slot, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G specification is similar to many of the upcoming Windows tablets, as is the slightly sub-$1,000 price.
There's only a single speaker but it sounds surprisingly good and the dual microphones will be good for Skype calls.
Oak Trail is one reason for the 8 hour battery life Motion is claiming; the other is the fact that fully half the case is taken up by the battery. It's a fast-charging battery; plug in for 15 minutes and you get an hour out of it.
The CL900 should be on sale in the spring; because it's aimed at business there will be peripherals like fingerprint scanners and credit card readers, but Motion is also planning a keyboard that fits into a portfolio case so you can use it like a notebook. That will give it a little extra protection – not that it really needs it.
Article continues below