Before Intel released its low-voltage Atom processor, there was only one Intel chip to power a device like the Getac E100 (£2233 inc. VAT) and that was the A110 low-voltage solution.
The fact it can be found in this ruggedised Tablet PC, designed specifically for the ﬁeldworker, highlights the rather slow turnaround of business platforms.
The design is a slate device with a numeric pad and navigation buttons on the right-hand side of the 8.4-inch screen.
The unit meets current MIL-STD-810F standards for dust and water-resistance and the device can even be used in temperatures approaching freezing without the components failing.
Instead of being a digitised display, it has a touchscreen, so you can use the supplied stylus or even your ﬁngertip to navigate the screen. It's got an extra tough ﬁnish, as beﬁts the rugged nature of the device, but we found it responded reasonably well.
It has a rather basic resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, but we found it usable for simple functions. We found the screen worked well outdoors, which is an area where touchscreens have traditionally failed to impress, so workers will be able to view data they have input easily.
If you wish to type on the screen, there is a software keyboard that can be loaded, or you can simply use the Tablet PC's built-in handwriting-recognition software.
Short battery life
Being fully ruggedised, you'll ﬁnd the case is made from magnesium-alloy with large rubber pads on each corner to absorb any shocks should the device be dropped. Ports around the sides are ﬁrmly protected with rubber-lined plastic stoppers and the whole finish is extremely tough.
There's even an adapter on the base, making it suitable for vehicle mounting. This all adds up to a weight of 1.5kg, which makes it a hefty tablet.
We were disappointed by the battery life, which was a little over two hours, which means ﬁeldworkers won't be able to move too far from their vehicle charger.
In terms of performance, this machine is ﬁne for data entry and for basic processing, but the use of a sealed-unit means the low-voltage processor can't be pushed too hard. With 1024MB of memory and 80GB hard drive, you'll be able to run the Windows XP Tablet PC Software with ease.
Included are the standard features you'd expect from a tablet, with wireless LAN and a biometric ﬁngerprint scanner, which is linked to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to lock your passwords away.
For its target market, the Getac E100 is a functional and interesting device. Its niche nature is reﬂected in the price, but this is the cost of high-end engineering.