Given that the Armor X7 is a closed system that relies on a passive cooling system, a mainstream CPU would probably give off too much heat to be employed. Instead, DRS Technologies outfits the Armor X7 with the 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450, a single-core, energy-efficient processor commonly found in netbooks. Rounding out the core specs are 2GB of DDR2 memory, integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics, and a 40GB solid-state drive. Windows felt peppy, though it’s hard to do a great deal of multi-tasking given the small screen. I occasionally found myself waiting for search results to get returned, but the far larger productivity hit overall was working with such a small touch display.
In terms of its ruggedness, it survived repeated drops in my home, each time startling those nearby as the heavy tablet slammed into the hardwood floor. Given the chilly spring temperatures in New England this week, I neglected to get out my garden hose and spray the Armor X7 with a stream of water.
Heat & Noise
With no moving parts — nary a cooling fan, spinning hard drive, or optical drive — the Armor X7 is completely silent during operation. It gets a bit warm to the touch, but it never got anywhere close to hot, even after long computing sessions.
The Armor X7 features two batteries, and it smartly uses up most of the resources of one before moving onto the next. And the batteries are identical, so you can carry additional batteries and hot-swap them in as a battery dies. On our review unit, the first battery drained down to 10% before the tablet switched to the other. Under regular but not constant use, and using a balanced power plan, the first battery lasted nearly four hours, which means you’ll get roughly a workday’s worth of running time with the tablet. Carry a third battery, and you’ll definitely make it through days where you aren’t near a power outlet. Lastly, the power cord has a petite power brick, making it an easy add-on to your travel bag.
When swapping in a new battery, you might be confused as to which battery to remove. The batteries are not labeled, but I discovered that battery 1 is located on the left when you are looking at the back of the tablet.
With its high price, small screen, and meager components, the Armor X7 is far from a consumer tablet. But its rugged, closed chassis will hold up to a great amount of abuse, and its smart, twin-battery arrangement gives workers in the field a tough little tablet that’ll run nearly all day. Plus, DRS Technologies backs the Armor X7 with a three-year parts-and-labor warranty, which like its rugged chassis, goes beyond what you would get with a consumer tablet. For professionals who job takes them to dangerous , diverse, or unusual computing locations, the Armor X7 is the rugged little tablet that could. Just make sure that your company’s software is functional on its small, 7-inch touchscreen.