MobileDemand xTablet T8700 Review

by Reads (11,912)

The xTablet T8700 is a rugged tablet made for field work and mobile workers. This isn’t your ordinary tablet. In fact it can take pretty much anything you throw at it or you can throw it. The T8700 meets military standards and is helpful to many businesses that need to have access to information anywhere they go. It’s an interesting looking slate tablet that is sure to turn heads.


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MobileDemand xTablet T8700 Rugged Tablet specs:

  • Intel Core Duo ULV U2500 1.2GHz processor
  • 2GB, 4GB DDR2 RAM
  • 8.4" TFT SVGA active digitizer and passive touchscreen display (800×600)
  • Shock Mounted, 2.5 inch Hard Disk 80GB, optional SSD 8GB, 16GB, 64GB
  • Windows XP Tablet Edition or Windows Vista Business OS
  • Compact Flash Type II Slot
  • PC Card Slot Type II-Card Bus 2.1
  • PCI Express Slot (internal)
  • RJ-11
  • RJ-45
  • 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Mini-USB
  • Surface contact docking connector
  • Serial Port (9 pin D-SUB)
  • 802.11a/g wireless, Bluetooth and optional WAN
  • High capacity 6600 mAh Li-ION battery pack
  • Dimensions: 10.6" W x 7.2" H x 1.65" D
  • Weight: 4.8lbs.

Design and Build

MobileDemand’s xTablet T8700 is the update to the T8600 rugged tablet. This slate tablet can take anything you throw at it. It has a solid chassis and design. Even though it weighs in around 4.8lbs, it’s still light enough to carry around for field work. It also can be mounted in a vehicle or kept on it’s docking station with a keyboard.


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The T8700 meets military standards, can be dropped, get dirty and wet all in one days work. This is not your standard tablet. Obviously you most likely aren’t going to use this for personal use either. The T8700 is targeted toward vertical markets like distribution services, warehouses and field work.


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MobileDemand offers tons of accessories to go with the T8700. Depending on your business needs you can get a barcode scanner, credit card reader, car mounts, carrying case with handle and a keyboard. The T8700 really is a mobile workstation. To the right side of the tablet is the numeric keypad, which comes in handy for business work as well, but the buttons are a little flat and non-responsive. When the credit card reader is attached these buttons are awkward to use sometimes as well.

Display

The display on the T8700 is nice. It has a 8.4" SVGA Color TFT display. It has an active digitizer and passive touchscreen standard and you can get the xView sunlight readable option for outdoors viewing. For being a rugged tablet the screen is impressive. The colors are bright and it’s easy to read.


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There is a little graininess, but nothing to worry about and remember this isn’t your standard tablet. It is made for business use and field work. I don’t think you will be watching movies on this tablet. Since the T8700 meets military standards the screen is durable and can take a few drops without getting scratched, and it can get wet with no problems.

In Use

The T8700 is a solid workhorse. This tablet really can withstand the bumps and bruises of any users daily grind. It is targeted toward field workers and it meets all rugged standards.


Picture of the T8700 outside. (view large image)

It was fun to test and put outside in the woods, drop on the floor and spray with water. The durability of this tablet makes it worth the cost. I don’t recommend it for any kind of consumer use, but for business use it is a plus. Below are some key features of the xTablet T8700:

  • Meets MIL-STD 810F for ruggedness (drops, shock, sealing, water, dust, temperature)
  • Integrated backlit numeric keypad enables easy data entry
  • Integrated imager and barcode reader makes data collection simple
  • Integrated mag strip reader makes it an instant POS "line busting" tool
  • Long lasting battery – provides hours of uninterrupted use
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than consumer grade computers
  • Rugged design to survive rough and extreme handling by mobile workers


T8700 outside in direct sunlight, screen is still readable. (view large image)

Performance

The T8700 sports a Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz processor. It does what it needs to do. I didn’t run PCMark or 3DMark on it because it isn’t made for that. It has a problem running those benchmarks. This tablet is made to work and it can run any software a company wants without a hitch. It ran Super Pi a little faster then the T8600, but nothing spectacular.

This is not a gaming tablet or even a consumer tablet. You can surf the Web with ease and open any application. It can be used for taking notes and storing data. The 80GB hard drive is fine, but you can always go with the SSD options for more storage space.

It can handle the day to day rigors of being knocked around. The mag strip reader is there for credit card purposes and the barcode scanner does everything from scan boxes, barcodes to paperwork. The processor has no problem handling these tasks, I even tested out the scanner and scanned some FedEx boxes. I wish I could have ran some credit cards, but not so lucky on that one.

Tablet Features/Pen

The xTablet T8700 does have some nice tablet features. It has some programmable buttons and it is easy to take notes on. The pen is located on the back side and is easy to access, but sometimes can be awkward to use because of the attached string. The active digitizer helps with browsing through applications and Web pages. The pen is responsive to this and accurate. I didn’t have to use a lot of force to open any windows with the pen. The passive touchscreen isn’t that accurate though and I did try to recalibrate it.


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There is no keyboard with the xTablet, which really isn’t a problem because you can pull up the on-screen keyboard or get the optional USB attachable keyboard. That is why the numeric keypad is so important because many companies only need this feature for their businesses and it is right on the body. The T8700 lets manufacturers store more data then a smartphone and it gives them the luxury of ruggedness, which in the end contributes to a lower cost of ownership compared to non-rugged tablets.

Ports

The T8700 has a good array of ports, and you can get even more with certain docking solutions and car mounts. I wouldn’t be worried about not having what you need with this rugged tablet. It has two USB ports, one Compact Flash type II slot, one PC Card slot, a docking connector, a serial port-9 pin and an RJ-11 and RJ-45 port. As I mentioned before the possibilities are endless when it comes to accessories, so this is one tablet ready for anything. If you take off the barcode scanner and credit card reader, you have other ports too including a microphone and headphone port and a mini-USB.


Left side view of the T8700. (view large image)


Right side view of the T8700. (view large image)


Top view of the T8700. (view large image)


Bottom view of the T8700. (view large image)


Underneath view of T8700. (view large image)

Battery

The battery life on the xTablet is great and by that I mean you can use this tablet all day with no problems. I know most users don’t believe it until they test it, but this battery really stays powered for a good 6-8 hours depending on usage. It is made to last for long periods of time and for workers on-the-go or in the field. They can’t have a battery that just dies in the middle of the day. It even recharges itself when plugged in to certain car mounts and docks, so there really isn’t much downtime with it.


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Heat and Noise

For being such a heavy duty tablet the T8700 doesn’t put off much heat. I let it run for hours and browsed through many different applications and still just a little heat. It gets warm on the back side, but nothing uncomfortable when holding it. I am sure the casing has a lot to do with the heat resistance and the fan.

The T8700 makes a good amount of noise when the fan kicks on. It sounds like a hairdryer on high. However, it doesn’t kick on that often, but when it does you know it and can feel the air pumping out. Besides this, it is quiet and hardly noticeable.

Speakers

The mono speaker puts out decent sound. I was actually surprised by how well it sounded. There wasn’t much distortion and you can adjust the volume up or down on the numeric keypad. I don’t think it gets used much for listening to music, but by all means it could.

Software

The T8700 doesn’t come loaded with any bloatware because it is sold to companies for them to install their own software and applications. It is basically a clean slate. It does run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition or Windows Vista as the OS. Both have great handwriting recognition tools that come in handy.

Wireless

There are plenty of wireless options to choose from with the T8700. It comes standard with 802.11a/g and Bluetooth. If you need more you can always go for the optional WAN – EV-DO, EDGE, GPRS and GSM through the PCMCIA slot. The model I reviewed just had the Intel Wireless and it worked great. It connected to my office Internet in seconds and brought up other wireless signals in the area. It had no problems with signal strength either.

Conclusion

The xTablet T8700 is a solid rugged tablet that fits the boot for rigorous business use. As I said before, it’s not a consumer or gaming tablet. It can be used for some consumer functions, but it is marketed for field and mobile workers. I was impressed by the screen quality and all the accessories MobileDemand offers. It has great battery life and a peppy processor. There are plenty of wireless options to fit any users needs as well. The T8700 is a mobile workstation that can go anywhere. I always enjoy having a tablet I can fake people out with by dropping it and getting it wet. It definitely is durable, but I would like a few more refined features like the numeric keypad buttons and maybe a better place for the pen.

Pros

  • Rugged design meets all military standards for water, dust and drops
  • Easy to clean and hides dirt well
  • Can be programmed to run any companies software
  • Great battery life
  • Tons of accessories for any users needs

Cons

  • Numeric keypad buttons flat and awkward
  • Touchscreen option not so accurate
  • The rubber port covers sometimes fall out of their slots, but they do protect

Pricing and Availability

For more information or if you are interested in MobileDemand’s xTablet T8700 check out their website for ordering details, pricing and configurations.

 


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