- Thin yet rugged chassis
- Display is durable and outdoor viewable
- Long battery life
- Steep price
- Flimsy pen compartment
- Windows 7 not optimized for touch
If your job requires the use of a small, portable tablet PC, the Motion CL900 makes a strong case for why it should be that tablet. Really, the only drawback is the high price.
The Motion Computing CL900 is a 10.1-inch Windows 7 tablet that delivers a rugged chassis, all-day battery life, and both pen and touch input. All of this functionality comes at a price, however, putting this business-class tablet PC beyond the reach of the average consumer and many small businesses, too.
With its clean lines, rounded corners, and edge-to-edge glass, the Motion CL900 would appear to be another consumer tablet, but scratch the surface a bit (admittedly difficult to do with Gorilla Glass protecting its display) and you’ll discover that this slate tablet is awash in business features.
For starters, it runs Windows 7 Professional, letting you run your company’s applications. And you’ll be able to run your applications for most of the work day as the CL900 offers up to 8 hours of battery life. It also boasts military-grade ruggedness that protects the tablet against dust, dirt, moisture, and drops. Good thing, too, because the CL900 is sleek and lightweight, so it’ll likely see action in the field.
The Motion CL900 features a 10.1-inch display, which the aforementioned Gorilla Glass protects from scratches, dings, and cracks. Also aiding the tablet’s go-anywhere ethos is the fact that the display remains readable in direct sunlight and it features Gobi mobile broadband connectivity.
All of this ruggedness and functionality, however, doesn’t come cheap. The Motion CL900 starts at $899 (Editor’s Note: We originally reported the starting price as $999. It is actually $899.), and our review unit included upgrades that bring the price to $1,278 (our review unit also included a docking station, which adds $188 to the $1,278 price). In comparison, the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 features similar specs and costs only $849. If your job requires running Windows apps on a tablet, and your budget manager doesn’t balk at the price, you’ll find the Motion CL900 packs a lot of features inside a compact, elegant design.
- 10.1-inch diagonal capacitive multi-touchscreen (1,366×768) with pen and touch input
- 1.5GHz Intel Atom Z670
- 2GB DDR2 800MHz memory
- 62GB SSD
- Intel GMA600 graphics
- Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
- 4-cell (43 WHr) battery
- Front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam, rear-facing 3.0-megapixel webcam
- 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0
- 10.9 x 7.1 x 0.6 inches
- 2.1 lbs
- Price: $1,466 (including external docking station)
BUILD & DESIGN
Unlike many ruggedized tablets, the Motion Computing CL900 is sleek and thin. It’s barely more than a half inch thick and weighs only 2.1 pounds. On the front, the display glass reaches edge to edge, creating a seamless surface. The back panel is a single piece of plastic with a circular vent at its center. The side edges are wrapped in rubber, and all of the ports located on the sides are protected by rubber panels. An internal aluminum frame lends a rigid, sturdy feel to the tablet and helps protect the components. The case achieved an ingress protection rating of IP-52, which means the tablet protects against dust, moisture and other elements. It’s also passed the military standard MIL-STD-810G specification, meaning it can survive a four-foot drop.
When holding the tablet in landscape mode, the ports are located along the left edge. Behind a small cover is the power connector, and behind a longer cover is a USB 2.0 port, a mini-HDMI port, a headphone jack, an SD card slot, and a SIM card slot. The biggest omission is VGA, which we don’t mind going without but then again, our job doesn’t not involve giving presentations on a VGA-only projector. On the right edge is a button that springs open a small compartment where the digital pen is stored. On this otherwise sturdy tablet, the spring-loaded pen slot feels like the weak link, structurally speaking. If there is one item that looks and feels like it’ll be the first thing to break, our money is on the pen compartment. Even when it’s closed, the compartment feels a bit flimsy.
The pen itself is pressure-sensitive and we found it to be very accurate with the tablet. There is one button on the side of the stylus — pressing it acts as a right-click. You can also perform a right-click simply by tapping and holding the stylus for half a beat. Do note that the pen does not come with the baseline $899 model; you’ll need to purchase an upgrade package to get the pen. We strongly recommend doing so because navigating with your fingers is sometimes difficult.
The 10.1-inch display supports both pen and touch input, and it supports up to four touch points for scrolling, panning, zooming, and rotating. The display features a 1,366×768 resolution, which is just about perfect for the size. Text and icons remain legible and yet the display supports 720p HD video. Photos and videos looked crisp and vivid, and it didn’t seem as though they were crammed on a small tablet screen. The accompanying audio, however, sounded as if it were emanating from a small tablet. Keep a pair of headphones handy.
Like most tablets these days, the Motion Computing CL900 features two webcams, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel webcam and a rear-facing 3.0-megapixel webcam. The front-facing webcam suffices for video calls, and the rear-facing camera takes fairly crisp snapshots; the resolution is enough for sharing photos online, but you probably wouldn’t want to print and frame any shots.
On the Motion CL900, wireless connectivity abounds. There is 802.11n Wi-Fi, and when you’re not near a hot spot, you can connect via Gobi 3000 mobile broadband, an upgrade our review unit included. Also, Bluetooth 3.0 is on board.
Our review unit also included a docking station, which costs $188. It provides three USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and a power connection. It’s made from a single piece of metal and is designed for the “standing worker,” according to Motion. The tablet rests on top of the docking station at a fixed angle, which is too flat to comfortably view when you are seated in front of it. Below the shelf on which the tablet rests is a spot to store a keyboard, and in front of the docking station is a rubberized slot where you can rest the tablet’s digital pen. All in all, the docking station is well designed and matches the clean, simple design of the tablet itself. Just make sure you aren’t buying it to use where you would be seated at a desk.