The Getac F110 aims to combine tablet mobility with field-ready durability, packing a full Windows experience within a rugged 11.6-inch frame. This military-tested slate can endure drops, dust, spills and shocks, and has dual-swappable batteries to keep you from running out of juice on the job. But can this $2,899 tablet outlast ruggedized competitors?
True to its rugged nature, the Getac F110 is a portable behemoth that looks like it belongs on a battlefield. The tablet's thick black outer shell wraps around its gray bezel, which sports a power button, volume control and programmable key on the right and a Windows home button at the bottom. The tablet sports three LED indicators on the top right to indicate power, Internet connection and battery level.
The F110 sports a docking port, antenna port, Kensington lock and concealed power input on its bottom edge. On the left edge you'll find one USB 3.0, HDMI and headphone connections, which are all covered by a plastic flap that you can lock.
The mega-slate's backside has a concave compartment for the included stylus, as well as a triple-locked panel that covers the tablet's dual 2,160 mAh batteries. This two-battery design is meant to keep the F110 running perpetually, as you can leave one battery in while replacing the other.
Weighing 3.2 pounds, the F110 is heftier than the 2.2-pound Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 but lighter than the 5.8-pound Xplore iX104C5 DMSR-M2. The 12.3 x 8.15 x 0.96-inch F110 is wider than the Toughpad (10.6 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches) and the M2 (11.2 x 8.25 x 1.6 inches), though the latter slate is notably thicker. The F110's 11.6-inch display trumps both the Toughpad (10.1 inches) and M2 (10.4 inches) in size.
The F110 looks less bulky than the military-minded M2, though we still prefer the Toughpad's mainstream tablet aesthetic.
Click to EnlargeThe F110 is built to take a beating. Having endured MIL-STD 810G and MIL-STD-461F testing, the rugged slate can handle extreme temperatures (minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees), humidity (up to 95 percent), and constant vibrations.
The F110 is rated to withstand a drop from 5 feet onto half an inch of plywood over concrete. We dropped our Getac from the same distance onto carpet, and noticed no damage other than the stylus popping out of its holder. The tablet remained responsive after the fall, allowing us to type and surf the Web with ease.
You won't be able to fully submerge the F110, but the IP65-certified F110 has enough covered ports to endure low-pressure streams of water as well as dust. We were unable to interact with app icons after pouring a few ounces of water on the F110's screen, possibly because the tablet registered the water as input. Once we wiped the display dry, however, the F110 functioned as normal.
Panasonic's Toughpad kept ticking after performing the same durability tests, though it also gave us some input issues when there was water sprayed all over the screen.
The F110 is designed to handle extreme temperatures, but that heat shouldn't be coming from within the device. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video on the rugged slate, the screen reached 95 degrees, which matches our 95-degree comfort threshold. The backside reached a somewhat troubling 100 degrees, though we noticed only the warmth in our left hand when holding the slate horizontally.
Click to EnlargeThe F110 ships with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 chip with Intel vPro Technology for protection-important information. The tablet's Infineon security interface allows you to encrypt passwords, emails, files and folders, either on a removable drive or by partitioning your tablet's hard drive.
You can toggle all protected data on the F110 to be readable by local administrators, local and remote administrators, all local users, or all users. Unlike the M2, the F110 lacks a fingerprint reader for one-touch authentication.
Click to EnlargeWith an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 TFT LCD display, the F110 produces images that are bright and colorful, if not brimming with detail. The slate's screen packs in more pixels than the M2's 10.4-inch 1024 x 768 screen, though it isn't as sharp as the Toughpad's 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 display.
The HD trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" looked vibrant as Spidey swung through a sunny New York City, though the smaller details of the hero's red-and-blue suit got lost in translation. When holding the tablet horizontally, we experienced no color inversion as we tilted the slate left and right.
The F110 touts LumiBond technology to keep the screen viewable under sunlight, and the feature held up fairly well when we took the tablet outside on a sunny Manhattan day. The orange menu bar on the G-Manager app remained rich outdoors, and our face's reflection on the screen was barely noticeable. The aforementioned "Spider-Man" trailer was a bit more difficult to enjoy outside, as the sun made it hard to distinguish the costumed hero as he soared through bright city streets. Still, the display works just fine for pulling up information when out in the field.
The F110's five-finger multitouch capabilities proved accurate in our testing, as we were able to make a doodle in Paint using all five digits on our right hand simultaneously. The tablet responded to our touch when wearing a thin pair of woolen gloves, though we had to press hard on the screen to get a response.
You can count on the F110 to get the job done when working outdoors, as the tablet's average brightness came out to a whopping 735 lux. The Getac slate is significantly more luminous than the 597-lux M2 and 355-lux tablet average, falling only to the 820-lux Toughpad.
Stylus and Virtual Keyboard
The F110 includes a slim black stylus with a squishy ball point tip, which snaps to the right side of the slate's back panel. The accessory provided consistently quick responses, as we were able to sketch in Paint and type on the on-screen keyboard without having to put too much pressure on the screen.
Our Windows 7-equipped F110 uses a virtual keyboard, which can be launched from the G-Manager or from a handful of supported apps. The on-screen keyboard has a standard layout that can be expanded to include keys such as Home, End, PgUp and PgDn, and has a predictive text function to help you quickly finish sentences.
The virtual keyboard gets the job done, but the on-screen keys are miniscule compared to the screen-filling keyboard found on Windows 8 devices. Granted, this is only an issue you'll run into if you equip your F110 with Windows 7, but we would have liked more real estate to type on.
The keyboard also allows you to write out words with your finger or stylus and have them converted to on-screen text. We found this function responsive, as the screen was able to instantly recognize hand-drawn sentences like "how to use a tablet."
Rugged tablets aren't meant to double as boomboxes, but we were let down by the F110's lackluster audio output. The tablet's lone, inch-wide speaker on the right side of the back panel made rock songs such as Taking Back Sunday's "Stood a Chance" sound paper-thin, as vocals sounded canned while bass was nearly indistinguishable.
We had a similarly poor experience with Eminem's "Rap God," as the tablet's speaker made the song's driving bass drums sound nonexistent.
The F110's weak audio performance was reflected on the Laptop Mag Audio Test, as the slate's 70-decibel output fell short of the 80-decibel average for tablets.
Click to EnlargePowered by a 4th Generation 2.1-GHz Intel Core i7-4600U processor with 4GB of RAM, the F110 remained rock-solid as we browsed a dozen different tabs on Chrome while streaming "The Avengers" on Netflix. The tablet needed an average of just 2.04 seconds to switch from portrait to landscape mode, while taking an average of 2.25 seconds to do the opposite.
The rugged slate netted a 4,590 on the PCMark 7 performance test, nearly doubling the Previous Gen Core i7-620-powered M2 (2,320) and tablet average of 2,817. However, the F110 came up short against the Toughpad (3rd-Gen Core i5-3437U), which scored 4,753.
The F110 took 4 minutes and 8 seconds to match 20,000 names to their addresses in OpenOffice, getting the job done quicker than the Toughpad (5:51) and in less than half the time of the M2 (8:43).
The F110's 128GB SSD transferred 4.97GB of mixed media at a speedy 159 MBps, more than doubling the 76 MBps rate of both the Toughpad and the M2, while eclipsing the 64 MBps category average.
Getac's tablet booted Windows 7 in 12 seconds, which is a fraction of the M2's 36-second boot time of the same OS, though not as quick as the Toughpad's 7-second boot time for Windows 8. The F110 started up faster than the 16-second tablet average.
While you probably won't be firing up "World of Warcraft" while working in the field, the F110's Intel HD 4400 GPU can handle the game at a base level. Our F110 ran "WoW" at a just-playable 30 frames per second at 1366 x 760 with autodetect on, vastly outperforming the M2 (11 fps) while falling just short of the Toughpad's 32 fps. Under these conditions, the F110 ran the game more smoothly than the 22 fps tablet average.
The Getac slate netted a 43,137 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark, exponentially besting the 8,642 tablet average.
Click to EnlargeThe F110's cameras have some neat GPS integration, but you might be disappointed if your job requires you to take highly detailed photos in the field.
A self-portrait we took in the office with the 720p front camera was dim and low in detail, as our maroon shirt looked closer to black and with facial details looking blurry.
We took to a busy Manhattan street to take some outdoor shots with the 5-MP rear camera, which created bright and decently colored images that still lacked clarity. Company logos looked fuzzy up close, and became nearly illegible from a distance.
The included Getac Camera app is fairly vanilla, save for the fact that each image you snap has its own GPS marker, if you have that feature enabled. We found the app to be a little cumbersome, as you can't switch between the front and rear cameras without opening a separate settings menu. We also couldn't find a clear way to shoot video within the app.
Endurance is key for a tablet built for harsh workplaces, and the F110's battery life lives up to its mission. The slate lasted 7 hours and 54 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing over Wi-Fi), edging out the Toughpad (6:56) and the 7:47 tablet average while outlasting the M2 (4:04) by a longshot. And thanks to the F110's dual-battery design, you can make the rugged slate last even longer by swapping out one battery while the second keeps the tablet going.
Software and Warranty
Click to EnlargeOur Getac F110 shipped with Windows 7 Professional, but the slate can also be configured with Windows 8 professional. Aside from Microsoft mainstays such as Internet Explorer, Paint and Windows Media Player, the rugged tablet includes a proprietary camera app and Virtual GPS for tracking your position.
The included G-Manager provides a one-stop interface for changing settings and accessing apps. From here, you can toggle features like screen rotate, backlighting, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS, adjust volume and brightness, and access the webcam or virtual keyboard.
Our F110 includes a three-year Bumper-to-Bumper warranty, which covers part replacement and repairs for any damage done to the tablet in harsh conditions.
The F110 starts at $2,249, which gets you a 1.9-GHz Intel Core i5-4300U processor with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
Our $2,899 config packs a more powerful Core i7-4600U processor, while adding 4G LTE support and GPS compatibility.
A maxed-out F110 includes the same Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD while adding a mag stripe reader, barcode reader and dual displays for a total of $4,674.
Getac offers a handful of add-ons for the F110, including a vehicle dock, shoulder strap and solar charger. Extra batteries cost $89 a piece.
Click to EnlargeThe $2,899 Getac F110 ($2,249 starting) is a powerful and tough tablet that can take its fair share of drops and spills. The slate's ultra-bright 11.6-inch screen holds up well in the sun, and its dual-swappable batteries provide plenty of juice for a workday.
Among fully rugged tablets, the $2,187 10.1-inch Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 has a brighter full HD display and more attractive design while packing the same storage and memory for a lower price. But if a bigger screen and longer battery life are key for your work force, the F110 delivers faster performance while still taking a beating.