This is part 4 of a 7 part article series. To start from the beginning, read “Emerging trends – Enhanced technologies make the tablet PC an excellent business companion".
The Motion F5 is the latest offering from tablet PC specialist Motion Computing and like its predecessor (the C5), it is resilient, functional and extremely versatile. [See image 1]
At around $2400 it is one of the more expensive tablet PC’s, but Motion have always been at the fore when it comes to a slate PC tailored for business use and with the F5 they are targeting sectors with considerable mobility requirements such as education, healthcare, communications and site work. Being a pure slate PC (housing no keyboard or optical drive), the Motion F5 is slick and extremely lightweight. [See image 2]
It has the look of a traditional clipboard, built for practicality rather than to be pleasing on the eye. The unique handle design and weight (3.3lb) makes it comfortable to carry, maneuver and operate. For durability, the Motion F5 is also able to withstand considerable abuse and spillage. What is more, excellent mounting of internal parts, sensors on the hard drive heads and a magnesium alloy skeleton means the device is highly unlikely to suffer data loss when buffeted around. This makes the F5 ideal in hostile settings. Motion must be fairly confident in the device’s robustness because on top of all this the F5 comes with a 3yr field warranty against accidental damage caused by heat, cold, dust, moisture or being dropped (up to 30”). [See image 3]
The 10.4” display is clear, bright and vibrant with only minor graininess. This makes viewing angles precise and broad if slightly dulled when taken to extremes. However, where the display is good, the power and battery life are less than average. With an Intel Core Solo U1400 processor and 2GB RAM the F5 is only moderately quick and the 40GB hard drive is small by comparison to other devices on the market. As for the battery life, at under 4hrs (normal use) and 2hrs (high intensity use) the F5 will not provide anywhere near a full days use, making a docking station ($300) and spare battery ($160) a must. This again proves the device is a ‘horse’s for courses’ piece of hardware and whilst the stylus is responsive and comfortable to hold even for extended periods of time, a lack of keyboard is sometimes felt. For example, navigation is straightforward, but for some applications (certainly those that require extended word processing time) a USB keyboard ($50) is a necessity. That said, for note taking, inventory, information analysis and wireless communications the F5 is fantastic. [See image 4]
The Motion F5 comes with Vista Business as standard, built in 802.11a/b/g wireless and some neat additional features - fingerprint recognition, barcode scanner and 2 megapixel webcam. This gives the F5 great flexibility to be used in a multitude of settings. Certainly the F5 comes with a hefty price tag but in the right environment, such as healthcare and education - where robustness, ultra portability, real time interfacing and short bursts of activity are required, this is the perfect tablet PC. [See image 5]
To go to the next article read “Toshiba Portégé M700: A heavy lump but a solid all round performer”.