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Motion F5te Tablet PC

Motion tweaks their lightweight rugged tablet for increased performance and enhanced usability
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

On October 8, 2013, tablet pioneer Motion Computing introduced the latest generation of its F5 and C5 series of rugged tablets—the former geared towards use in the field, the latter for use in healthcare settings. In this overview we'll describe the new F5te; the C5te was afforded the same enhancements.

Note that after last year's massive upgrade from the F5v to the F5t, this year's changes are considerably more subtle, at least at first sight. The table below shows the primary differences between the new F5te and its F5t predecessor:

Motion F5te vs. Motion F5t
Device Motion F5te (2013) Motion F5t (2012)
CPU best Core i7-3667U (2.0/3.2GHz) Core i7-3667U (2.0/3.2GHz)
CPU better Core i5-3337U (1.8/2.6GHz) Core i5-3317U (1.7/2.6GHz)
CPU good Core i3-3227U (1.9GHz) NA
Touch 10-finger procap 2-finger procap
OS Win 7, Win 8 Win 7, Win 8-ready
RAM 2/4/8GB 2/4GB
Mass Storage mSATA 64/128/256GB mSATA 64/128GB
SnapWorks yes no
EasyConnect RFID yes no

And here's our commentray on the changes, what they mean, and why they matter:

  • Those who had hoped for "Haswell" 4th generation Intel Core processors will have to wait until next time. And the high-end i7 vPro chip in the F5Te remains the same as well. The available i5 chip was slightly upgraded from the i5-3317U to the slightly quicker i5-3337U. When we last looked at the F5t, there was no Core i3 option; the new F5te can be ordered with a Core i3-3227U.

  • Memory and mass storage have been expanded. Maximum RAM is now 8GB, up from 4GB. And the largest available mSATA drive is now 256GB instead of 128GB. Both changes will be much appreciated by users who can never have enough/too much memory and storage.

  • The big news in our book is the new 10-finger multi-touch. When we did our full review of the last-gen F5t we applauded the inclusion of 2-finger multi-touch, but cautioned that it might be a potential issue, especially with Windows 8. While, for the most part, Windows 8 uses one or two finger gestures, some apps can use up to five fingers, and apparently that's a requirement for Windows 8 touch hardware. It's one of those things that's really not that important, but it's much better to have it than not. And now Motion does.

  • Along with the new hardware generation, Motion introduced productivity-enhancing software. There's SNAPWORKS by Motion, an intuitive, touch-based camera application for easy capture, annotation and sharing of images (see the SNAPWORKS page). There's also the new EasyConnect RFID Long Range Reader that transforms Motion rugged tablets into long-range UHF RFID tag readers for obtaining and processing critical asset data from a distance - ideal for an oil rig, rail transportation or warehouse environment (see the EasyConnect RFID page).

Together with the enhanced tablets, Motion introduced a new Multi-Bay Battery Charger accessory that charges up to five batteries at the same time. That comes in handy for multi-user work groups that benefit from always having freshly charged batteries in a central place.

Do realize that the Motion F5te is not just another tablet seeking to ride the crest of the tablet juggernaut. Motion has been making tablets, and nothing but tablets, for over a decade. They've offered among the best implementations of the Microsoft Tablet PC platform that made its debut in 2002, often against considerable odds. They've consistently advanced the state of the art with numerous first and better ideas. They've consistently been quick to make technological advances available to their customers. And they always strove to offer the absolute best in their products. Examples are the their early (2009) use of Corning's "Gorilla Glass" before everyone else realized the importance of shatter-proof, strengthened glass. And Motion's stunning AFFS+ display with absolutely perfect viewing angles remains the very best.

It cannot have been easy for Motion spend all these years trying to explain and demonstrate the benefits and advantages of the tablet form factor to a largely reluctant public that was put off by the challenges of using Windows on a tablet, just to then see the iPad swoop in and then all those Android media tablets. That certainly validated Motion's belief in tablets, and it was probably quite tempting to jump ship and try to cash in on the tablet popularity with a hardened Android tablet for business and the field. But that would have meant to obsolete their customers' tablet, accessories, and peripheral infrastructure, and that's not what a responsible company does.

For a much more detailed review of this remarkable tablet platform, read RuggedPCReview's comprehensive hands-on analysis and testing of the Motion F5t, the immediate predecessor of the newly announced F5te. The information in that report remains largely relevant as the basics of the F5 platform haven't changed. You'll also learn more about the F5's history and background, its components, and how it handles in day-to-day use..

Specifications Motion F5te
Status Added 10/2013
Form-factor Rugged tablet
OS Windows 7 Pro (32 or 64-bit)
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit)
Processor Intel Core i7-3667U
Intel Core i5-3337U
Intel Core i3-3227U
CPU Speed 2.0GHz (3.2GHz with Turbo)
1.8GHz (2.6GHz with Turbo)
Chipset Mobile Intel QM77 Express
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
Standard/Max RAM 2GB/8GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Disk/drive mSATA 64/128/256GB SSD
Optical drive Optional external
Card slots None
Display type Standard of View Anywhere AFFS+ LCD with Gorilla Glass
Display size/res 10.4"/1024 x 768 pixel
Digitizer/pens 10-point projected capacitive multi-touch + active pen
Keyboard/scale Onscreen or external USB/BT keyboard
Sealing IP54
Drop 26 drops from three feet
Temperature 14° to 104°F (-10° to 40°C)
Humidity 8-80% without condensation
Altitude 15,000 feet
Housing Magnesium-alloy internal frame, chemical-resistant resin upper faceplate and lower backplate, overmolded with elastomer
Size (WxHxD) 10.0 x 10.0 x 0.95 inches (256 x 256 x 24.3 mm)
Weight 3.3 lbs. (1.5kg)
Power 40 WHr Lithium-Ion ("up to 6.0 hours"), hot-swappable
Camera 1.3mp front-facing webcam, 3mp rear-facing with illuminator
Security Fingerprint reader, TPM 1.2, optional Smart Card and Computrace
Interface 1 x USB 3.0 port, docking, Fingerprint Reader, 2 mic; optional 13.56MHz RFID HF, 1D/2D barcode scanner
Communications Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n plus Bluetooth 4.0; optional integrated Gobi, optional GPS module (WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS)
List price Inquire
Contact motioncomputing.com
Web page Motion F5te page
Brochure Motion F5te brochure
Warranty 3 year standard warranty

Motion Computing, Inc.

8601 RR 2222, Building II
Austin, TX 78730
Tel: 512-637-1100