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MobileDemand xTablet T8650

Rugged, innovative Intel "Cherry Trail" quad-core powered 8-inch Windows 10 tablet offers Intel RealSense three-dimensional data capture
by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer

MobileDemand announced the xTablet T8650 mid-2016 as yet another innovative rugged tablet computer that offers something extra. In this case the extra is an (optional) integrated Intel RealSense 3D camera system that can not only enhance productivity by quickly performing near-field automatic length and volume measurements, but also has the potential to revolutionize the generation of photorealistic 3D models as well as provide an entry to the emerging field of dimensional data acquisition.

MobileDemand believes that equipped with this novel camera system, their xTablet has dual appeal. First, the T8650 addresses the needs of customers in search of a competent small tablet that won't break the bank. Second, equipped with its special camera system, the T8650 can be used to test and implement dimensional data acquisition project with potentially substantial impact on work flow productivity.

But let's take a look at the xTablet T8650 hardware first. It's a handy 8-inch tablet with state-of-the-art technology, good connectivity, a wealth of data acquisition options, and substantial ruggedness. The xTablet T8650 seems a somewhat higher-end alternative to MobileDemand's existing T1500 and Flex 8 tablets in the same general (and quite popular) display size class. And while equipped with newer technology, this is again a device positioned below the Core processor level, so pricing is attractive.

The lineup below provides a quick idea of how the new tablet visually compares to some of the other MobileDemand products. The xTablet T8650 has the same size display size as both the low-end Flex 8 and the mid-range xTablet T8500 (which has been replaced with the T8540). The company's higher-end 10.1-inch thin & light xTablet T1400 is noticeably larger.

Side-by-side, while size and design differences may appear minor (except for the larger T1400), each product clearly fills a purpose and need.

Intel RealSense

Normally, in our detailed reviews we analyze and discuss the device first, and then get into special features. But the available integrated 3D camera is definitely the attraction here, and it's something that's totally new to the rugged field. MobileDemand's own materials describe the xTablet T8650 as a "feature-rich device for enterprise productivity" with a "revolutionary, long-range HD camera that sees like the human eye with the ability to sense depth, track human motion and calculate volume"

Matt Miller, MobileDemand President and Founder, said, that "ten years ago in 2006, MobileDemand was the first to market with a barcode scanner integrated into a rugged tablet. Today, we're first to market with a 3D camera integration in the xTablet T8650. 3D technologies will offer immense value for the transportation and logistics, package delivery, airline/travel, and construction industries." What are we talking about here?

The optional integrated 3D camera is the long range version of Intel's RealSense R200 3D camera. Don't be mislead by the "3D" designation. The R200 is not one of those gimmicky 3D cameras with two lenses where you then have to wear special glasses to see a 3D picture.

RealSense started as the "Intel Perceptual Computing" project, a system that looked into gesture-based interaction with computers. Intel has had an interest in using hand gestures to communicate with computers for many years. Even back in 2000, the Intel Easy PC Camera included gesture-operated game software.

Over time, the technology came to include not only better cameras, but also 3D imaging, depth sensors and machine perception libraries. Intel made software development kits available that enabled various perceptual computing projects in facial analysis, hand and finger tracking, sound processing and augmented reality.

In 2015, Intel renamed the perceptual computing project to Intel RealSense and made available a number of different 3D camera/software bundles. All of those RealSense cameras included a regular camera, an infrared laser projector, one or more infrared cameras, and a microphone array.

How does it work? Like this: the IR projector paints an invisible (to the human eye) grid onto a subject or item. The infrared cameras then use the grid to determine depth information and spatial location. If necessary, a microphone array can determine the location of sound sources.

The Intel R200 3D camera setup MobileDemand is using in the xTablet T8650 has a regular digital RGB camera, an infrared scanner projector, and then left and right infrared cameras, as shown in the picture to the right. As described above, its IR projector is scanning an object with infrared light. The two IR cameras record that information, providing a stereoscopic view of the object that allows computation of depth. This information can then either be superimposed on the human-viewable image, or used for all sorts of computations.

And here's what the whole camera assembly looks like inside the xTablet T8650:

So what does one do with a RealSense camera-equipped xTablet T8650? The applications are theoretically endless. Intel itself is very interested in fostering innovative RealSense applications and offers a RealSense SDK, RealSense development kits, cross platform APIs. There's even a RealSense package and developer kit for drones.

MobileDemand's interest is, of course, focussed on enhancing productivity in applications that require rugged tablet PCs. The company has been developing demo software that can easily acquire measurements and dimensions, recognizes objects, and uses 3D e-scenes created via computer vision technology and manipulated with mathematical algorithms.

Among examples MobileDemand has shown is a system that could have substantial impact on packing and shipping operations. It uses a RealSense-equipped rugged tablet to quickly read the height, length and depth of a box, compute its volume, record its characteristics, and thus might significantly speed up operational processes.

Another example MobileDemand has showed is an app an airline might use to determine if carry-on luggage meets size requirements. Such an application would eliminate eyeballing the size of a carry-on or lifting it into one of those clumsy measuring boxes several airlines use, and then speed up the boarding process because there won't be any delays from passengers trying to stow oversize bags.

Is RealSense an instant game changer? That depends. Intel is quite serious about the technology, and any number of productivity-enhancing applications are absolutely in the current realm of possibilities. That said, three dimensional data acquisition with mobile devices is still in its infancy. Time will tell where the technology is best used.

The fact that MobileDemand is making the technology available early on shows the commitment of the company to provide its customers not only the electronic tools of today, but also offer a very real look at the tools of tomorrow. And knowing where things are headed can certainly make for potentially crucial competitive advantage. Do make sure to check out Intel's RealSense developer page.

Our review tablet came with a beta version of Dot Product LLC's Dot3D software that gave a glimpse at the potential of 3D scanning. The app allows scanning a scene from all directions and then view and manipulate the resulting three-dimensional representation of the scene or object. Once scanned, users can pan, rotate, pinch and zoom the object like a hologram. The image below shows a scanned kitchen scene in points view (as opposed to "surface" view). Note that this is not a series of pictures, but screengrabs of one and the same model. It's a technology in progress, but quite obviously the implications of what the technology can be used for are enticing.

Where does the xTablet T8500 fit into MobileDemand's product lineup?

Having discussed the very interesting RealSense camera option available for the xTablet T8650, now let's take a closer look at the tablet hardware itself. Especially since MobileDemand already offers two other tablets in the same 8-inch display class.

When MobileDemand introduced the price-conscious Flex 8 and Flex 10 tablets in 2014, the company entered new and untested territory. Apparently that worked quite well, so they added the slightly more upmarket 8-inch T8500 and 10-inch T1500 tablets (which have been replaced with the T8540 and T1540). And now there's the 8-inch T8650 which again is in the 8-inch size class, but is actually a separate and different product.

With their Flex line, MobileDemand sourced generic tablets that met the company's features and performance goals while the custom-designed protective rubber boot with its thick bumpers and sturdy polycarbonate backplate provided a remarkable degree of ruggedness. However, the Flex tablets are not sealed, they are not inherently rugged, and they can't accommodate an industrial-grade scanner. That rules them out for many customers.

MobileDemand Model xTablet T8650 xTablet T8500 xTablet Flex 8
Introduced 06/2016 12/2015 12/2014
Display (inches/resolution) 8.0/1280 x 800 8.0/1280 x 800 8.0/1280 x 800
Size (inches) 9.2 x 5.9 x 0.87 9.0 x 5.8 x 0.65 8.8 x 5.6 x 0.7
Weight 1.487 lbs 1.4 lbs 1.6 lbs
Processor Type Intel Atom X5-Z8550 Intel Atom Z3735F Intel Atom Z3775
Processor Codename "Cherry Trail" "Bay Trail" "Bay Trail"
CPU Speed (base/burst) 1.44/2.40GHz 1.33/1.83GHz 1.46/2.39GHz
Cores/threads 4/4 4/4 4/4
Storage 64GB eMMC 64GB 64GB
Sealing IP65 IP67 not sealed
Operating temp. 14 to 122F -4 to 140F 32 to 120F
Drop 60 inches 48 inches 48 inches
Scanner Yes (opt.) Yes (opt.) No
GPS Yes Yes No
Battery 25.0 whr ("up to 9 hours") 30.7 whr ("8 hours") 17.5 whr ("4.5 hours")
The discontinued xTablet T8500, while still very affordable by rugged tablet standards, used a substantially different design approach. Compared to the Flex 8, it was much more rugged, offered IP67 sealing versus none, and had a much wider operating temperature range. The xTablet T8500 also had a true scanner and not just a camera that could run scanner apps. It came with GPS. And there was a much more powerful battery that made full shift operation possible.

The table to the right shows some of the relevant specs of MobileDemand's three 8-inch tablets. As can be seen, they have the exact same screen size and resolution, weigh roughly the same, and have roughly the same dimensions.

But while the Flex 8 and T8500 use low-end quad-core chips from Intel's "Bay Trail" lineup, the T8650 uses a "Cherry Trail" processor. Other than that, the specs don't show great differences. In fact, while the T8650 looks tougher than MobileDemand's other two 8-inch tablets, sealing and operating temperature range are actually less than those of the T8500. Does that mean the availability of the RealSense camera system is the new platform's sole attraction? We'll find out.

Handy and light, but very well protected

Like MobileDemand's other 8-inch class tablets, we were surprised how small and handy the xTablet T8650 is. It's certainly much larger than even the biggest of today's plus-size phones, but compared to rugged tablets of the past, it's very compact and doesn't have any of the weighty heft that used to characterize virtually rugged tablet computers. Contributing to its pleasantly manageable size is the display's 16:10 aspect ratio. We've always felt that the 16:9 aspect ratio used by many small tablets makes them look excessively narrow. You wouldn't expect such a small change in aspect ratio to make much of a visual difference, but it does. The proportions of the xTablet T8650 look "right." The tablet feels spacious enough for real work, and it is comfortable to use. This is definitely a small tablet, and not something between a phone and a tablet.

And like it is always the case with MobileDemand products, the xTablet T8650 instantly communicates that it is indeed a rugged tablet, a small one, but definitely rugged. There are prominent protective bumpers. Everything's black, with an industrial finish and a good number of exposed screws. All ports are covered with flush-fitting protective plugs. There aren't any vents or openings, and there are plenty of loops and attachment points for carrying and mounting.

In contrast to MobileDemand's Flex 8 that that is a generic consumer tablet enclosed in a tough custom-designed pre-installed case, the xTablet T8650, like the xTablet T8500, was designed as a rugged device from the start. Of the three, the xTablet T8650 looks the toughest and most like a conventional rugged tablet. At 0.87 inches it's also thicker than the other two.

The projected capacitive multi-touch screen makes for a modern tablet look with flush glass extending well past the perimeter of the actual LCD display, making touch and multi-touch operations easy. Tough rubberized overmolding goes all around the perimeter, but there's just a thin lip that's raised a smidgen above the front glass for additional protection. Protective corner bumpers look like separate parts, but they are actually part of the design. The cover glass bezel leaves room for the orange MobileDemand logo on black background, making for an elegant appearance.

Below is a look at the xTablet T8650 from the front and from all four sides with all of its protective doors closed. The tablet's design is simple and functional, but the side view of the substantial bumpers show that this is a well-protected tool for whatever job out there that comes along.

On top are three small pushbuttons (power, volume up, volume down) with a tactile click feedback. Next to them, in the center, is the window of the fully integrated industrial grade 1D/2D bar code reader. Past that, the covered headphone jack and then a Kensington-style lock slot for physical security.

On the bottom is the unit's surface mount docking connector, flanked by two holes used for secure mounting on one of the docking options.

The close-ups below show the right side of the tablet with the protective doors removed for better viewing of the xTablet T8650's ports and other I/O. There's the power jack, two standard-size USB 3.0 ports, a micro-HDMI port and then a programmable function button.

Note that the xTablet T8650 does not need a fan and, like virtually all rugged tablets today, uses solid state storage instead of a rotating hard disk, so it operates silently. It's worth mentioning that despite the tablet's compact size, the bezel areas to the left and right of the actual LCD display are wide enough to place palm and thumb without interfering with operation.

A look inside: the real thing

While MobileDemand's three 8-inch tablets share a display size, inside they are totally different. The Flex 8 is a generic white box tablet placed inside a tough and rugged protective enclosure. The now replaced xTablet T8500 looked much more like a conventional rugged tablet inside, but it's clear that the goal was to provide the ruggedness at the most attractive price possible. That meant integrated battery, a simple aluminum plate to mount things on, and cost-saving white-box design inside.

The xTablet T8650 is all different. This is a real rugged tablet, designed from the ground up as one for toughness, functionality and ease of service. That means a removable battery with the card slots inside the battery compartment, where they are well-protected. It means external access doors for optional equipment and expansion. And it means a customized, integrated design with exceptional care to every detail.

Upon undoing 16 small Philips screws, the very tough and extensively structured ABS plastic rear cover comes off the deeper, box-like front of the tablet with the same footprint. The seal between the two housing parts consists of a lip on the front part pressing against a replaceable rubber pressure seal that sits in a groove around the perimeter of the bottom plate. Unlike some such seal, this one isn't overly complex and convoluted. It is a clean and effective solution.

Below you can see what the xTablet T8650 looks like inside:

Once opened, the xTablet T8650 reveals the kind of meticulously designed and manufactured magnesium chassis/frame usually found in high end rugged tablets. It's a thing of beauty that provides the basis for the LCD on the front side and the battery and the tablet's extensive circuitry and modules on its rear. Miniature ribbon cables have their own recessed "highways" on that metal frame. Speakers, cameras and other components, likewise, have their own custom cubbies and guides. Experts made this.

The motherboard itself measures about 3.5 x 4.0 inches. There's not much to be seen on it as most of its surface is covered by a custom-cut black plastic shield. There's none of the black fabric tape and white silicone glue commonly used in lower-end designs to keep things in place and to seal openings to the outside. Here' it's all done with the appropriate parts and design.

The colorful picture to the right was taken with our Flir One infrared camera. It shows the thermal situation inside the xTablet T8650, with darker areas the coolest and bright yellow the hottest. Since the xTablet T8650 doesn't have a fan to remove heat, good thermal management is essential. As can be seen, the area where the tablet's processor resides is hottest and the IR camera saw 110+ degrees. In operation, the xTablet T8650 warmed up in our testing, but not excessively so.

Most I/O is edge-mounted on the motherboard, which means it's fixed. Larger tablet devices often have part of their I/O on daughterboards, which offers flexibility as customers may be able to specify optional I/O.

The image on the left shows the xTablet T8650's integrated Honeywell EA31 High Performance 2D Imager (see here) that provides great motion tolerance, quick time-to-read, and supports omni-directional scanning. It's also using a safe LED-based aimer, making it ideal for retail and customer-facing applications. Despite its performance, the EA31 is tiny, just 0.86 x 0.56 x 0.51 inches. That means no "scanner bulge" — the module is completely integrated.

Note that the xTablet T8650 also includes a Honeywell ED40 2D decoder board shown to the right (see here). That means the fastest possible data transmission and decoding, and virtually no load on the CPU.

As is usually the case even in rugged devices, the protective rubber doors are the sole guard against liquids entering the interior of the case. We don't like to see that, but it's the standard solution today. So always keep an eye on those protective doors before using the tablet in the field. The good news is that the plugs are all part of one rubber flap that is screwed on and can easily be replaced.

Are there things we'd rather not see? A couple. The small bridge battery and the ribbon cable of the fingerprint reader are very short. We like any cable connections between two halves of a case be long enough for easy opening. And the small rubber sealer fitting around the battery contacts comes off too easily, thus potentially allowing liquids to get into the interior of the tablet.

Else, the guts and interior design and assembly of the xTablet T8650 are most impressive, and a big step up from MobileDemand's value-based small tablets.

Intel "Cherry Trail" processor

The xTablet T8650 runs Windows 10 Professional on an Intel Atom X5-8550 processor. This is a quad-core "system-on-chip" processor of Intel's 14nm "Cherry Trail" lineup that succeeds the popular 22nm "Bay Trail" roster. Integrated graphics are of the Intel Gen 8 variety, the same generation as Intel's high-end "Broadwell" chips.

And the chip specifically includes support for Intel's RealSense technology that, in conjunction with the integrated Intel R200 camera system, offers editing and measurement tools as well as 3D depth imaging. In addition, there's USB 3.0 support. So this is definitely not your Father's wheezing, boring Atom chip.

Where does the X5 prefix come from? That's because having used the i3/i5/i7 prefixes in their more expensive Core processors to indicate good/better/best, Intel wanted to apply that system to their Atom processors as well. So the X5-8550 chip in this xTablet would be a mid-range offering with more capabilities and features than an X3 CPU, but not quite as much as an X7-class processor.

PassMark 6.1 MobileDemand MobileDemand MobileDemand
Model xTablet T8650 xTablet T8500 xTablet Flex 8
OS Win 10 (64-bit) Win 10 (32-bit) Win 8.1 (32-bit)
Processor Type Intel Atom Intel Atom Intel Atom
Processor Model X5-Z8550 Z3735F Z3775
CPU Speed 1.44Hz 1.33Hz 1.46Hz
Max Burst Speed 2.40Hz 1.83Hz 2.39Hz
Scenario Design Power (SDP) 2.0 watts 2.2 watts 2.0 watts
CPU Mark 1,708.7 1,115.1 1,589.5
2D Graphics Mark 135.2 112.7 178.2
Memory Mark 385.6 283.2 421.1
Disk Mark 847.2 902.7 288.0
3D Graphics Mark 228.2 99.2 147.4
Overall PassMark 746.5 560.3 605.2

As is, the table to the left shows our benchmark results for the "Cherry Trail" X5-Z8550-based xTablet T8650, the "Bay Trail" Z3735F-based xTablet T8500, and the the Z3775-based xTablet Flex 8.

When we initially tested the Flex 8, MobileDemand had told us their benchmarks showed the higher-end T1400's CPU performance about 20% better than the Flex 8's, with 2D graphics about 15% better and 3D graphics 7-10% better.

Our own numbers agreed on the CPU, but the Flex 8 more than held its own in memory and graphics performance. And it actually outperformed the newer T8500. So how did the xTablet T8650 do with its newer-generation processor? Quite well.

It's never totally clear to us how vendors pick one chip and not another. Price can certainly be an issue in high-end Core processors where the chip alone can cost several hundred dollars. But down in the Atom-class of processors, chips cost only a fraction of that, and therefore have less of an impact on the bottom-line, even in value-priced products.

As is, the the xTablet T8650 with its Cherry Trail chip does eke out a performance edge over its lower-end stablemates. CPU performance is up, 3D graphics performance is up considerably, and unlike the low-end Flex 8, the T8650 has a speedy solid state mass storage system. Overall, the T8650 can't, of course, match the raw performance of a much more expensive Intel Core-powered devices, but it feels quick and never fell behind.

Excellent IPS 1280 x 800 pixel capacitive multi-touch display

MobileDemand's quest to explore new and differentiating technologies for their products are also evident in the displays the company has chosen for its rugged tablets over the years. There was, for example, the brilliant (albeit narrowly focussed on certain applications) Pixel Qi screen in the T7200 models, and there's the fact that even in its low-cost offerings, MobileDemand never compromises on display quality. And that certainly holds true for the T8650's screen.

Measuring a compact but not too small 8 inches diagonally — it's noticeably larger than the 7-inch screen of MobileDemand's ultra-rugged xTablet T7200 — it offers well matched WXGA resolution. That's 1280 x 800 pixel in 16:10 wide-format — 30% more pixel that the 1024 x 768 XGA format that was commonly used in rugged tablets (even ones with larger screen sizes) for many years, and is still being used today.

On a 8-inch tablet screen, that translates into 190 dots per inch (dpi), which means it's sharper than, say, Dell's terrific 24-inch UltraSharp 4k monitor, and much sharper than the original iPad. The xTablet T8650 uses 5-point projected capacitive multi-touch for effortless tapping, panning, pinching and zooming, plus executing whatever complex operations need more than just a couple of fingers. And the display, which feels brighter than its listed 370 nits luminance rating, uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology that makes for perfect viewing from all angles.

MobileDemand supplies a capacitive pen with a foot-long lanyard. The pen is of the passive capacitive variety and has the broad tip that works well for tapping and panning, but not for precision work. To MobileDemand's credit, they replaced the usually short and chintzy generic capacitive pens with their rubber tips with a metal mesh tipped stylus that is, albeit still rather wide, more durable, works somewhat better, and is longer and thicker than generic styli. And they also used their standard and very durable tether and stylus holder to store the pen when it's not in use.

Even after the iPhone and then the iPad paved the way for capacitive touch to become dominant, for years the technology was considered unsuitable for rugged tablets. That was in part because of procap's inability to work with gloves and in part because Microsoft Windows, unlike iOS and Android, wasn't designed for finger touch. Today, most new rugged tablets use capacitive touch as customers, who all use capacitive touch smartphones and tablets at home, demand it. Add to that Microsoft's efforts to make Windows more touch-friendly and the increasing availability of capacitive touch-enabled gloves, and it absolutely made sense for MobileDemand to go this route.

That said, the legacy Windows user interface will never be a great match for capacitive touch. For customers who primarily use legacy software, MobileDemand offers an active digitizer option, something that's not available on their lower-end 8-inch tablets.

Workable dual cameras

In addition to its special 3D camera setup, the xTablet T8650 also has two "regular" integrated cameras. The user-facing 2mp camera is for video conferencing, whereas the rear-facing 8mp camera with LED flash can be used for documentation purposes.

Cameras integrated into handheld and tablet computers have historically underperformed compared to even low-end dedicated cameras and, more recently, the cameras available in virtually every smartphone. Things have gotten better on the built-in camera front, but often still not enough to eliminate the need of taking along a dedicated camera or smartphone if photo or video documentation is needed on the job. This remains a concern given that the cameras in leading smartphones are now capable of excellent picture and video quality.

As is, we didn't really have a full and fair opportunity to examine the true capabilities of the xTablet T8650 cameras. That's because the default Windows 10 Camera imaging app only offers almost inexplicably basic functionality, and so we couldn't test all the common camera settings, not even image size. System integrators and most customers will likely want more comprehensive software with all the settings expected from a camera.

In our testing, still the Windows Camera app defaulted to 1920 x 1080 pixel, despite the camera's much larger 8mp imager. Video, likewise, recorded at 1920 x 1080, also known as 1080p. In still photography, auto-focus worked fine, images are reasonably sharp, and the camera does not over-compress images. Video was sharp enough for almost all purposes and did not lag behind. It is, however, almost bizarre that the official Windows 10 Camera is unable to take advantage of a computer's real camera capabilities.

The front camera, though capable of 2-megapixel images, defaulted to 1280 x 720 pixel (720p). It worked well enough for conferencing.

Below are pictures shot with the xTablet T8650 camera in its Windows 10-imposed 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. To see a full-size image of the compilation, click on the picture.

Remarkable ruggedness

Unlike the Flex 8 which is a consumer-grade tablet neatly protected inside a customized rugged case, the xTablet T8650 is a rugged tablet. What can it do that the Flex 8 can't do? And how does it compare to the also rugged xTablet T8500?

Well, the drop spec clearly ups the ante. MIL-STD 810G, 516.6 IV, which mandates 26 repeated drops to up to five non-operating units onto plywood over concrete from 48 inches is the gold standard in the industry. Why? Because if a tablet is dropped while it's being used in a standing or walking position, it'll drop about four feet. No problem for the xTablet T8650. In fact, it can do better than that, much better: the T8650 does those 26 drops with just one unit, operating, and from five feet. There.

The operating temperature range is 14° to 122°F, wider than the restrictive 32° to 120°F range of the Flex 8, but not as wide as the -4° to 140°F range of the T8500. Still, 14° to 122°F covers virtually all intended applications for the T8650.

A big difference between the xTablet T8650 and the low-cost Flex 8 is sealing. Despite its protective casing and nicely implemented protective rubber plug for all I/O ports, the Flex 8 isn't considered a sealed unit and does not have an IP rating. That means no working in the rain. The xTablet T8650, on the other hand, carries an IP65 rating. That means it's totally dustproof and can also handle low pressure water jets from all directions. But it's not quite as well sealed as the T8500 that carries a full IP67 rating.

So while the lower-priced xTablet Flex 8 looks like a fully rugged device but really is a consumer tablet inside an intelligently designed case system, the xTablet T8650 is a rugged tablet. And even though some of the ruggedness specs might suggest otherwise, based on our detailed external and internal examination, we consider the T8650 a significantly tougher system than the T8500.

Bottom line: MobileDemand xTablet T8650

With the new MobileDemand xTablet T8650 8-inch tablet, the company continues its tradition of providing rugged tablets for tough jobs in a variety of sizes, prices and degrees of toughness and performance.

First and foremost, the T8650 seems a very compact, tough, handy and versatile 8-inch Windows 10 tablet. That it can also be used as a pilot and test bed for bleeding edge 3D data capturing and manipulation technology is (quite possibly highly productive) icing on the cake.

Weighing just a pound and a half, no more than the original iPad, MobileDemand's xTablet T8650 provides yet another alternative for customers who want the convenience and ease of use of a consumer media tablet in package that's much tougher and much better protected but still doesn't cost nearly as much as a conventional fully rugged tablet.

Making this possible required remarkably few concessions. The xTablet T8650's quad-core Intel "Cherry Trail" processor may be basic compared to Intel's much more expensive lines of high-end Core processors, but plenty quick enough for almost all tasks.

The xTablet T8650 impresses with a sharp, bright and vibrant display that offers 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, a perfect viewing angle from all directions, and no color or contrast shifts. Its 5-point capacitive multi-touch screen is quick and responsive, and works well with Windows 10 and touch-optimized applications. The included capacitive stylus has the usual broad tip, but it's of the metal mesh variety and works quite well. An active digitizer is optionally available.

For wired connectivity, the xTablet T8650 offers dual full-size USB 3.0 USB ports and micro-HDMI. The 2mp and 8mp cameras are good enough for conferencing and most documentation.

The tablet's rubber and polycarbonate casing is well designed, combining with a sturdy magnesium frame in protecting the innards of the xTablet T8650 from damage and leakage. It is very well sealed, and the operating temperature range of the tablet is wide enough for most applications.

What is special about the T8650, though, is its Intel RealSense 3D camera system that via IR cameras and an IR laser projector has spatial awareness that can be used for an emerging range of productivity-enhancing 3D measuring applications. -- Conrad H. Blickenstorfer, November 2016

MobileDemand xTablet xTablet T8650

Type Windows tablet with Intel RealSense R200 3D camera
Added Added 06/2016, full review 10/2016
Processor Quad-core Intel Cherry Trail X5-Z8550
Processor speed 1.44GHz, up to 2.4GHz burst speed
Scenario Design Power 2 watts
Display Chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000 (12EUs) ?????
OS Windows 10 Professional
Memory 4GB LPDDR3
Display IPS LCD with 370 nits backlight
Display size/res 8.0-inch 1280 x 800 HD (189 ppi, 16:10 aspect ratio)
Digitizer 5-point capacitive multi-touch with glove touch and anti-water drop, capacitive stylus, optional digitizer
Keyboard Onscreen keyboard + optional external
Storage 64GB
Expansion slots Unknown
Housing Polycarbonate housing with integrated protective rubber bumpers, aluminum internal frame
Size 9.2 x 5.9 x 0.87 inches (232 x 150 x 22mm)
Weight 1.87 lbs. (0.85 kg) base configuration
Operating temperature 14° to +122°F (-10° to +50°C)
Ingress protection IP65
Drop/shock MIL-STD 810G, 516.6 IV: 26 repeated drops to 1 operating unit on to plywood over concrete from 60 inches
Tumble unknown
Vibration Unknown
Regulatory FCC Class B, FCC/SAR, cUS, CE, CB, TUV, UL, NOM
Power Standard: 3.7V 6,700mAH 25watt-hours ("up to 9 hours"), high capacity: 3.7V 11,850mAH 43 watt-hours ("up to 15 hours"), hot-swappable via 150mAH backup battery
Cameras 2mp AF camera front, 8mp AF camera w/ flash rear; 3D option: Intel RealSense R200 (long range version)
Cameras Optional integrated 1D or 2D imager
Sensors Gyro, accelerometer, ambient light, proximity
Regulatory FCC Class B , FCC/SAR, cUS, CE, CB, TUV, UL, NOM
Interface 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x micro-HDMI, audio, power, docking
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0,integrated Broadcom BCM4752 GPS; optional Sierra EM7355 4G
Price Starting at US$1,570
Warranty 1 year limited warranty
Contact/web MobileDemand xTablet T8650 web page
Brochure xTablet T8650 PDF spec sheet

(copyright 2016