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Algiz 10X: ready for the rough and tumble


By GeoConnexion - 14th January 2014 - 12:11

GeoConnexion run a rule over Handheld Group’s latest offering which, if not the fastest kid on the block, defies the elements to offer a tough, all-weather tablet for professional useâ©

Introduced a little over a year ago by the Handheld Group, this 10.1” ultra-rugged tablet supersedes the now-discontinued 10.4” Algiz 10 and provides a bigger brother for the 7” Algiz 7 slate. As such, it will appeal to those seeking more screen real estate and higher resolution graphics (1366 x 768 pixel) for full Windows-based applications in the harshest of environments.â©

At a list price of €2,124, it is not cheap, but units built to the IP65 environmental standard and able to withstand MIL-STD-810G testing inevitably carry a premium. The Algiz 10X is certainly made for the job, with its fully-sealed casing, chunky corner bumpers and snugly fitting rubberised connector covers all making for a knock and drop-proof tablet.

Over the long-term, this durability may well add up to a lower total cost of ownership, especially in the light of Handheld’s recently-launched MaxCare service plan. It all makes sense if one believes the findings from independent research firm VDC, which show that using a commercial or non-rugged device will cost about 65 per cent more per year than using a fully rugged device.â©

Less of a handfulâ©

In use, the resistive touchscreen may seem somewhat archaic compared to consumer-grade tablets and smartphones with capacitive touch, but is surprisingly responsive and well-suited to gloved fingers. A tethered stylus copes with more delicate inputs and the on-screen keyboard lends itself to quick and efficient text entry. All good stuff. But what sets the display apart is Handheld’s MaxView technology. This unique optical bonding process reduces reflectivity and improves screen clarity in varying light conditions, even intense sunlight. â©

Under the bonnetâ©

Using Performance Test from PassMark Software we achieved a CPU mark of 648, which is pretty much in line with an average mark of 656 (based on 12 benchmark results). Using the same software, the Algiz 10X achieved an overall performance score of 251.2, a marked improvement on the Algiz XRW ultra-rugged notebook, with its 2.0GHz Atom Z550 CPU (see table - download fromthe pdf below). â©

One area of weakness is graphics performance. Despite support for full HD video play-back, the lack of memory for the dedicated GPU on the N2800’s integrated GMA 3600 chip may leave graphics-intensive applications struggling. For example, we found that loading and rendering four layers from a 100x100 km shapefile tile drawn from Ordnance Survey’s OpenData VectorMap District took the best part of two minutes using the Open Source QGIS platform.â©

The standard 5,300mAh lithium-ion battery, while fully protected against the elements, is firmly secured in a recess on the rear of the tablet and is quickly and easily detached by releasing two clips. We put it through its paces using the BatteryMon utility from PassMark. Although rated at 39.1Wh, we measured the battery’s actual power as 37.6Wh. With Windows power options set to power saver and with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS disabled, the power draw of 6.9Wh indicated around 5.5 hours of use from a full charge. This fell to less than 3.5 hours, with power options set to high performance, communications and GPS enabled, and screen brightness set to maximum. â©

This would suggest that users contemplating extended field-working should consider investing in more than one hot-swappable standard battery or, alternatively, upgrade to the optional 77Wh battery. â©

Rapid fixâ©

Connectivity is another strong point of the Algiz 10X, which comes with a fully integrated WWAN modem and antennae from Sierra Wireless that offer support for both HSPA and CDMA networks. The modem is Gobi 3000-ready and specifying this as an optional extra adds €186 to the Algiz 10X list price. â©

For short-range communications, the Algiz 10X incorporates the latest Bluetooth specification (Bluetooth 4.0) for fast, energy-efficient wireless connections. Physical connectivity is aided by the provision of dual USB 2.0 ports, a 9-pin serial RS232 port, VGA socket, an RH45 10/100/1000 LAN connector, a microSD slot and a vehicle dock. A vehicle cradle and charger, as well as a pole-mount solution are available as optional extras, as are external GSM and GPS antenna inputs and a carry case.â©

Getting on with the jobâ©

A rear-facing 5MP camera with LED flash completes the line-up of a practical and flexible field-proof tablet, one that positions itself as a powerful and accurate tool for mapping, surveying and intensive data capture across a range of public and private sector activities. As Handheld says, you don’t have to worry about the technology – just let it do its job while you do yours. And from what we can see, it’s likely to be a job well done.

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