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Getac V110 review: Compact and rugged, with an excellent screen

Written by Sandra Vogel, Contributor
getac-v110-main.jpg

Getac V110

8.0 / 5
Excellent

pros and cons

Pros
  • Exceptionally rugged
  • Great screen for outdoor work
  • GPS and mobile broadband options
  • Excellent carrying handle
  • Two hot-swappable batteries
Cons
  • Lacks a VGA port and an SD card reader
  • Limited internal storage
  • No on-board slot for the stylus
  • Editors' review
  • Specs

Rugged notebooks tend be relatively bulky and heavy compared to their mainstream counterparts -- all the required padding and protection has to go somewhere, after all. Getac's convertible V110, which costs from £2,235 (ex. VAT), is no exception, although by rugged standards this 11.6-inch system can fairly be described as 'thin and light'.

getac-v110-main.jpg
The convertible 11.6-inch Getac V110 weighs 1.98kg and has MIL-TSD810G, IP65 and MIL-STD461F certification.
Image: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Measuring 29.9cm wide by 22.3cm deep by 3.4cm thick, the V110 bristles with outwardly visible toughening features -- and there are yet more on the inside. Not surprisingly, given all that's going on here, the Getac V110 is heavy for an 11.6-inch notebook at 1.98kg.

The V110's magnesium alloy chassis is hidden beneath a metal baseplate and another, contoured, metal sheet on the lid. Try as we might, we were unable to flex the lid at all. Meanwhile there are rubber polymer bumpers on the corners of the base section to protect the notebook's edges from the knocks it will inevitably suffer.

The Getac V110 is certified to MIL-STD-810G and IP65, both of which apply a range of thresholds for resistance to temperature, shock, water and dust ingress, and other stresses. It also meets MIL-STD-461F -- a standard applied to military electronics suppliers relating to electromagnetic compatibility.

These compliances mean every connector and button has special protection. The power button, volume controls and a pair of shortcut buttons are small, flat, rubberised nubs that can be operated with a gloved hand and withstand the ingress of dust and water. The Windows button beneath the screen is also rubberised and protected.

The left, right and back edges are peppered with covers that provide protection for between one and three ports, connectors or bays. Some of the covers have a sliding lock that needs to be released before the cover itself is lifted and hinged down. This double locking mechanism is certainly secure, although if you're wearing gloves it will be difficult to manage. Even without gloves, it's a fiddle to operate the covers.

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On the bottom right edge is a battery bay. Next to this a cover protects a single USB 2.0 port and and audio jack, while a third cover on this side protects an ExpressCard/54 slot and a smartcard slot.

On the back edge the power connector has a protective cover all to itself. Another cover hides two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. The final cover on the back edge provides protection for a serial port and Ethernet port. There are just two covers on the left edge, behind which are the hard drive and a second battery. The batteries can be hot-swapped. Notable absentees from the roster of I/O interfaces are an SD card reader and a VGA port.

getac-v110-side.jpg
The sides and back of the V110 have hinged covers, some lockable, that protect the system's ports and slots.
Image: Getac

There's a solid catch on the front of the notebook to secure the lid section in transit. Protrusions on the upper left and right of the screen edge, both inside and out, drop into holes on the front left and right of the base to serve as a simple securing mechanism when the lid is closed and when you've swivelled the screen outwards to engage tablet mode. The pivot is a central hinge and the screen will only turn fully in an anti-clockwise direction.

The screen is capacitive, and a stylus is provided to use in addition to your fingertips. The stylus has a very secure housing in the underside of the notebook's carrying handle. If you're not using the handle, which is fitted via two straps on the front of the chassis, the stylus can be tethered to the notebook with a lanyard. However, there's no storage slot on the notebook chassis itself, presumably because this would be difficult to secure against dust or water ingress.

The 11.6-inch screen has a resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels (135ppi). It has a matte finish and features Getac's LumiBond technology that's designed to enhance readability. This essentially involves bonding together the touch panel, display glass and LCD into a single unit. We found that the screen offered excellent outdoor viewability, aalong with very good viewing angles and 800-nit brightness.

getac-v110-keyboard.jpg
The V110's spill-resistant keyboard, which uses red backlighting, is comfortable to type on, although the Enter key is on the small side.
Image: Getac

The keyboard is relatively large and uses red backlighting. The backlight colour has been selected so that it does not reflect back onto the user; it's certainly easier on the eye than white backlighting, and makes typing in completely dark conditions more comfortable. A waterproof underlayer offers spill-protection. The keyboard is a little clicky for our taste, and the Enter key is too small -- we kept mishitting it. But on the whole this is a comfortable keyboard to type on.

Our review sample came with Windows 8.1 Pro, a 1.9GHz-2.5GHz Intel Core i5-4300U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. A range of other configurations is available, including a Core i7 processor, but you can't specify a bigger SSD.

There are plenty of security features, including vPro and TPM 1.2 as well as the option for RFID and contactless smartcard facilities.

You can opt for a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera to supplement the HD webcam that sits above the screen. GPS and mobile broadband are available as options, while 802.11ac wi-fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are included as standard. There's no NFC support though.

As far as performance is concerned, the Getac V110's Windows Experience Index (WEI), which corresponds to the benchmark for the lowest-scoring component, is 5.5 (out of 9.9). This two lowest ratings are both for the integrated HD Graphics 4400 GPU; the remaining component scores are all well over 7.0:

Processor 7.3
Memory (RAM) 7.5
Graphics 5.9
Gaming graphics 5.5
Primary hard disk 8.2

With two 2,100mAh batteries, Getac says you can expect up to 13 hours of life from a full charge. If you have access to spare batteries, the twin bays and hot-swapping support offer the potential for much longer mains-free life.

Conclusion

The Getac V110 is more attractive than larger fully rugged notebooks because it's lighter, smaller and therefore more portable. The screen is excellent for outdoor viewing, and the multiple wireless and GPS options make this a highly adaptable, although expensive, notebook.

While the tabs protecting ports and connectors are doubtless effective in field tests, they may prove impractical for some users because their two-phase locking system is fiddly for gloved hands. We'd have liked a slot for the stylus on the system's chassis rather than just the carrying handle, and some potential buyers will doubtless miss an SD card reader and a VGA port.