While it's possible to protect a standard tablet using a shell case, field service engineers and people working in hazardous environments require something altogether more robust. That's where devices like the Xplore Xslate D10 come into play. This is a fully rugged Android 5.1 tablet featuring a 10.1-inch IPS screen with 500-nit brightness for easy outdoor viewing.
The Xslate D10 can withstand multiple drops of up to 5 feet (1.52m) and meets familiar ruggedness standards such as MIL-STD-810G and IP65 ('dust tight' and protected against 'powerful water jets'). It also complies with the C1Z2 and ATEX standards, both of which cater for 'hazardous locations' such as mining and petrochemical manufacture (the former is a North American standard, the latter European).
Clearly, all this means the device is somewhat larger and heavier than a standard Android 10.1-inch tablet. Its starting weight of 1.09kg is a clue to the magnesium alloy frame and bulky rubberised exterior sides, which are even fatter at the corners than they are along the long and short edges. These contribute to an overall size of 281mm wide by 180mm deep by 22mm thick.
And that's before you factor in the added size and weight of the hand-hold strap that can be affixed to the back and which incorporates a rather clever kickstand, or the top handle that includes a slot for a stylus. My review sample came with both of these accessories fitted, and as a result I actually had access to two styluses -- one in the handle and a second, somewhat stumpy, one very firmly clipped onto the back of the chassis. Both are tethered so they can't be lost.
All ports and connectors are protected by hinged rubber covers. As standard you get a MicroSD card slot, a Micro-SIM card slot, a Micro-HDMI connector and a 3.5mm headset jack. Unusually for any tablet, there are two full-size USB 3.0 ports and an RJ-45 Ethernet port. A 5-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front camera round things off. On the bottom edge there's a docking connector for accessories like car mounts and a keyboard. Other optional modules include barcode scanning, NFC and HDMI-in.
The processor is a 1.91GHz quad-core Intel Atom E3845 supported by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. This should provide the horsepower required by field service engineers and other vertical-market users.
Android gets a security boost from a range of additions, including TPM 1.2 and Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) malware protection. Battery life is clearly important for this device's use cases, and while the internal battery provides up to eight hours, additional external hot-swappable batteries can extend this to up to 20 hours.
The upshot is a tablet that, if not exactly designed for maximum portability, is suitable for use in a variety of working environments, including hazardous ones.
The price of such a robust and well-protected Android tablet is not small. The base unit, including 4G wireless and a three-year warranty, costs £1,580 (ex. VAT). Start adding extras like a second battery, for example, the carry handle or back handle, and the price will escalate.
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|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Features||Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2|
|Compliant Standards||IEC 60529|
|RAM||4 GB - DDR3L SDRAM|
|Mobile Broadband Access||4G|
|Max Storage Temperature||158 °F|
|Country Kits||North America|
|Mobile Broadband Access||4G|
|Interface||HDMI, Micro-HDMI, USB 3.0, dock, headset mini jack (3.5mm)|