Xplore Xslate D10, First Take: A tough Android tablet for challenging environments

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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).

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The 10.1-inch Xslate D10 starts at just over 1kg, but accessories will soon increase the bulk and weight. It's powered by a 1.91GHz Intel Atom E3845 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of SSD storage.

Image: Xplore

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.

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The Xslate D10 meets a variety of ruggedness standards, including those pertaiing to hazardous environments.

Images: Xplore

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.

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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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Specifications

Display
Resolution 1366 x 768
Touchscreen Multi-Touch
Miscellaneous
Features Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
Compliant Standards IEC 60529
Memory
RAM 4 GB - DDR3L SDRAM
Communications
Mobile Broadband Access 4G
Cellular Protocol LTE
Environmental Parameters
Max Storage Temperature 158 °F
Header
Model D10
Country Kits North America
Packaged Quantity 1
Modem
Mobile Broadband Access 4G
Mobile Broadband
Service Activation Yes
Cellular Protocol LTE
Interface Provided
Interface HDMI, Micro-HDMI, USB 3.0, dock, headset mini jack (3.5mm)
Qty 1, 2

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