GCN LAB REVIEW—Rugged devices
Small convertable is useful, but not durable
- By John Breeden II
- Oct 26, 2009
Pros: Works well in laptop or tablet mode; small, light.
Cons: Poor battery life, died in shock testing.
Ease of use: A
The Getac V100 is a tiny laptop PC that also can convert into a tablet PC. And at only 4.9 pounds, it’s extremely light for a rugged computer.
The V100 we tested was the Super model, as opposed to the Basic. Ours cost $3,895 and came with a bright 1,200-lumen, 10.4-inch LCD that combats even fairly bright sunlight.
Surprisingly, the V100 has extremely loud and clear speakers, something we didn’t expect to hear on such a tiny unit. And the V100 is also fast, with a 1.4 GHz Intel Penryn SU9400 dual-core processor that was able to score 556 on the Passmark Performance Test benchmark.
The V100 is extremely easy to use and has a lot of features for such a small PC. It has two USB ports on the left side of the unit, and they’re easy to reach in tablet or laptop mode. Converting the unit between the two modes is done by simply twisting the screen and then locking it down when going from laptop to tablet. The locking mechanism is a little clunky in laptop form, but you can get used to it, and it does hold the system together well when running as a tablet.
Battery life was disappointing on the V100, with our worst-case scenario test ending in only 2 hours, 6 minutes, the worst time in the review for laptops. Activating power-saving features and using it more normally would add to this time.
The V100 didn’t mind extreme temperatures. After two hours in the GCN Rainforest environment with exposure to a 120-degree Fahrenheit temperature and near 100 percent humidity, it still managed to score 550 on the benchmark, meaning it can run fine even when the heat is really on.
The biggest problem with the V100 is that it totally fell apart during shock testing, to the point where the operating system no longer loaded. Everything seemed fine until the test hit 24 inches, when a small metal clip holding the carrying strap snapped, which was minor. Then during the 36-inch drops, the latch that locks the screen down over the keyboard for tablet mode also snapped. Three drops from completion of the test, the unit refused to boot anymore for its routine damage check. The military gives companies five units to complete shock testing, so that if one breaks another can tag-team into its place. But we only had one unit, like most troops in the field, so the V100 failed this test. It was the only system to completely fail in the review.
The V100 is a nice unit if you need something tiny, but it’s not nearly as rugged as billed, especially in terms of protection against shock. If you’re going to use a V100, be sure not to drop it.
Getac, 866-394-3822, www.getac.com
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.