Acer's New Ruggedized Tablets Can Defend Themselves Just Fine

eWEEK PRODUCT REVIEW: With its new Enduro line of devices--which includes ruggedized laptops and notebooks--Acer is jumping right in to compete with more established device makers such as Dell, Samsung and Panasonic.

Acer.T1.Tablet

The five most important things you should know about Acer's new Enduro T1 ruggedized tablet are:

  1. It definitely can defend itself; it's the tablet equivalent of a Hummer H1--you can't kill it.
  2. The battery life is much better than advertised; the company says 10 hours, but our experience was that you can leave it on all day, use it for all kinds of apps, and then count on it to have power remaining. We noted that 12 to 14 hours was a more accurate battery time estimate.
  3. The "10.1-inch" version is indeed sized as advertised; looked like less at first, but it's not;
  4. The screen is smaller than most people are used to using for a tablet, but just think of it as much larger than a phone; in that context, you'll feel better about using it.
  5. The cameras are good enough for doing what it needs to do on a job, such as insurance or industrial usages; just don't expect it to provide an artistic palette for photographers.

With its new Enduro line of devices--which includes ruggedized laptops and notebooks--Acer is jumping right in to compete with more established device makers such as Dell, Samsung and Panasonic. It's a formidable market to be joining, but there apparently is a large need for these devices--especially in use cases such as retail, manufacturing, warehousing and remote locations with extreme weather. 

The fact is, stuff happens all the time to these powerful IT devices, and that stuff is usually not good. Phones, tablets, laptops, watches--they all get dropped, stepped upon, left behind in vehicles, bounced around in transit and generally misused all the time, no matter how much we try to baby them. If a device is made tough on the outside and solid on the inside so as to withstand a high percentage of these knocks and bumps, the longer it'll be in service and of good use to its owner and the company to which both belong. Multiply long-lived devices by a greater number of employees, and the economics clearly bear themselves out as favorable to CFOs.

Acer is much more well known for its relatively light, inexpensive, yet reliable business and consumer notebooks and laptops, but it's branching out now in this new category because the market is demanding it. More and more people are working in far-flung places, cloud services are more accessible in these places, and the coming of 5G connectivity is only going to drive these trends faster.

Three new ruggedized tablets coming out

The Taiwan-based device company is planning to bring to market two ruggedized Enduro laptops and three Enduro tablets this fall. The low hanging-fruit targets are emergency first responders, as well as field and manufacturing workers who need reliable portable devices despite sometimes-hostile conditions. Users can eventually expect to see U.S. Military Standard (MIL) and Ingress Protection (IP) ratings for each device.

This review will focus only on the T1 tablet, which is a little heavy but feels solid your hand and is responsive to the touch. In this case, one would expect it to be a bit on the heavy side; I would be very suspect if it weren't.

The T1 is available either as a 10.1-inch Windows 10 tablet, or an 8-inch Android 9.0 tablet. The Android version runs on a MediaTek MT8385 quad-core ARM processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 64GB eMMC storage drive. Both tablets achieved MIL-STD 810G and IP54 certification.

Some technical aspects of the T1

The Windows version runs on a quad-core Celeron N3450 processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Intel Graphics 500, and a 64GB eMMC drive. Battery life is rated at 10 hours, but as we indicated previously, we think it's actually better than that. 

As for the audio features, the T1 has a single speaker, an integrated microphone and a 3.5 mm jack input for connecting headphones. It also has a double webcam – front and rear – with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels and 2560 x 1920 pixels respectively. The battery is a 37Wh two-cell unit that supports fast charging via 45W USB Type-C.

In connectivity, the Enduro features a dual-band WiFi module (2.4GHz / 5GHz) for a stable connection, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC optional and on the interfaces: micro HDMI, USB 3.2, USB Type-C for the power supply, keyboard connector, microSD card reader and USB 2.0. The various power buttons, volume adjustment, access to Windows functions and the two programmables are all arranged on the sides of the screen and not on the side edge as in most tablets.

Some other facts on the T1 Tablet:

  • The Enduro T1 can double as a 10.1-inch notebook via an optional portfolio keyboard. 
  • The device’s MIL-STD 810G4 and IP54 certifications, combined with an Intel Celeron processor and 64GB of eMMC storage space, make it a reliable option for work while traveling. 
  • The T1 is a durable Android tablet designed especially for smart retail, warehouse and factory workers. MIL-STD 810G5 and IP54 certified, the device also features a range of optional accessories and programmable keys that enable it to be adapted to a variety of unique environments. 
  • It can also be used while wearing gloves.
  • The armored aluminum and rubber frame protects it from falls (up to 122 cm), enables the tablet to withstand high and low temperatures, low pressure, dust and sand, humidity, rain and strong vibrations. The Enduro T1 series features a very sensitive capacitive touch display, capable of recognizing the pressure of fingers wet or covered by gloves.

Pricing and Availability

The Android version of the Enduro T1 is priced at $341.99 on CDW.com

The Windows version of the tablet is priced at $555.29 on Colamco.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...