With the tablet form factor having gained universal acceptance, there is now a substantial market opportunity for business and enterprise-oriented versions that are significantly more durable than all those ultra-thin consumer media tablets.
San Jose, Calif.-based DT Research is in a good position taking advantage of that trend, having gathered experience in the professional-strength tablet market since 1995. The DT313H, introduced in April 2014, extends the company's significant roster into the area of larger-screen tablets that address the needs of those who are used to, and need, the larger display real estate of a notebook.
While the majority of DT Research tablets (and there are quite a few) have a distinctly rugged look with black or dark-gray housings and prominent rubber bumpers on their corners, the new DT313H models feature a modern, businesslike design that's instantly at home in any enterprise. That makes sense as the DT313H is neither a POS tablet, nor an extreme design for really rough conditions out there, but just a well-made, well-conceived business class tablet for sales floors, warehouses, classrooms, field offices, and more.
Measuring 13.5 x 8.5 x 0.75 inches and weighing just two pounds, the DT313H has roughly the footprint of a 13.3-inch MacBook Air, is barely thicker than the sleek Apple laptop, but weighs a full pound less. That's quite an accomplishment given the tablet's large screen and sturdy construction! And unlike media tablets, the DT313H sports such professional grade features as optional RFID and Smart Card readers, and also a secondary, externally mounted battery (which it probably needs given the modest 28 watt-hours of the standard battery). On the wireless communications side, the DT313H comes with dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Unlike most of the smaller DT Research tablets that are based on Intel Atom processors, the DT313H packs considerably more processor punch in the form of a powerful 1.8GHz Intel "Haswell" Core i7-4500U. This is the processor used by DT Research in pre-production models and may not be the final configuration. In any case, both DT313H models will offer much more performance than any of the company's Atom-based POS tablets.
On the ruggedness side, the ABS + PC plastics enclosure combined with those rubber bumpers suggest an ability to weather quite a bit of abuse. The specs state IP54 sealing for the front panel, which means it's pretty much protected against dust, and also protected against water spray, though a bit may get in. The operating temperature range is a modest 32 to 104 degrees. What these specs mean is that this tablet was designed to be "business-rugged" and capable of handling what might happen during a day on the job, rather than drops and rain and tough handling outdoors in extreme environments.
Note that the DT313H is available in two versions, one the standard model and the other the DT313H-MD for healthcare environments. The difference is an anti-microbial enclosure. Also note that this DT Research tablet is available with a variety of operating systems, with particular emphasis on embedded versions. The idea with those is to combine the functionality and familiarity of Windows with specific features geared towards commercial device applications (see Windows Embedded 8 Industry).
Overall, the DT398 is an attractive choice for anyone who needs a performance-oriented Windows tablet on jobs where a fragile, slender glossy media tablet just won't do. And it also addresses many customer requests for a larger screen.
To see the complete DT Research tablet lineup, see the DT Research tablet comparison table.