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Motion F5m Tablet PC

Motion tweaks their lightweight rugged tablet for increased performance and enhanced usability
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

On February 3rd, 2015 — a year and a half after the prior generation was introduced — tablet pioneer Motion, which is now part of Xplore Technologies, introduced the latest generation of its F5 and C5 series of rugged tablets—the former geared towards use in the field, the latter for use in healthcare settings. In this overview we'll describe the new F5m; the C5m was afforded the same enhancements.

Note that Motion has been updating its C5/F5 platform meticulously snce its initial launch a few years ago. First was the upgrade to the F5v, then a significant upgrade to the F5t, then somewhat more subtle enhancements to the F5te. The table below shows the primary differences between the new F5m and its immedaite F5t predecessor:

Motion F5m vs. Motion F5t
Device Motion F5m (2015) Motion F5te (2013)
CPU best Core i7-5600U (2.6/3.2GHz) Core i7-3667U (2.0/3.2GHz)
CPU better Core i5-5200U (2.2/2.7GHz) Core i5-3337U (1.8/2.6GHz)
CPU good Core i3-5005U (2.0GHz) Core i3-3227U (1.9GHz)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5500 Intel HD Graphics 4000
OS Win 7, Win 8.1 Win 7, Win 8
RAM 4/8/16GB 2/4/8GB
Mass Storage m.2 64/128/256GB mSATA 64/128/256GB
Cameras 2mp front, 8mp rear 1.3mp front, 3mp rear
Drop 4-foot 3-foot
Battery life over 8 hours up to 6 hours

And here's our commentray on the changes, what they mean, and why they matter:

  • In the engine compartment, there's a significant boost thanks to a two generation jump from 3rd gen "Ivy Bridge" to state-of-the-art 5th gen Intel "Broadwell" core processors. As before, customers have their choice of an i3, i5, and i7 processor, depending on their requirements. Expect a significant boost in overall performance, and especially in graphics. Broadwell processors are also significantly more power efficienty — whereas Motion clained up to 6 hours from the old model, the new one is good for "over 8 hours." That's a big change.

  • Memory and mass storage have been expanded yet again. Maximum RAM is now 16GB, up from 8GB. Drive capacities remain unchanged at 64/128/256GB, but mSATA SSDs have given way to newer m.2 SSDs, and a self-encrypting 256GB SSD is available.

  • Wireless communication is faster thanks to a switch to 802.11ac WiFi, and to ultra-fast Gobi 4G XLTE for optional wireless broadband.

  • Camera resolution went from 1.3 to 2.0 megapixel in the front, and from 3 to 8 megapixel in the rear.

  • The drop spec is now listed as 4 feet instead of 3 feet. That can make the difference between surviving routine drops and failure.

Motion also offers a Multi-Bay Battery Charger accessory that charges up to five batteries at the same time. That comes in handy for multi-user work groups that benefit from always having freshly charged batteries in a central place.

Do realize that the Motion F5m is not just another tablet seeking to ride the crest of the tablet juggernaut. Motion has been making tablets, and nothing but tablets, for over a decade. They've offered among the best implementations of the Microsoft Tablet PC platform that made its debut in 2002, often against considerable odds. They've consistently advanced the state of the art with numerous first and better ideas. They've consistently been quick to make technological advances available to their customers. And they always strove to offer the absolute best in their products. Examples are the their early (2009) use of Corning's "Gorilla Glass" before everyone else realized the importance of shatter-proof, strengthened glass. And Motion's stunning AFFS+ display with absolutely perfect viewing angles remains the very best.

It cannot have been easy for Motion spend all these years trying to explain and demonstrate the benefits and advantages of the tablet form factor to a largely reluctant public that was put off by the challenges of using Windows on a tablet, just to then see the iPad swoop in and then all those Android media tablets. That certainly validated Motion's belief in tablets, and it was probably quite tempting to jump ship and try to cash in on the tablet popularity with a hardened Android tablet for business and the field. But that would have meant to obsolete their customers' tablet, accessories, and peripheral infrastructure, and that's not what a responsible company does.

For a much more detailed review of this remarkable tablet platform, read RuggedPCReview's comprehensive hands-on analysis and testing of the Motion F5t, the immediate predecessor of the newly announced F5te. The information in that report remains largely relevant as the basics of the F5 platform haven't changed. You'll also learn more about the F5's history and background, its components, and how it handles in day-to-day use.

Specifications: Motion F5m
Status Added 02/2015, updated 03/2016
Form-factor Rugged tablet
OS Windows 7 Pro (64-bit)
Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit)
Processor Intel Core i7-5600U
Intel Core i5-5200U
Intel Core i3-5005U
CPU Speed 2.6GHz (3.2GHz with Turbo)
2.2GHz (2.7GHz with Turbo)
2.0GHz (no turbo)
Chipset TBA
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5500
Standard/Max RAM 4GB/8GB/16GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Disk/drive m.2 SSD 64/128/256GB, optional self-encrypting m.2 SED
Optical drive Optional external
Card slots None
Display type Standard of View Anywhere AFFS+ LCD with Gorilla Glass
Display size/res 10.4"/1024 x 768 pixel
Digitizer/pens 10-point projected capacitive multi-touch + active pen
Keyboard/scale Onscreen or external USB/BT keyboard
Sealing IP54
Drop MIL-STD-810G: 26 drops from four feet
Temperature 14° to 131°F (-10° to 55°C)
Humidity MIL-STD-810G
Altitude MIL-STD-810G
Safety Optiona: Class I Division 2 certified
Housing Magnesium-alloy internal frame, chemical-resistant resin upper faceplate and lower backplate, overmolded with elastomer
Size (WxHxD) 10.0 x 10.0 x 0.95 inches (256 x 256 x 24.3 mm)
Weight 3.3 lbs. (1.5kg)
Power 40 WHr Lithium-Ion ("over 6.0 hours"), hot-swappable
Camera 2.0mp front-facing webcam, 8.0mp rear-facing with illuminator
Security Fingerprint reader, TPM 1.2, optional Smart Card and Computrace
Interface 1 x USB 3.0 port, docking, Fingerprint Reader, 2 mic; optional 13.56MHz RFID HF, 1D/2D barcode scanner
Communications Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n plus Bluetooth 4.0; optional integrated Gobi, optional GPS module (WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS)
List price Inquire
Web page Motion F5m page
Brochure Motion F5m brochure
Warranty 3 year standard warranty

Xplore Technologies
14000 Summit Drive, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78728, USA
Tel: (888) 449-7567
Tel: (512) 336-7797
Web: www.xploretech.com