High-performance, rugged 10.1-inch tablet for survey work and demanding GIS applications
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
While Trimble is best known for its GPS products and expertise, the company integrates all sorts of positioning technologies (GPS, laser, optical and inertial) with application software, wireless communications, and services to provide complete commercial solutions. But Trimble also offers rugged mobile computing hardware, hardware that's unfailingly sensible, robust, mature and, of course, a perfect match for the company's endless variety of positioning technologies and applications. The Trimble T10, introduced September 26, 2017, is a prime example.
Trimble describes the new T10 tablet as a rugged, high-performance data processing platform with the power of a high-end laptop, a tool suitable for a variety of survey and Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and enhancing efficiencies for geospatial users in the field.
And this emphasis on performance is indeed what differentiates the T10. In general, the various mobile computing products offered by a number of Trimble divisions are primarily built to efficiently and reliably collect a variety of positioning data in the field for later processing and analysis on brawnier servers back in the office. The new T10, on the other hand, brings Intel Core processing power to the equation. It's powerful enough to crunch data like a high-end laptop and run complex, resource-intensive GIS applications right there in the field.
It does all that in a tough tablet with a manageable footprint of 11.1 x 7.7 inches (i.e. a tad less than a standard sheet of paper) and weighing an also quite manageable three pounds.
It's also a modern, attractive design that, thanks to an optional detachable metal 81-key keyboard with a flip-out stand, easily turns into a 2-in-1 hybrid. The keyboard has a 3-1/4 x 2 inch capacitive touchpad with multi-touch capability. The standard 12 function keys also provide dedicated Windows 10 features such as Cortana, share, connect, and settings.
Great procap display
The Trimble T10 impresses as a thoroughly professional tool in every respect, providing the features and performance expected of a modern high-end rugged tablet. The T10's 10.1-inch display offers full 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution, making for 16:10 aspect ratio and a sharp 224 pixels per inch.
That's the same pixel density as Apple's retina iMacs and MacBooks, and it makes the T10 display very pleasant to use and work on. When it comes to mapping, GIS and virtually any positioning technology, sharper is better, and the Trimble T10 certainly delivers. Sharpness is complemented by perfect horizontal and vertical viewing angles. Colors, brightness and contrast remain true and unchanged when viewed from above, below, left and right.
The display is scratch-resistant, uses anti-reflective coating, and has a strong backlight that can generate luminance up to 800 nits (a standard laptop has around 200 nits, a bright consumer tablet about 400 nits).
Like almost all tablets today, the Trimble T10 uses 10-point capacitive multi-touch. For Trimble users who need maximum precision, there's optional active pressure-sensitive pen powered by a AAAA battery.
A high-performance platform
Those who need as much mobile computing power as possible will be very pleased with the T10. It packs a punch in the form of a high-end Intel 6th generation "Skylake" Core i7-6500U processor with a base clock speed of 2.5GHz and capable of turbo speeds up to 3.1GHz. The chip includes Intel HD Graphics 520 with 24 execution units.
There is 8GB of DDR3L DRAM and mass storage comes in the form of Solid State Disk with capacities of 256GB or 512GB. There are no hard disk options — SSD is much faster and far less prone to damage.
Rugged tablets usually don't have a lot of onboard connectors, and the Trimble T10 is no exception. The tablet offers a 3.5mm audio jack, a power jack, and a single standard USB 3.0 port. An optional office dock adds dual DisplayPort outputs that support 4K UHD resolution, four USB ports, and RJ45 LAN.
On the wireless side, there's 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth version 4.0 LE, and optional 4G LTE and Cirronet mobile broadband. The integrated u-blox Neo-M8T GNSS receiver supports several positioning protocols, including L1 GPS, the Russian GLONASS, the Japanese QZSS, and the Chinese BeiDou. Real-time DGPS can be handled via a satellite-based augmentation system (WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, GAGAN). Expect SBAS accuracy in the two to five meter range.
For power, the T10's standard hot-swappable battery packs 61.6 watt-hours. An optional 91 watt-hour pack is available, which Trimble says is good for 12 hours with the GPS on.
Tough and rugged
While many rugged products broadcast their toughness with aggressive design, Trimble is usually more discrete. The Ranger, Juno, Nomad, Yuma and Kenai devices all sports ruggedly handsome designs without being in-your-face. A splash of colors makes it so the tool can easily be seen. Form follows function, and for a tablet used in the field that means it must be able to operate in extreme temperatures and survive drops, vibration, dust and rain and hail and more.
The Trimble T10 tablet has a wide -4 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit operating temperature range. It can survive the obligatory 26 drops from four feet onto plywood over concrete. It sports an IP65 ingress protection rating, where the 6 stands for total protection against dust, and the 5 for protection against low pressure water jets from all directions. Trimble also claims MIL-STD-810G testing for shock and vibration, as well as MIL-STD-461F certification for EMI and EMC tolerance. Here it would be good to see more detailed information in the spec sheet and promotional materials.
Based on our experience with prior Trimble products, we expect the T10 to be exceptionally well made and entirely capable of performing duty in tough working environments.
Bottom Line: Trimble T10
With the T10, Trimble adds a modern 10-inch class Windows tablet to its lineup that's not only tough and reliable for outdoor and frontline jobs, but also offers the kind of high-end performance needed for complex GIS applications.
The T10 offers enough display real estate for work in the field, high resolution for detailed mapping and location applications, an active pen option, and enough screen brightness to work outdoors even in full daylight.
The T10 runs Windows 10 IoT Enterprise on a powerful Intel "Skylake" processor, uses fast solid state storage, and the optional detachable keyboard converts the T10 into a hybrid 2-in-1 device that can instantly provide full laptop functionality without the extra size and weight of a permanently attached keyboard.
Overall a very attractive proposition.