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3rd generation of Getac's rugged thin & light 11.6-inch tablet goes Skylake, ups speed, versatility, usability and security.
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

On May 17, 2016, Getac introduced the 3rd generation F110 fully rugged tablet computer. It's a substantial upgrade to the company's popular large-screen tablet. This time, Getac went for maximum speed and security. That's what their customers in public safety/military, field service, transportation and logistics, and professional services have been asking for. And Getac listened.

It seems like only yesterday that Getac introduced its almost impossibly thin and light fully rugged large screen F110 tablet. It was under an inch thick, weighed just over three pounds, carried IP65 sealing, and had an 11.6-inch display. And it used the very latest technology, too — like Intel's vaunted 4th generation "Haswell" processors.

But Getac did not rest on its high-tech laurels. Just over a year later the company doubled up with an upgrade to Intel's then bleeding-edge 5th generation "Broadwell" Core processors. And now they did it again. Just another year later and Getac customers get the benefit of a switch to Intel's 6th generation of "Skylake" chips and a host of other advances.

A thoroughly modern rugged tablet platform

But before we get into the details of the latest upgrade, a few words about the F110 platform. This is not just a fortified consumer tablet, nor is it a slimmed-down version of an old-style rugged tablet. Instead, it's a reinvention of what a tough, durable, versatile tablet for deployment in the field should be, one that can take punishment, and survive bumps and drops and intense liquid exposure. Yet also one that provides state-of-the-art performance and functionality.

Getac calls the F110 a large screen tablet. That's because its display measures 11.6 inches diagonally. That means a good deal more screen real estate than 10-inch tablets have. How much more? The F110's screen is 29% larger than that of the iPad, and has almost three times as much screen surface than a typical 7-inch tablet. For a fully rugged Windows tablet that's important. For Windows, larger is almost always better, and especially so when wearing gloves or using classic apps and the classic desktop.

Let's talk speed

But let's talk performance and efficiency, as that's what the 3rd gen F110 is all about. In the past, the realities of long product cycles and (relatively) low volumes in industrial and vertical markets meant technology was always a generation or two behind. That's no longer acceptable to today's customers.

A long time ago one of Intel's co-founders, Gordon Moore, stated that the number of transistors on a given surface area would double every 24 months. This became known as Moore's Law, and Intel has built its processor development strategy around it. In what Intel calls a 12-month "Tick-Tock" cycle, the company shrinks transistor size (so that more fit onto a chip) one year, and then takes advantage of the physics of the shrunken size to redesign the circuitry the next. In this system, Skylake, the Intel 6th generation of Core processors used in the F110, is a "tock" processor redesign and optimization after the 5th generation "Broadwell" "tick" that shrank lithography.

So while being "current" in the use of Intel processors is fleeting, for now the 3rd generation F110 is state-of-the-art under the hood, giving customers the latest and greatest that's available. Here's what customers can choose from:

Getac F110: Available Processor Options
Available F110 CPUs Intel Core i7 Intel Core i7 Intel Core i5 Intel Core i5
Model 6600U 6500U 6300U 6200U
Cores/Threads 2/4 2/4 2/4 2/4
Base Clock Speed 2.60 GHz 2.50 GHz 2.40 GHz 2.30 GHz
Turbo Speed 3.40 GHz 3.10 GHz 3.00 GHz 2.80 GHz
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 15 watts 15 watts 15 watts 15 watts
Smart Cache 4MB 4MB 3MB 3MB
Integrated graphics HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 520 HD Graphics 520
Graphics base speed 300 MHz 300 MHz 300 MHz 300 MHz
Graphics max speed 1.05 GHz 1.05 GHz 1.00 GHz 1.00 GHz
Intel Stable Image Platform Program Yes No No No
Intel TSX-NI Yes No Yes No
Intel Trusted Execution Yes No Yes No
Intel vPro Yes No Yes No

Note that for the new F110, Getac didn't bother with offering a representative of the low end of the Core processor family which lacks such popular features as Intel's "turbo" mode. Instead, there are the i5-6200U and i5-6300U, which differ a bit in speed and certain baked-in Intel technologies that may be irrelevant to most customers, but vitally important to some. On the high end, the top-of-the-line is the i7-6600U, which is the fastest of the lot, with the also available i7-6500U just a bit slower, but missing some possibly needed Intel technologies.

Overall, these processors are not very different from one another, all having the same graphics, the same number of cores and threads, and mostly the same features. To view the full spec table for these four CPUs, see here.

Baked-in technologies matter

For a brief explanation of those Intel technologies that some of the chips available for the F110 have or don't have: The extra security and manageability capabilities of vPro, especially, are required in many enterprise deployments (see Wiki Intel vPro). TSX-NI Transactional Synchronization Extensions New Instructions) helps make parallel operations more efficient via improved control of locks in software (see Wiki TSX), SIPP (Stable Image Platform Program) allows deployment of standardized, stable image PC platforms for at least 15 months (see Intel SIPP), and Trusted Execution technology provides security capabilities such as measured launch and protected execution, and may thus also be an enterprise requirement (see Wiki Trusted Execution Technology). Skylake also brings Intel Authenticate, Intel's new enhanced hardware security that strengthens identity protection.

In addition, the 3rd gen Intel Skylake-based F110 benefits from a switch to more efficient and faster DDR4 RAM, as well as the latest and more efficient Intel WiFi (8260ac) and Bluetooth (BT 4.2) versions.

Windows likes big screens

The Getac F110 comes with a very bright sunlight-readable 800-nit 1,366 x 768 pixel screen, which is a good match when running the still available Windows 7 on an 11.6-inch display—icons, check and scroll boxes, and text are not too tiny in "legacy" desktop mode.

And as is common in screen technology, Getac has its own special sauces for best possible viewability and contrast outdoors, theirs being QuadraClear (referring to four core elements, those being brightness, anti-reflective coatings, and both linear and circular polarizers) and LumiBond 2, where display glass is bonded with the touch panel and LCD, minimizing internal reflection, and there's specially optimized capacitive multi-touch that works with gloves on and when it rains.

But it doesn't stop there. The F110 comes with a hard-tipped capacitive pen that's much better and more precise than those squishy wide-tipped capacitive pens that are no better than a finger. And for deployments where maximum precision is needed, Getac also offers an optional active digitizer/pen.

Finally, Getac is phasing in IPS LCDs, a move that we've long advocated due to the technology's perfect viewing angles and lack of color and contrast shifts.

Optimizing the tablet form factor

Part of the secret of the F110's slender profile is its dual batteries. They are recessed into the backside of the device, easily accessible underneath a sturdy milled aluminum cover that snaps into place, and has an o-ring rubber seal to keep water out. The dual battery arrangement means the F110 has hot-swappable power. The batteries pack a combined 48 watt-hours, which doesn't sound like very much, but Sky Lake's remarkable power saving technologies allows smaller batteries for a lighter, thinner design without giving up battery life.

In terms of onboard I/O, like most slender tablets, the F110 doesn't have much. You do get audio, a single USB 3.0 port, and a legacy RS232 DB9 port on top of the device. At the bottom is a triple antenna pass-through, a docking port, and power. That's it. You do, however, get the choice of the serial port our unit had, or a second USB port, a MicroSD card slot, RS232, RJ45 LAN or even a 1D/2D imager barcode reader instead. There are two optional cameras, a webcam facing the user (full 1080p now), and an 8mp autofocus documentation camera.

For wireless communication, the 3rd gen F110 comes with an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11ac module, Class 1 Bluetooth V4.2, and optional GOBI 5000 for multi-carrier 4G LTE, and SiRFstarIV GPS with accuracy down to 8 feet. And note that F110's dedicated MediaTek's MT5110C GPS module option is in addition to its integrated Expansion Slot. It's not either/or.

Security: ever more important

Security is becoming ever more important, and Getac upped the security ante in this latest version with a TPM 2.0 module, strong multifactor authentication, and full support for Windows 10 security features to help protect against known and emerging threats. There's also a slot for the simple but effective Kensington lock, and customers can specify either a fingerprint reader or standard or contactless Smart Card reader.

A tough tablet

On the ruggedness side, the latest F110 tablet is as tough as ever. It can operate between -6° and 140° Fahrenheit (-21° to 60°C). Sealing is at the IP65 standards (completely dustproof and able to handle low-pressure water jets from all directions), and the machine fills MIL-STD-810G testing requirements for humidity, altitude, shock, drop, vibration and others. There's compliance with ANSI/ISA 12.12.01, which is similar to, but more stringent than, UL1604 it replaces. The tablet is also MIL-STD-461F (electromagnetic interference) ready.

Staying at the leading edge

With this third generation of its popular F110, Getac offers a thoroughly convincing and technologically up-to-date Windows tablet whose large 11.6-inch display will be greatly appreciated by many users. It's a thin, compact and powerful design that's streamlined yet configurable. Its light weight belies its substantial ruggedness. There's effortless multi-touch operation, a well-working capacitive pen, and also an active pen for dealing with the Windows desktop or whenever precision and ink capture is required.

Getac didn't have to update the F110 to the very latest advances in technology and security so quickly, but it did. That will certainly not go unnoticed.

Specifications Getac F110
Status Added 05/2016
Form-factor Rugged tablet
OS Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Professional
Processor Intel Core i7-6600U
Intel Core i7-6500U
Intel Core i5-6300U
Intel Core i5-6200U
CPU Speed i7-6600U: 2.6/3.4GHz
i7-6500U: 2.5/3.1GHz
i5-6300U: 2.4/3.0GHz
i5-6200U: 2.3/2.8GHz
Chipset TBA
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 520
Standard/Max RAM 4GB DDR4, expandable to 16GB
Disk/drive 128GB/256GB/512GB SATA SSD
Optical drive Optional external
Expansion Optional micro SD OR 1D/2D imager barcode reader OR Serial OR Ethernet OR MicroSD OR 2nd USB 2.0
Display type LumiBond 2.0 sunlight readable LED LCD, 800 nits
Display size/res 11.6-inch/1366 x 768 pixel HD
Digitizer/pens Multi-touch (3.5mm hard tip stylus), optional active digitizer
Keyboard/scale 6 buttons (Windows, power, programmable, camera/barcode, volume up/down)
Sealing IP65
Drop MIL-STD-810G: 4-foot drop
Temperature -6° to 140°F (-21° to 60°C)
EMI Optional MIL-STD-461F
Salt fog No
Safety ANSI/ISA 12.12.01 Class 1, Division 2, Group A, B, C, D
Housing Double injection technology (rugged plastic and rubber overmold), sealed ports
Size (WxHxD) 12.4 x 8.15 x 0.96 inches (314 x 207 x 24.5 mm)
Weight Starting at 3.1 lbs. (1.4 kg.)
Power Dual 11.4V 2,160mAh 24 watt-hour Li-Ion ("up to 12 hours"), hot-swappable; optional 11.4V 4,200mAH battery (by project base only).
Security Intel vPro (per CPU option), TPM 2.0, cable lock slot, NIST BIOS compliant; optional fingerprint reader OR smartcard reader OR contactless smart card reader
Cameras Optional: FHD (1920 x 1080) webcam, 8MP auto-focus camera
Interface 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x headphone out/mic-in, dock, opt. 1 x HDMI, RF antenna pass-through for GPS, WLAN, WWAN; Choice of 1D/2D imager barcode reader OR RS232 OR Ethernet OR MicroSD OR 2nd USB 2.0 port
Communications Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 class 1; optional dedicated MediaTek MT5110C GPS, Gobi 4G LTE w/ Verizon Band 4 support (USA)
List price Inquire
Web page Getac F110 page
Brochure Getac F110
Warranty 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty standard

Getac US Sales Contact:

Getac US Office
Getac Inc.
Tel: +1-949-681-2900