Getac ruggedized tablet PC is ready to rumble

Standard tablet PCs beware: You wouldn't want to meet Getac's new ruggedized tablet PC in a dark alley if it had a grudge against you.

The MobileForce CA27 is a tough tablet with a magnesium-alloy chassis that meets the military's 810F standard for drops, temperature extremes, vibration, moisture and dust.

So go ahead: Drop it 3 feet onto concrete or steel. Bring it to Alaska and use it in temperatures as low as 32 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Then warm it up in the desert in temperatures up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Throw water on it and drive it around over rough terrain in a vehicle with poor shock absorbers.

It'll still work, and it probably won't be in a bad mood, because this tablet is built to withstand the kind of abuse computers can suffer in the field, especially in military situations.

The tablets are also well-suited to police, fire, rescue and homeland security applications.

We were impressed with the MobileForce CA27's flexibility, too. A bay on one side, called an X-Bay interface, can be fitted with a wireless modem for General Packet Radio Service/ Global System for Mobile Communications capability, an internal PCMCIA reader or a panel of four ports (serial, FireWire, local-area network and USB 2.0).

There's also a port for a USB CCD PC camera on the back.

Instead of placing a plethora of buttons and indicators around the bezel, Getac has integrated an LCD panel that multitasks. You can use it to view and adjust display brightness and audio volume in addition to checking the battery capacity. The panel also indicates hard drive use and whether "num lock," "caps lock" or "scroll lock" is on.

Useful options include a wireless keyboard and a docking station.

Our review unit featured a 10.4-inch XGA thin-film transistor digitizer display, a 1.1 GHz Intel Pentium M processor and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet Edition. The cost for the unit is $2,895 on the General Services Administration schedule. For more information, visit www.getac.com.

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