The Motion F5 is a rugged, fully-sealed slate PC providing electronic clipboard functionality that’s ideal for field workers. Motion actually refers to the machine as a slate PC, as it does away with a keyboard and other vestiges of standard laptop design. Furthermore, its lightweight (1.57kg), rugged design offers incredible ergonomics that allow it to be used in the harshest environments that would otherwise destroy a typical laptop. This tough, ergonomic tool really could complement the demands of your day, no matter where your work takes you. The only downside is that it costs a cool £1859.
Sporting a conservative two-tone grey appearance and integrated handle, there’s no denying that the Motion F5 is built for business. Its rugged design with magnesium-alloy internal frame and Elastomer overmoulding, as well as slip-free grip and moulded handle that are built to be carried all day, make it difficult to believe that there’s actually a fully-fledged Windows-based computer tucked away in there somewhere.
Under the hood the system includes an Intel Core 2 Solo processor U2200 (1.20GHz), 1GB of dedicated RAM (upgradeable to 2GB maximum), Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics, and Intel PRO/Wireless 3945a/b/g (Cisco CCX Compatible). There’s also now an 80GB hard disk drive (optional 32GB Solid State Drive) and integrated 13.56MHz RFID reader with ISO 15693 support (built-in 13.56MHz HF passive RFID tag). Options include a 2.0-Megapixel camera (rear facing, so can’t be used for Web conferencing), smart card reader and embedded mobile broadband (3G/HSDPA). The display isn’t huge at 10.4”, but its XGA (1024×768) resolution is sharp enough even for medical and design work and its viewing angles are well above average. The display is also bright and colourful.
Motion PCs now ship with Windows Vista Business, though there are Windows XP Downgrade options if you’re adverse to Microsoft’s latest operating system. Benefits of Vista on a slate/tablet PC include improved handwriting recognition, enhanced searching capabilities, tablet input panel with auto-fill features for e-mail addresses and URLs and pen clicks that enable you to quickly conduct an action with a simple pen gesture. Motion also bundles a ring clip that lets you touch the screen with an extended nail-like stylus, should using the bundled stylus be inconvenient at a particular time. And for those applications where a stylus isn’t suitable, there’s a directional pad on the top right of the unit.
Only last month, Motion released new peripherals custom-designed for the F5 that offer expanded options to more easily transport, charge and utilise the PC while away from the office or standard docking stations. This is good news as the machine doesn’t include a VGA port, any USB ports or even wired networking. The Motion Mobile Dock offers the convenience of docking the F5 in almost any location, such as a vehicle, wall or cabinet, and features full port replication and charging capabilities, while the Motion Flex Carry is an ergonomic solution that provides alternate methods for carrying and holding the device throughout the workday. The Flex Carry includes shoulder and hand straps and easily fits into the standard docking station.
With the F5, it’s very clear Motion understands the needs of mobile workforces across a broad range of environments – from the patient bedside to the construction site. With the F5’s optional integrated mobile broadband, you can improve productivity by accessing important business or customer information on the move. For many mobile applications, such as those in home healthcare, ongoing connectivity can enable better collaboration with colleagues and customers and reduce travel time by allowing the immediate transfer of documentation, which can reduce processing delays and improve billing cycle times. Additionally, the optional SSD will help further protect the machine from the occasional bumps and drops.
The only downside is that the F5’s core specification is pretty basic, and under light use the supplied 4000mAh battery will last just over 4hrs – disappointing considering the low-voltage processor. You’ll also want to budget extra for the options, which round the F5 off nicely and make it a much more versatile workhorse. While the high price puts it well out of the reach of the average consumer, the F5 is a brilliant system for business users that have a specific need for a slate PC.