The Getac F110 Rugged Tablet: A Review

March 17, 2017
As a guy who uses his iPad and iPhone daily, I don’t need convincing that there’s value in a tablet. As a guy who is afraid for his wallet every time I drop either device , I can deeply appreciate a tablet that that is ruggedized.

In the contemporary world of law enforcement, connectivity to the Internet is not only helpful but mandatory. Whether we realize it or not… whether that connection is in our cruiser, by way of our smart phone, or through an old issued Blackberry… we depend on the Internet for connectivity to “big data” so that we can mine that data for information we need to support enforcement efforts. The more mobile that access point to data is, the better off we are. Many (if not most) cruisers have Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs) or laptops in them these days, but how many officers are equipped with a fully functional tablet personal computer (PC) they can take away from their cruiser? What if they could use it when mounted on horseback? On motorcycle assignment? On a secondary employment location?

Enter the Getac F110 rugged tablet PC. As a guy who uses his iPad and iPhone daily, I don’t need convincing that there’s value in a tablet.  As a guy who is afraid for his wallet every time I drop either device or bang either off of a doorway (or whatever), I can deeply appreciate a tablet that is ruggedized enough to take every day use (and abuse). While I’m still not a fan of the Windows 8 features incorporated into Windows 10, that’s got nothing to do with the tablet’s design features or ability to perform as we officers need.

If you want an idea of how big this tablet is in your hand, go to your local office supply store and pick up a spiral bound notebook.  That’s right. The 11.6” screen (measured on the diagonal) fits into a tablet roughly the length and width of a sheet of regular notebook paper and the whole tablet itself is just under an inch thick. While that IS quite compact, after you’ve held it out in one hand to work with the other for any significant period of time, it does start to weigh on your wrist and fingers. Take advantage of the padded corner stands (not sure that’s what Getac calls them, but it’s how I came to think of them) to put it on any reasonably flat surface to continue your work.

That 11.6” display is High Definition and supported by your choice (on order) of either the Intel Skylake Core i5 or i7 processor in addition to Intel HD Graphics drivers that support 3D graphics and video. Getac put their proprietary LumiBond 2.0 touchscreen technology into this tablet which features four different touch modes including rain mode, touch (finger), glove and pen.  I tested three of those (touch, glove and pen) and can tell you they all worked without a problem. "Rain mode" reduces the sensitivity of the screen to cut out the white noise of rain, thereby increasing effectiveness of use. There is an obvious difference between the tablet’s reaction to each mode as far as time and specificity of touch, but that’s to be expected given the difference in contact surface using those three different input tools (finger, gloved finger and provided tethered pen).

For connectivity to that all important Internet, the F110 can be configured with a 4G LTE WWAN in addition to its 802.11ac WiFi if you want. The test model I received had only the WiFi connectivity (which was fine due to testing conditions). If your F110 tablet is going to be mounted in your cruiser – even part time – it is available with the necessary pass-through antenna ports permitting connection to GPS, WWAN and WLAN antennas. Those antennas and connectivity also support the optional GPS unit available with the F110 – which is invaluable if dispatch can’t get hold of you on the radio and people need to find you.

All of that is good information to have but what I really wanted to know was, “Will this tablet still work after it’s been through a typical day in the hands of a police officer and all that brings with it?”  The published information says that the F110 is tested to meet MIL-STD 810G and MIL-STD-461F. Since I don’t know what those are off the top of my head, I did what every good researcher today does: I Googled them.

MIL-STD-810 addresses a broad range of environmental conditions that include: low pressure for altitude testing; exposure to high and low temperatures plus temperature shock (both operating and in storage); rain (including wind blown and freezing rain); humidity, fungus, salt fog for rust testing; sand and dust exposure; explosive atmosphere; leakage; acceleration; shock and transport shock; gunfire vibration; and random vibration. The standard describes environmental management and engineering processes that can be of enormous value to generate confidence in the environmental worthiness and overall durability of a system design. The standard contains military acquisition program planning and engineering direction to consider the influences that environmental stresses have on equipment throughout all phases of its service life. The document does not impose design or test specifications. Rather, it describes the environmental tailoring process that results in realistic material designs and test methods based on material system performance requirements. – Wikipedia

MIL-STD-461 is a United States Military Standard that describes how to test equipment for electromagnetic compatibility. Various revisions of MIL-STD-461 have been released. Many military contracts require compliance to MIL-STD-461E. The latest revision (as of 2015) is known as "MIL-STD-461G". - Wikipedia

While I have / had no interest in testing the unit for electromagnetic compatibility, it was good to know that it had been tested to a standard. On the other hand, I had a direct need to know if the tablet would stand up to being dropped, banged, gotten wet, etc. I knew it wouldn’t survive submersion (or at least I didn’t think it would), but I expected it to survive several drops from three feet (roughly the height of a cruiser trunk top or hood top) and being banged into / off of door frames repeatedly.

How did I test that? I took it out to the parking lot, set it on the trunk of one of our cruisers and swiped it off… watching it bounce when it landed.  Yep, it still worked… so I did it again… and again.  Three drop tests back to back where it was knocked off the trunk of a 2014 Dodge Charger. It functioned throughout and afterward without issue.

To test the “bang into” ruggedness I did exactly that. I hooked it onto a shoulder strap and walked around the building with it, intentionally getting too close to door frames, doors, desks, etc. It bounced off a goodly number of items far harder than it is. It functioned without issue throughout and afterward.

Finally, MIL-STD-810 has a component for humidity and another for “contamination by fluids.” As I said, I didn’t expect it to survive submersion but I expected it to survive heavy rain and/or high humidity. To test that I exposed it to splashes from a hose, the rough equivalent of which I felt would be a heavy rain fall.  No issues.  Then I set it up in a cigar humidor with an average humidity of 70% and left it for a day.  It functioned after that without issue as well.

Short of hitting it with a hammer, I couldn’t think of any other testing to be done with it. It had passed all the testing I’d put it through and, based on the published material, met all the requirements my agency would have for a ruggedized tablet.

For more information about it, check it out online at

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