Computers

Review: Durabook R11 is a rugged, surprisingly lightweight Windows tablet

Review: Durabook R11 is a rugg...
The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
This rugged tablet weighs less than three pounds (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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This rugged tablet weighs less than three pounds (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The HD display auto-rotates (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The HD display auto-rotates (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Available with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Available with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Available with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Available with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The 3rd-party touch keyboard on the Windows 7 model (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The 3rd-party touch keyboard on the Windows 7 model (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The Durabook can be docked or mounted in an office or vehicle (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The Durabook can be docked or mounted in an office or vehicle (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
Added security features (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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Added security features (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
A dedicated physical camera button is included on the front (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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A dedicated physical camera button is included on the front (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
USB, SIM and SD ports are included (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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USB, SIM and SD ports are included (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
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It wasn't long ago that bringing a rugged PC along literally required lugging a rigid office-in-a-suitcase sort of setup into the field. But new systems like the Durabook R11 from GammaTech combine touchscreens and the trend towards smaller, lighter and thinner devices into a much more portable package.

The R11 is basically an 11.6-inch Windows tablet that comes ready to mount to a desk, in a vehicle, or to your hand or arm via an optional strap. It's appropriately rated to go almost everywhere as well, built to survive 4-foot drops on the floor, dust storms and water splashes. It can also operate within a temperature range of -10℃~55℃ (14 F - 131 F) and has a sunlight readable display.

The R11 is available running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Pro, offering a little flexibility for the significant number of companies that are wary of upgrading to the latest from Microsoft.

The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The Durabook R11 is dust, shock and splash-proof (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

The review unit we've been handling runs Windows 7 Pro, which we found to be more cumbersome than a Windows 8 tablet, due almost entirely to the more clunky non-native touchscreen interface added to Windows 7 on the Durabook.

There's little else to say about the software here, which is basically stock Windows with a few added security features and optional hardware-related extras like a bar code scanner, NFC/RFID reader, magnetic stripe and smart card reader.

An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
An optional strap adds more portability (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

What's really notable about the Durabook R11 is that it manages to be among the toughest tablets around with a large screen that somehow doesn't weigh a ton. It weighs just 2.76 pounds (1.2 kg), adding less than a pound to the weight of the Surface Pro 3, which would likely have a much harder time holding up under the same extreme conditions the R11 is built for. It's also a few ounces less than the comparable Getac F110, weighing in at over 3 pounds.

Other key specs for this tough guy-tablet include Intel "Haswell" i5 or i7 processors, an HD (1366x768) LCD anti-reflective display, solid state drive with either 64 GB or 128 GB of storage, 4GB RAM upgrade-able to 8 GB, microSD and SIM card slots, 5 megapixel and 2 MP cameras, all powered by a battery good for 7 hours per charge.

The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)
The rear camera is 5 MP, front camera is 2 MP (Photo: Eric Mack/Gizmag.com)

This isn't a consumer product; it's definitely meant for professional applications including health care, energy, transport, logistics, warehouses, construction and the military. It's kind of like the big brother to the Arbor Gladius 5 rugged phablet we reviewed last year. As such, it doesn't come with a consumer-friendly price. Suggested pricing from GammaTech starts at $2,199.

Product page: GammaTech

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1 comment
martinkopplow
I wonder why sunlight readability has not even been mentioned, given this is one item that's meant to be used outdoors. Judged on the pictures supplied, it does not appear very good.