When the going gets tough, the tough reach for a rugged tablet. Xplore Technologies has been kicking out ruggedized tablets for over 15 years, but its new RangerX is both its lightest to date, and its first to run Android. Developed for mobile workers rather than adventurous consumer types, the durable ICS slate has a 10.1-inch outdoor-viewable display, features a dual-core ARM processor, and packs enough battery life for a full day's work.

Xplore sees its new ruggedized tablet being a good fit for cable and utilities companies, telecommunications concerns, those involved in manufacturing and distribution, government bodies, the military, and the retail and hospitality sectors. The RangerX has been treated to a Magnesium Alloy midframe and elastomer bumpers to afford it some protection from shocks, which is just as well given the kinds of testing it's undergone to earn its rugged stripes.

In addition to an IP65 rating for dust- and water-resistance, the Android 4.0.4 tablet has been MIL-STD-810G tested for its ability to stand up to vehicle vibrations, blowing rain, dust and sand, salty fog, contamination by fluids, and solar radiation. It's reported capable of still operating after multiple drops from a height of 4 ft (1.2 m), can withstand 95 percent humidity, has an operating temperature range that runs from -20° C to 60° C (-4° F to 140° F), plus it can be hauled up to an altitude of 15,000 ft (4,572 m) and still allow you to check your appointments calendar when you get there.

At its heart is an ARM Cortex A9 processor running at 1.5 GHz on an Intel QM57 Express chipset. The supporting players include integrated POWERVR SGX544 graphics, 1 GB of LPDDR2 RAM, and 32 GB of eMMC solid state storage, with microSD expansion. Up top there's a 500-nit, 10.1-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution multi-touch IPS LCD display with anti-reflective glass and an 800:1 contrast ratio.

Wireless connectivity comes in the shape of 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, optional LTE mobile broadband from Verizon, Bluetooth 4.0, integrated GPS, an FM transmitter, and included NFC and RFID technology. If you want to get physical, the tablet sports two USB 2.0 ports, micro-HDMI out, a SIM card slot and an optional Smart Card Reader (with FIPS 140-2 compliant CAC capability). An HDMI-in and Gigabit LAN module can also be added if needed.

The RangerX is just 0.85 in (2.2 cm) thin, and has a starting weight of 2.2 lb (0.99 kg). Xplore reckons that the tablet should offer up to 10 hours of use between charges of its user-replaceable 10,000 mAh battery. A 5 MP camera at the back and a 1.2 MP HD webcam to the front round off the specs. Prices start at US$1,349.

The video below shows the kind of punishment this tablet has been subjected to before it's allowed to wear its rugged badge.

Product page: RangerX

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