Review: MobileDemand xTablet T8650 — As rugged as they get

‘Built in ruggedness’ that’s what Mobile Demand say about their xTablet T8650, and it’s easy to see why. With the unique combination of a sturdy frame and first-to-market 3D cameras, the device looks to be one of the most interesting additions to the Windows lineup this year. But can a 3D camera-enabled tablet work its way into our everyday life? Join us as we take a closer look in our full review.

Build / Design

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Let’s get this out the way, to begin with, the xTablet T8650 with 3D cameras built in is $1995.00. It’s expensive. It pushes itself away from your average consumer, and it’s clearly not designed or made normal tablet demands.

Building sites, warehouses, and any rough environments, that’s where Mobile Demand are aiming with the xTablet, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an ultra-grippy beast, with huge protection all around, there’s a bunch of elastic on the back so you can hold it with one hand and even a handle for carrying around. It’s fair to say this tablet looks like it could handle the environments it’s suited for, all the ports are covered up protecting them from moisture and dust, its certified IP 65 for water and dust resistance which is great to hear if you work in industry.

As this is a full Windows 10 tablet you’ve got support for all Windows legacy apps, and the new style tablet apps too. USB 3.0 support is also here, which is always a welcome sight for memory sticks and other peripherals.

There’s an included stylus, which feels great and looks just as study as the tablet itself. It’s held in by a long loop along the side of the tablet and feels integral to the use, I found myself using it a lot, serving as a mouse substitute despite it not serving a certain function in any of the apps it comes bundled with.

Cameras

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So, what are 3D cameras like, and what are they even for?

Well this, again, comes down to how useful they’re going to be for you. The 3D cameras allow for a bunch of interesting and cool tricks – Need to measure the length of an item? No worries, the 3D cameras can do that, need a 3D model of a certain object or box? The 3D camera has you covered. It’s a totally unique and reminds me of Google’s project Tango, but its use might only appeal to those who really need it. Take the camera away and you’re left with a really expensive average-at-best tablet.

There’s no doubt the technology is amazing, but the results won’t wow you – Camera performance isn’t great, you need to be in a very well-lit area for it to capture well, its low light performance is pretty terrible. You won’t be making any 3D models in the dark, that’s for sure. The end result often looks pretty scratchy or unfinished, this could be because of a lack of space on my part, or because the box I was using to measure wasn’t quite big enough.

There’s a bunch of software included in the tablet as well, that allows you to add notes, measure, and view the 3D model amongst lots of other functions. I can image it being amazingly great for airplane luggage or pallet measuring, again, industry focused tasks, but that’s not something most of us will be doing

Performance

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Performance-wise you’ll be happy to know the T8650 is snappy, boot up times are commendable and the tablet never stuttered during my use, internet browsing was smooth and other tasks were handled very well. The Intel Atom X5 chip seems to hold up well the included 4GB of ram keeps things moving along swimmingly.

The screen is a pain point, though, at this price you really would want the screen to be something else, but unfortunately we’re left with a very average looking panel coming in at 1280 x 800, it’s not very bright either, using this tablet outside was difficult and the screen felt very reflective. It’s certainly something that needs to be addressed in the next iteration.

Battery

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You’d think with a large frame, which has plenty of room for a big battery the xTablet would last a lot longer than it does. You’ll most likely get enough out of it to last a work day from 9-5, but don’t expect any miracles. To add to that the standby time is something rotten. I left the Tablet with about 70% overnight on sleep mode and woke up with it dead. Charging is also painfully slow, and it uses a proprietary charger that’s similar to a laptop one, not a standard micro USB or USB- Type C, so if you’re planning on taking this with you somewhere then you better remember the charger.

Round Up

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Coming in just shy of $2000 it’s fair to say this tablet seems overpriced, maybe I’m not overly sure on how expensive or useful 3D cameras are, but with this amount of money, you’ve basically got free roam of laptops and tablets to choose from, it’s very difficult to say this tablet is better than a surface pro, or a MacBook, but those things don’t have access to a built-in 3D camera.

So the rating for this device really depends on if you need that camera or not. If you don’t then what you’re left with is a way overpriced, poor screened, average tablet. However, if you need a 3D camera with full windows 10 access, where else are you going to look?

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