Review: DT Research Nails Portability, Ruggedness With 301S Tablet

When it comes to tablets, ruggedness and portability don't usually go together. But the DT Research 301S just may have pulled off that killer combo.

Oh, and it's pretty, too. And powerful.

In our tryout in the CRN Test Center, the 10.1-inch tablet showed that it gets a lot of things right for those in need of a rugged Windows 10 solution that's truly mobile.

[Related: Review: Xplore XSlate R12 Is A Rugged Tablet With A Flair For Design]

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San Jose, Calif.-based DT Research has gotten the weight down to 2.86 pounds, which is hefty by normal tablet standards but is actually lightweight when it comes to rugged tablets.

The device is also not absurdly thick, at 0.86 of an inch.

For easier usage on the go, DT Research has included rubber straps across the back of the tablet. In our tryout, we found the straps very helpful for comfortable holding of the tablet with one hand and operation with the other.

However, if your arm still tires out from holding the DT301S for too long -- and you drop it -- that shouldn't be a problem. The tablet features protection against drops such as big rubber bumpers on all corners.

The DT301S also includes a water/dust resistance rating of IP65 (making it less susceptible, for instance, than the last rugged tablet we reviewed, the XSlate R12).

What about the user experience itself? We give the DT301S high marks on horsepower (the sixth-gen Intel Core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM allowed for plenty of speed) and display quality (the 1,080p display should be bright and sharp enough for most users).

The tablet also fared decently on battery life, with three hours of heavy usage draining half of the battery (we kept the display at 75 percent brightness). If that's not sufficient, the battery can be swapped out for a spare while the tablet is still in use.

The DT301S is also not just a slate — it's a 2-in-1, with an attachable keyboard that handily doubles as a stand for the tablet.

All around, we think the DT301S is a solid choice in a rugged Windows 10 tablet, especially given that the price is pretty reasonable, too. DT Research's suggested pricing starts at $1,915 for the Core i5 model and $2,082 for the Core i7 version of the tablet.