First impression matters, and the xTablet T1180 certainly makes a very good one. Whereas the Flex 10B is a generic tablet in a case, the T1180 is a true rugged design both inside and out. It looks and feels like a serious tool for the job, a rugged tablet that was designed from the ground up to handle the bumps and grind and drops that come with work in the field.
There are hefty bumpers on all four corners, the kind that aren't just design elements but clearly afford true real-word protection. There are all the doors, compartments, locks, hooks, loops and attachment and mounting points and details that one expects from a rugged tablet. There's nothing wrong with the gleaming etherial sleekness of premium consumer tablets, but those are detriments out there on the job where the rubber meets the road. With the xTablet T1180, form follows function, and not just fashion.
Despite being in the same 10-inch display class as the standard Apple iPad, the T1180 is a considerably larger and heftier device. Some of that extra heft and size is due to a good deal of built-in protection, another to the presence of ports and integrated functionality. The display's 16:10 aspect ratio is pleasant to our eyes, between the iPad's squarish 4:3 and the narrow (or wide, depending on whether you use them in landscape or portrait mode) 16:9 aspect ratio favored by many non-Apple tablets. The xTablet T1180 looks large enough for real work.
One look at the xTablet T1180 is also enough to realize that this is a rugged machine and not something retrofitted for extra duty. The designers skillfully combined the contemporary tablet look with the functionality and features required of a rugged tablet. Most consumer smartphones and tablets these days have displays taking up the entire front of a device. That makes them damage-prone and such displays really aren't very practical. The T1180, on the other hand, has a nice margin around the actual display that's large enough to a) allow for a flush front glass surface for easy touch operation, and b) allows for easy holding of the tablet without blocking part of the LCD. The actual LCD is recessed just a bit from the housing bezel, just enough for MobileDemand to apply a fairly thick screen protector.