Getac ZX70 G2, hands on: Platform upgrades for a tough Android tablet

Back in 2017 I looked at the 7-inch Getac ZX70, a fully rugged Android tablet. Now it’s back, with refreshed components and a recognisable exterior.

At 762g, the Getac ZX70 G2 approaches the weight of the lightest laptops — but, of course, it’s designed for use in demanding environments where it is likely to be dropped, have things spilled on it, and generally get mistreated. The target market is sectors like utilities, manufacturing, transport and logistics, and so it needs substantial protection. Hence the bulk and weight.

The lack of changes to the Getac ZX70 G2’s chassis suggests that the design team got it right the first time round. A substantial rubberised outer shell sits around the edges and extends into the back, where it gives way to a bright orange backplate. This has connectors for a handstrap, should one be required. There are also loops on two of the corners for attaching a lanyard or tether. That rubberised shell bleeds into the front of the tablet too. Inside it is a thin frame of bright orange, and then a huge screen bezel that easily accommodates the front camera and three tiny indicator lights. One tells you wi-fi (802.11ac) is active, a second that the unit is switched on and a third that it is charging.

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The fully rugged Getac ZX70 G2 runs on a Snapdragon 660 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD card). The 7-inch TFT touch screen has a resolution of 1,280 by 720 pixels and is usable with gloved hands.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Getac ZX70 G2 is therefore a big beast, measuring 218mm wide by 142mm deep (in landscape mode) by 27mm thick, and the 7-inch screen looks positively lost by conventional measures — the screen to body ratio is just 43.6%. The trade-off, of course, is protection: the device is MIL-STD-810H compliant, IP67 certified for dust/water resistance, and can handle drops from up to 6 feet.

The touch screen is a TFT LCD panel with a moderate resolution of 1,280 by 720 pixels. No phone would pass muster with just 210 pixels per inch (ppi) these days, and it must be said that the reading experience leaves a little to be desired. Still, a device like the Getac ZX70 G2 is more likely to be used for form filling or accessing inventory databases than for reading websites or checking social media feeds. Outdoor readability is good, though, thanks to the screen’s 580 nits brightness.

Getac provides its own file browser, camera app, text scanner and barcode/QR code reader, and a settings tool where you can configure the functions of some of the side buttons. 

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Ports and connectors are plentiful. On one of the short edges, under a cover that’s screwed in place, there’s a MicroSD card slot and SIM slot for the optional 4G LTE broadband connection.

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The barcode reader on the top edge is an optional feature.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

On the top edge there’s space for an optional barcode reading lens as well as the power button, volume rocker and a ‘trigger’ button that fires up the barcode reader. The bottom edge houses USB host, Micro-USB client, docking station, GPS passthrough and WWAN passthrough ports. There are also a couple of mounts allowing you to permanently fix the Getac ZX70 G2 into position. Meanwhile, the back can house an RFID/NFC reading plate and a fingerprint scanner, both optional.

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Optional features at the back are an RFID/NFC combo reader and a fingerprint scanner.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The cameras are utilitarian rather than showy — an 8MP front-facing webcam, and a 12MP camera with LED flash at the back. This is a significant update from the 2MP (front)/8MP (rear) setup in the 2017 model.

The Getac ZX70 G2 runs Android 9 — now two generations old — on Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 660 chipset. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD). The previous model’s complement was 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

Battery life is a key area, and although the tablet’s 8,480mAh battery is referred to as ‘industry leading’ on Getac’s website, its expected longevity is not specified. Clearly this is something prospective users will need to check with the company. Another key missing piece of information is the price. Getac told me the starting price is £766 (ex. VAT), but this rugged tablet will likely be bought in bulk rather than singly, with the configuration highly specific to each use case, so price will be a matter of discussion at the point of purchase.

Overall, the Getac ZX70 G2 provides an uptick in specifications from its Intel Atom x5-Z8350-based predecessor, while retaining the previous model’s fully rugged industrial design. It could do with an Android update though, and both the battery life and guide pricing should be quoted online.

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