Juniper Systems Mesa 2 puts a Bay Trail CPU in a tough tablet shell

— 3:46 PM on April 25, 2016

Juniper Systems' new Mesa 2 tablet introduces Windows 10 to the company's ruggedized PC lineup. Some may claim this is just a ruggedized tablet, but I tell you that it's a yellow submarine of durability. Juniper Systems claims this tablet meets IP68 standards for water resistance. It's also claimed to exceed MIL-STD-810G environmental designs for water, humidity, sand and dust, vibration, altitude, shock, and temperature conditions. Whew.

The face of the device holds its seven-inch "projected" capacitive touch screen. While many rugged devices try to be functional for gloved operators, the Mesa 2 matches that expectation and more by supporting gloved multi-touch input while the screen is wet. And in case the touch screen is a bit finicky, it also has dedicated physical buttons for interacting with the device.

The heart of the Mesa 2 is a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745, a Bay Trail chip with 1.33GHz base and 1.86GHz burst speeds. Juniper pairs that chip with 4GB of RAM. Buyers can choose 64GB or 128GB of flash storage. The onboard flash is complemented by a microSDXC slot. To speak with other devices, the Mesa 2 includes the typical Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless connectivity. An LTE cellular modem can be added as an option. For security-conscious folks with the infrastructure to leverage it, a TPM v2.0 module is included, as well.

Other standard features include an ambient light sensor, compass, accelerometer, and gyroscope. In addition to all of these hard-wired sensors, the Mesa 2 also has a USB 3.0 port, 3.5-mm audio jack, and 12V DC power input jack. Lastly, this device supports two types of batteries: a standard 39-Wh battery good for eight to ten hours of use, and an optional 19-Wh internal battery good for four to five hours of use. Configuring the device with both batteries makes the 39-Wh unit hot-swappable. All these features are wrapped up in a device weighing in at under two pounds.

Three Mesa 2 configurations target different end-users. A GEO model comes with GPS and a camera, a BARCODE model includes a bardcode scanner, and an RFID model comes with a UHF RFID scanner. The GEO model gets its name from its two- to five-meter geo-positioning accuracy, courtesy of an included GPS tracker. For those needing sub-meter accuracy, Juniper offers an optional uBlox NEO-M8T add-on.While the cameras don't seem fancy—the front unit is just 2MP, and the rear sensor packs 8MP—Juniper does bundle geotagging software to embed date, time, and GNSS position data in photos.

There's not a lot to tell about the BARCODE model—it provides a one- or two-dimensional imager with a bullseye and low-light illumination. The RFID model is more interesting. Its UHF RFID module and antenna come in two region-specific frequency configurations (an 859-873MHz range and a 915-930MHz range) that could help users worldwide tune the device to their specific needs.

Juniper won't sell the Mesa 2 to end users directly. The company says it's partnered with companies in industries like oil and gas, agriculture, public utilities, public safety, the military, and more, and it works with those partners to tailor its hardware to their needs. Interested parties will need to contact Juniper for a quote.

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