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Portables Hardware

Dell Rugged Laptops Not Quite Tough Enough 225

An anonymous reader writes "Trusted Reviews has put the new Dell XFR rugged laptop through the grinder and it hasn't fared as well as expected. Considering that these guys drove a car over a Panasonic Toughbook, they went pretty easy on the Dell, but it still couldn't take the punishment. It looks like Dell still has a way to go to steal the ball from Panasonic when it comes to all terrain computing."
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Dell Rugged Laptops Not Quite Tough Enough

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  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:50AM (#29964126)

    I've seen Panasonic Toughbooks in police cars, fire trucks, and in the vehicles of industrial companies, but I guess I don't get why; the laptops are well protected in the car or truck, and it's not like a cop is going to use it as a shield in a shoot out, or a fireman is going to be typing something inside a burning building. When a plumber came over to fix some pipes, he brought with him a battered Compaq laptop that was missing several keys, looked like it'd gone through hell, but was still working and wasn't "ruggedized" in any way I could tell.

    This is pure ignorance on my part...I can appreciate there is very likely a need, or they wouldn't make them, but I really don't know what that need is; especially, under what circumstances would it be possible to get my laptop run over by a truck as part of a normal day?

    That said, they definitely *look* cool and wouldn't mind having one myself, especially if I thought I'd need to check my email outside, in a snowstorm, in the Sierra Madre. :)

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @11:55AM (#29964190) Homepage
    Think of it as laptop insurance. Just in case. Maybe you won't need it, but maybe you will. Also probably cheaper to pay the ToughBook premium than replacing your laptop a year earlier.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:02PM (#29964310) Journal
    Two possibilities: One is that, through some mixture of poor prediction and being oversold, those users bought the wrong hardware. Just as many people buy "laptops" that end up spending their lives on a desk, essentially never moved, these laptops could well have been purchased to survive the Rigors of a Crime Scene; but then plunked into car mounts and not moved since. Not necessarily good planning; but a hugely common, and fairly understandable, mistake made by all sorts of individuals and organizations.

    Second possibility is that the Toughbooks you saw were the semi-rugged versions, which are much closer in price(and durability) to basic business laptops than to their fully rugged brethren. Paying a modest premium for semi-rugged features(keyboard that'll survive coffee and donut crumbs for several years, screen that'll survive the big mean keyring falling off the dash onto it, and so forth) might well be entirely sensible even if paying the substantial premium for the fully-rugged can-be-used-underwater-even-if-there-are-sharks-with-lasers edition isn't.
  • by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:10PM (#29964404)

    I'm at a loss as to why your post was modded insightful.

    - "It's no surprise that the military customers would require a lower ruggedness spec than civilian users. "
    - "Civilian usage, OTOH, requires a device that is durable and lasts for years and can be used in any environment. They don't need great processing power, they just need something that can run their dedicated apps well enough."

    I'm guessing your perception of military laptop usage to be something out of "Hackers?"

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hughk ( 248126 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:36PM (#29964796) Journal
    A construction site would qualify. Normal laptops can't really go outside site offices because of the copious quantities of general shit floating around (dust, water, temperature extremes, etc).
  • Re:Notsotoughbooks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:38PM (#29964814)

    I'm at a loss to understand why anyone would

    1. Leave a valuable possession on the ground
    2. Promptly forget about it
    3. And then drive over it with their car
    4. ?
    5. Profit !

    If that is their attitude to their posessions and life in general, seems like they'd be better just getting an insurance policy for being a "accident-prone forgetful dumbass".

  • by fwice ( 841569 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:38PM (#29964826)

    At my job, we use these toughbooks in extreme conditions -- think arctic/antarctic desert and Middle Eastern deserts. Especially in the latter, the toughbook excels because all of the ports are blocked against FOD [foreign objects and debris] -- namely, if there's a sandstorm that kicks up, the sand can't enter the unit in any way.

    In addition, try using a regular laptop while riding on a humvee through rocky terrain. No way that disk lasts, whereas the toughbook disks are made to absorb the shock and vibration.

  • by quisxt ( 462797 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:50PM (#29964976)
    -40 Celsius = -40 Farenheit. -40 Kelvin is meaningless. Seems to me like the op gave you all the information you needed.
  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @12:55PM (#29965050)

    A Vet turned History teacher had a saying on his door...

    A computer with a bullet hole in it is a paperweight.

    A map with a bullet hole in it is still a map.

  • Re:Hey mods?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @01:02PM (#29965144) Journal

    Actually, if you look at the OP's history, his posts are always followed by an AC message asking it to be modded up. Either a big coincidence, or Trisexualpuppy is trying to draw attention and upmods to his own posts.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @01:51PM (#29965840) Homepage Journal

    Unless it's an IBM mainframe, in which case a mainframe with a bullet hole is still a mainframe, just with one CPU showing a fault condition. Redundancy is a virtue whenever bullets are involved, whether you're the shooter or the owner of the target.

  • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @02:57PM (#29966640) Journal
    Unfortunately, no amount of "ruggedizing" can prevent obsolescence.
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:14PM (#29969268) Homepage Journal

    It's fair to assume that if he didn't specify a unit then he's the kind of person who isn't aware of more than one unit.

    So, Fahrenheit it is.

  • by DrWho520 ( 655973 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @06:30PM (#29969536) Journal
    ...part of the price premium means you're getting a laptop built by a highly skilled workforce with a keen eye on tolerances.

    Were it not that we had to pay a premium for this...

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."