Dell unveils new rugged laptop

March 10, 2009

Most people beat up their laptops and eventually pay the price. But not so with an emerging class of so-called rugged laptops. Dell is releasing its second-generation fully-rugged model – the Latitude E6400 XFR – and the company says it provides even better protection from rain, dust and dirt, drops and spills and temperature extremes.

The 14.1-inch, 8.5 pound, touch-screen unit – which starts at $4,299 – is designed for military, first responders, oil and gas workers, factory floors and other areas where you would never dare drag a standard laptop. It’s a bit lighter and thinner than the first-generation XFR, and can get more than 13 hours of battery life with an optional 12-cell battery slice.

The unit’s chassis has what the company calls a “Ballistic Armor” protection system that Dell says provides twice the impact strength of traditional magnesium alloy. The laptop should be able to withstand a tumble from as high as four feet when closed and powered down, and three feet when open and working.

A brief demo last night that bore out Dell’s claims. First, the E6400 had an entire glass of water poured over its keyboard and screen, then was dropped from waist level onto the floor. The unit continued to chug along.

The laptop is set to compete with other rugged notebooks – such as Panasonic’s Toughbook – and PCs from Lenovo.

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My work considered buying some of these but they cost a ton. Just be a little more carefull an get a regular laptop.