Torture Test: ‘Rugged’ Dell Notebook Computer

The Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme ($3,650 at dell.com) is one of the company’s highly-durable “ruggedized” computers. Built with soldiers, construction workers, and policemen in mind, these units are reinforced to be impervious to water, snow, dirt, and dust — and impact.

Last year, contributing writer Billy Brown took the Dell Rugged ET7430 ATG Notebook to Chile, leaving it out in a snowstorm and pouring whiskey into the keyboard (for real) without any issue.

This year, we got something even burlier: The Latitude 12 Rugged, a convertible laptop/tablet hybrid that’s built to IP-65 specs (which means it’s dust-proof and you can hold it under a shower nozzle, but not submerge it).

It has a magnesium-alloy frame that keeps it from bending out of shape and heavy-duty rubber bumpers on every corner. It uses a solid-state hard drive, which has no moving parts. The touchscreen is pressure-sensitive so you can use it with gloves on — helpful when you’re trying to write in the middle of a snowstorm.

We left it out in the rain overnight, but that didn’t even touch it. We needed to really put it through some fresh hell and decided to take it out for a test drive. Literally. In the back of a pickup truck going 30mph down a fire road, while writing part of this post.

Here are the most legible sections, with translation: Alright, let’s see how tthis agAOES. THE DELL LTITUDD EEXTRE,EM IS BUILT TO WITHSTAND THE MOST EXJKTEME WORK ENVOIRNMENTSD. . WELL SEE ABOUT THAT. DFI DEIDE E24jkkfg fgajsdf=d [Alright, let’s see how this goes. The Dell Latitude Extreme is built to withstand the most extreme work environments. We’ll see about that]… SI98IN eFFCEE II DONBDT work k inm==n a wrauzso==nef or a ciondesturction si8ttt, weqcj hay tod get aa littlll/3 xrtiutgv [Since I don’t work in a warzone or construction site, we had to get ????????]

After 5 miles of way too fast driving in the back of a pickup, too many drops to count and two tosses out the back of the bed, the Latitude came out scratched and dinged, but totally sound. I’m pretty sure I ended up with more bruises that it did.

Bottom line: Six pounds is a lot of weight to haul around on a daily commute, so this will be too much computer for most people. But if you demolish more than a latte on your average workday, this beast might be the perfect thing. People who work in the outdoors and need an indestructible notebook computer will not be let down by this beast of a PC.

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