Best rugged laptops for business in 2020: Dell Latitude, Panasonic Toughbook, Lenovo ThinkPad, and more

Whereas digital threats to our PCs rightfully seize a lot of the headlines — as viruses and cyberattacks can have an effect on thousands and thousands of computer systems concurrently — our techniques additionally face threats from bodily injury that may knock them offline briefly for repairs or completely if the injury is catastrophic sufficient. Cellular units clearly run an even bigger threat of bodily injury since they’re picked up and moved round way more continuously than desktop PCs.

To fight potential bodily hazards to on-the-go computing, producers responded with what are often called “rugged” laptops — notebooks that may resist the bumps and bruises of mobility higher than standard-issue portables. Minimal defenses rugged laptops possess embody bumpers that may defend towards drops and specifically handled keyboards that may face up to liquids being spilled on them. Should you’re working in tougher environments — on a development website or in excessive climates — there are rugged notebooks designed to deal with these conditions as nicely.

If your corporation requires the usage of rugged laptops, we’re right here to assist. We have collected 9 totally different notebooks that cowl the gamut of choices, from fashions with primary protections to rough-and-tumble out of doors warriors.   

Disclosure: ZDNet could earn an affiliate fee from a number of the merchandise featured on this web page. ZDNet and the writer weren’t compensated for this unbiased overview.



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One signal of a very rugged laptop computer is that if it passes testing for MIL-STD-810, which is a navy normal for sturdiness below a wide range of environmental situations. Dell’s line of Latitude Rugged Categorical laptops is all MIL-STD-810 licensed, beginning with the flagship 7424. It is constructed round a 14-inch 1080p show that is a resistive touchscreen, which permits it for use with gloves or a pen, in addition to geared up with 1,000 nits of brightness to be absolutely seen when used outdoors in daylight.

Rugged options embody drop safety of as much as Three ft whereas in use and 6 ft when turned off and IP65 ingress safety, which signifies that it guarantees full safety from mud and safety from jets of water. Not surprisingly, it is neither small (7.6 kilos and up for those who add a second battery or carrying deal with) nor low cost (particularly for those who improve past the bottom configuration of Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD), but it surely’s in all probability as powerful of a system as Dell presents.

$4,142 at Dell



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Because the identify suggests, the 5420 lacks the “excessive” options of the 7424, such because the super-bright, resistive touchscreen as a typical characteristic (it is an possibility, together with a 1,000-nit non-touch show). With IP52 ingress safety, it might probably defend (however not completely defend) towards mud and supply restricted moisture safety, and drop safety is Three ft in transit.

Alternatively, the 5420 is thinner and lighter (four.9-pound beginning weight) and far inexpensive for those who do not want such ultra-rugged touches. It additionally comes with the identical base specs because the 7424 and nonetheless incorporates a magnesium alloy chassis and dual-battery help.

$1,399 at Dell



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Want the 7420’s industrial-strength toughness, however need a bit extra versatility? Dell has you coated with the 7214, which mixes the intense rugged options of the 7420 with the favored convertible type issue. As an alternative of a heavy 14-inch system, 7214 features a 12-inch show encased in a flip case that means that you can swap between laptop computer and pill type components.

It has the identical IP65 ingress safety because the 7420, however the base specs are a bit totally different. You get a sixth-generation Core i5 CPU as an alternative of a seventh-gen Core i3 and half the RAM (4GB versus 8GB), however twice the solid-state storage (256GB versus 128GB). At 6 kilos, it is also svelter than the 7420 whereas retaining the identical drop safety — and comparable excessive price ticket. 

$3,998 at Dell



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A specialty producer of rugged computer systems, Durabook presents a rival to the Dell Latitude 7254 Excessive with its Z14I. With an analogous 14-inch display — super-bright and touch-enabled for gloves, stylus, and fingers — and MIL-STD 810G licensed and IP65 rated, the Z14I can go pound-for-pound with the 7254 even when its beginning weight is an oz. lighter at 7.7 kilos.

Whereas its beginning value is a bit more than the 7254, the Durabook has a few benefits for that additional value. First, its base configuration consists of an eighth-generation Core i5 processor as an alternative of a seventh-gen Core i3, together with 256GB of SSD storage as an alternative of 128GB. Second, the Z14I can be MIL-STD-461G licensed, giving it an additional degree of safety towards electromagnetic interference, which can be of explicit curiosity for defense-related companies. 

$3,599 at Durabook



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One other specialty producer of rugged techniques, Getac’s B300 is just like different flagship laptops just like the Z14I and Latitude 7254, although it’s barely smaller with a 13.Three-inch display as an alternative of a 14-inch one. But it surely additionally goes past the 1,000-nit shows of its opponents, pumping out a whopping 1,400 nits of brightness.

The B300 additionally distinguishes itself with a five-year bumper-to-bumper guarantee, which sounds bizarre for a laptop computer till you do not forget that one of these laptop computer really has bumpers for defense. That would present a further degree of consolation past the MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-461G certifications and IP65 score that the B300 additionally possesses.  

View Now at Getac



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Should you simply want a stable enterprise laptop computer that may survive each day tumbles, the forthcoming ProBook x360 435 G7 convertible can provide you peace of thoughts with out most of the excessive options that flip different rugged laptops into literal heavyweights. In response to HP, it is handed 19 totally different MIL-STD-810G assessments, together with a drop take a look at, whereas weighing in at simply Three.Three kilos.

It additionally comes with a spill-resistant keyboard made from anodized aluminum, and retains the within of the pocket book secure with the self-healing HP Positive Begin BIOS. This ProBook is without doubt one of the first laptops introduced that may use AMD’s newest 7nm Ryzen 4000 processors, which shall be paired with as much as 16GB of RAM, 512GB of solid-state storage, and a 13.Three-inch full HD touchscreen show that makes use of Corning Gorilla Glass. Show choices embody a 1,000-nit super-bright model for out of doors use.

View Now at HP



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Just like the HP ProBook, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon will not be confused with the powerful monsters from Durabook and Getac, however that does not imply your corporation will not admire the rugged options obtainable in a standard laptop computer. Actually, all ThinkPads are designed to go 12 totally different MIL-STD-810G assessments for sturdiness.

Whereas not as many because the 19 assessments the ProBook has handed, ThinkPads additionally endure 200 of Lenovo’s personal high quality checks. The result’s that the X1 Carbon can deal with spills, drops, excessive temperatures, and even zero gravity. Nonetheless, it manages to tip the scales at simply 2.four kilos, thanks partly to its carbon-fiber chassis. You continue to get highly effective specs like 10th-generation Comet Lake Intel Core i5 and i7 processor choices and a 14-inch show that has full HD decision within the base configuration with an choice to improve to a 4K model with 500 nits of brightness.

$1,763 at Amazon.com



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As soon as identified for its stereos and televisions, Panasonic has pivoted to different electronics classes, together with — of all issues — rugged laptops. Its Toughbook line is maybe the best-known model available in the market, and the Toughbook 31 is one in all its best-known notebooks. A beast that weighs over eight kilos, the 31 seemingly has each rugged certification you may consider: MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-461, IP65, and even non-obligatory hazardous location certification.

One space the place this Toughbook does not match up nicely with its rivals is its 13.1-inch touchscreen’s decision — an outdated 1,024×768 pixels — although it is actually vivid sufficient outdoor at 1,200 nits. Alternatively, it does provide extra RAM in its base configuration (16GB versus 8GB) than opponents, together with a Core i5-7300U CPU and 256GB solid-state drive. Panasonic throws in a deal with to hold the magnesium alloy case, which it in all probability ought to, particularly given the Toughbook 31’s hefty price ticket. 

$4,115 at Panasonic



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Panasonic prolonged the Toughbook lineup with its 33 convertible laptop computer, which at present goes toe-to-toe with Dell’s 7214 2-in-1. The show of the 33 is improved over the 31, because the 12-inch removable display has a decision of 1,920×1,200 (WUXGA) whereas retaining 1,200 nits of brightness. 

In any other case, this convertible Toughbook shares most of the 31’s options, equivalent to the identical parts in addition to MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD-461, and IP65 certifications, although the 33’s drop safety is four ft as a laptop computer and 5 ft as a pill in comparison with the 31’s 6 ft threshold. The 33 has additionally been designed to work with the car docks which are obtainable for the 31, making it handy to safe the laptop computer whereas engaged on the transfer.

$3,499 at Panasonic