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Hendon Publishing

Refurbished laptops help budget-challenged agencies

Rugged Notebooks Inc., a leading provider of high-end ruggedized notebook computers and related electronic equipment, has launched for public safety agencies “Toughbook Depot”, an eStore that offers significant cost savings on factory-authorized refurbished Panasonic Toughbook computers.

Law enforcement and other public agencies are increasingly turning to alternative sources to meet their Mobile Data Terminal needs in these constrained economic conditions. Toughbook Depot is proving to be one of those sources.

Buying pre-owned and refurbished Toughbooks is helping small municipal police departments and other public safety agencies cope with budget cuts and layoffs by lowering the cost of ownership. This value is allowing local agencies to keep up with their expansion and still provide the high technology resources that today’s law enforcement requires.

Not every laptop will pass the rigorous, multi-point quality checklist…essential to qualify as a premium, pre-owned and fully refurbished Toughbook computer. These computers initially must be hand-selected from the inventory of all the Toughbook computers received at the refurbishing center. Each piece of hardware must meet stringent functionality requirements and certain cosmetic prerequisites.

Toughbook Depot Total Evaluation

Purchasers require “peace-of-mind” when they are buying a renovated laptop computer. Public safety personnel depend on their Toughbook computers for top performance and job efficiency. This can range from use in a police car, fire equipment, an ambulance, or any other environment where a fully rugged computer is relied upon for daily use. It is this very reason why full diagnostic testing is executed on every computer. An overall rating of each Toughbook is executed and checked off against individual model configuration specs and performance measures. A multi-point quality evaluation checklist will include (but is not limited to) the following: Exterior cosmetic inspection; Test handles and strap rings; Functionality check of doors, latches and covers; Power-up and boot-up testing; Display functionality (additional testing for touchscreen models); Touchscreen standard calibration; Touchpad functionality/check for wear marks; Keypad functionality/check for wear marks; Screen check for blemishes and/or scratches; Screen image clarity; and Standard battery testing.

Rigorous Reconditioning

To fully assure that Toughbook Depot customers receive the highest quality, each laptop computer undergoes a complete reconditioning and any required “new parts” are installed. For example, LCD screens that do not test as sharp, and that cannot be repaired or replaced, are moved out from the line. Units that are not in “like-new” condition (and can’t be brought back) are designated according to the cosmetic conditions present.

Even though hard drives may have been erased by a previous owner, all drives are checked for residual data. Each hard drive is then thoroughly wiped and data sanitized in accordance with DOD Compliance Standard 5220.22-M. Buyers therefore are assured of receiving a Toughbook computer with a “clean” HDD.

To gain customer assurance, every Toughbook Depot’s device is examined again prior to proceeding to the last cleaning and packing operation for quality control. All processing and imaging functions are checked once again as well as all ports, covers, latches and seals. A final cosmetics rating is affirmed so the “like-new” identification can be confirmed.

Most people don’t want to type on a keyboard that has been previously used by another individual so each refurbished Toughbook computer is not only wiped, but thoroughly cleansed and sanitized. All ports are cleaned again with an air gun and the port covers securely fastened. In addition, all accessories and documentation are included so every Toughbook is accompanied with new certification documents and manuals for the designated unit. This information can be found packaged in each box, along with a power cord and accessories. Before a Toughbook Depot’s computer is approved for shipping, it is securely packed for extra protection and is re-packaged in a new box with appropriate packing material to guard against damage during shipping and handling while in transport.

Toughbook Computers in Action

According to Detective T. Milner of the Sansom, TX Police Department, “The only computer a police department can use is a Toughbook; it’s the only computer you will be happy with…you save a lot over time.” The Sansom Police Department has purchased eight CF-29 refurbished Toughbook fully rugged computers from Toughbook Depot this year.

The City of Hemet, CA also recently purchased 12 multiple CF-29 Toughbook computers to be utilized in vehicles belonging to the Department of Housing and Building Inspection. Syd Woods, of the City of Hemet IT Department said, “These will be used for code enforcement within both departments. We are happy with our Toughbook Depot experience… these are the same units we utilize in our police vehicles.” According to Woods, they chose the refurbished units over new units due to the significant cost savings.

Published in Public Safety IT, Sep/Oct 2009

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