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Rugged Notebook Roundup

Mobile computing technology has advanced in the past few years to meet the demands of public safety personnel who often find themselves in extreme or harsh environments. Many of the top computer companies now offer rugged laptops for those first responders who demand a tough and reliable mobile computer to operate more effectively in the field. The following is a look at some of the high-performance rugged notebooks that are becoming standard in public safety agencies worldwide.


The ROCKY RK886EX from AMREL is the first fully rugged notebook computer to offer a VGA 128MB NVIDIA option to support true 3D Modeling and CADD Systems. The RK886EX’s Intel Core 2 Duo CPU offers more processing power for faster application response time, and it is VISTA compatible.

The RK886EX uses DDR2-533 RAM with capacities from 512MB up to 2GB. The NVIDIA graphics chipset supports a native resolution of 1400 x 1050 through a 15.1-inch XGA screen with an option to upgrade to an SXGA+ screen. Meeting MIL-STD 810F and IP54, the RK886EX is water, dust and sand proof, as well as resistant to extreme shock, vibration, humidity, salt fog and extreme temperatures.

Brite Computers

Brite Computers’ Mobile Computing Solution seamlessly integrates mounting, computing and printing requirements. This semi-rugged in-vehicle solution includes the all-new Fujitsu Lifebook T4215 convertible notebook computer, Pentax PocketJet 3 Plus printing solution, complete console including room for radio and signaling devices, and professional installation.

Completely customizable mounting equipment from Brite Computers provides the ability to install the mobile solution in virtually any vehicle configuration. This adaptability allows for a single hardware setup to be implemented into a full fleet of vehicles for enhanced interoperability and portability. All mounting hardware takes into account vehicle collision safety, including airbag-deployment requirements.


The first ruggedized notebook from Dell, the Latitude™ ATG™ (All-Terrain Grade) D620 meets military standards for vibration, humidity and altitude and is designed to protect against accidental bumps, moisture and other elements that first responders often encounter working in the field. The new system features a shock-mounted hard drive, spill-resistant keyboard, port covers and high-durability paint.

The Latitude ATG includes a 14.1-inch display with ambient light sensor (ALS), glass overlay and anti-reflective coating. For better viewing in sunlight, the LCD display is 1.5 times brighter than most mainstream corporate notebooks. The Latitude ATG also supports up to 4GB3 DDR2 SDRAM with Intel™ Core 2 Duo processors and is Microsoft® Windows™ Vista capable.


DuraTab USA Corp.’s new rugged M3 Series tablet computer system was designed specifically to meet the demands of the law enforcement, fire / EMS, industrial controls and military markets. DuraTab’s M3 Series tablet computer is housed in a 12-inch x 9.5-inch x 1.75-inch all-metal package with a high-visibility, 12-inch touch screen display and features a powerful 1.6 GHz Pentium M processor, providing a full-function Windows XP or Vista-based computer system.

Weighing just under 6 pounds and featuring a fold-away carry handle, the M3 Series can instantly go from in-vehicle to fully portable field use. The M3 Series is a single handheld tablet-style unit for convenient use in both in-vehicle and in-field operational situations. The M3 uses a proprietary design to cool the product without the need for a fan, eliminating a key source of noise and greatly improving reliability while extending battery life between charges to more than 7 hours.


The LifeBook® P1610 ultra-portable notebook from Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. is the first pen-enabled notebook with a solid state drive (SSD), an advanced NAND flash-based replacement for traditional hard disk drives. The new rugged-enhanced notebook, designed for optimal portability and data protection, is ideal for on-the-go mobile professionals who require the flexibility of a tablet for note taking or navigating through forms-based applications, along with the traditional keyboard input of a notebook computer.

The 2.2-pound LifeBook P1610 convertible 8.9-inch indoor / outdoor touch screen notebook is now offered with two flash-based SSD configurations, 16 GB or 32 GB. The SSDs are noise free, lightweight and generate virtually no heat. In addition, SSDs offer faster performance and quicker boot-up time because data access is virtually instantaneous.


GETAC Inc.’s convertible rugged tablet V100 is MIL-STD 810F and IP54 compliant and features a 10.4-inch (or optional 12.1-inch-wide) LCD screen, lightweight design and 180 degrees rotatable screen to transform from a notebook into a tablet PC.

The V100’s rugged standards meet the demands of the military, law enforcement, utility and field service applications. The V100 is housed in a magnesium alloy case with a fan-less design, shock-mounted removable hard drive and high portability 2.2 kg weight, along with the lower power consumption Intel Core™ Duo 1.2 GHz processor, 512 MB DRAM and an 80 GB hard drive. All GETAC products are waterproof to protect from unexpected spills and sprays. Additional features include: sunlight-readable display solution; integrated GPS, Bluetooth, 3G and 802.11a/b/g capability; and reversible waterproof camera.

Glacier Computer

 Ideal for forklift and fixed-mount applications, Glacier Computer’s Everest series of rugged computers is available in 10.4-inch and 12.1-inch screens, with an array of processor options, from a 600 MHz Celeron up to a 1.4 GHz Pentium M, and up to 1 GB DRAM. Additionally, these computers can operate using Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Embedded, Windows Vista and Linux.

The Everest series features a custom onboard diagnostic and configuration utility, as well as programmable function buttons. Providing a 6V to 60V isolated internal power supply, the Everest eliminates the need for external power converters or filters. Other features include: multiple standard I/O, USB 2.0, internal one-hour smart UPS and multiple expansion slots. The Everest offers 802.11a/b/g LAN, WAN and GPS options. Built to MIL-SPEC standards, these computers have an IP 64 environmental rating, are HALT tested, have passed thermal and reliability testing, and have an MTBF of nearly 40,000 hours.

General Dynamics Itronix

The GoBook VR-2 is General Dynamics Itronix’s next-generation semi-rugged notebook computer, with the new Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0 GHz processor, plus ergonomics and wireless features. Designed to meet the needs of mobile workers in a variety of commercial, field service, public safety and military markets, the GoBook VR-2 features a 13.3-inch display with Dynavue™ technology that offers viewing in all lighting conditions, even direct sunlight. The patent-pending DynaVue reduces power consumption and optimizes the notebook’s battery performance without adding extra weight.

The GoBook VR-2 is the only semi-rugged notebook with external antenna connections and a built-in global positioning system (GPS). At 6.2 pounds, with a full-sized spill-resistant keyboard, the VR-2 offers the most carry and docking options, with a published drop spec of 26 drops from 30 inches. It meets the military specifications for temperature, dust and humidity for fully rugged systems (IP 5x). The VR-2 is TPM 1.2 secure, with an optional biometric fingerprint reader that enables high security and the gradual elimination of numerous passwords.


The new fanless Kontron NotePAC Ultra is equipped with the 1.66 GHz Intel® Core™ Duo T2300 processor with 667 MHz FSB, designed for use in high-performance mobile applications requiring low power usage. The full magnesium alloy case and tough rubber corner bumpers enable the system to survive 3-foot drops. It complies with the MIL-STD810F standard for extreme environments. Data safety is ensured by several security features, such as the built-in TPM 1.2 chip and SmartCard reader for user identification.

The NotePAC Ultra’s graphics are provided by the Intel 945GM chipset with up to 128MB shared video memory and up to 2GB DDR-RAM. Kontron’s sunlight-readable display solution for the NotePAC Ultra increases the LCD brightness to 450 nits (cd/m²) by improving the efficiency of the LCD backlight without increasing power consumption. The NotePAC Ultra can be equipped with a 14.1-inch (1,024 x 768) or high-resolution 15-inch (1,400 x 1,050) LCD screen. The media bay holds a combo or dual CD/DVD-RW drive.


Motorola Inc.’s ML910™Rugged Notebook delivers reliable and secure access to mission and business-critical information for government and public safety users. Optimized for seamless wireless communications, the ML910 features the first 13.3-inch widescreen display providing higher resolution and more space to view multiple applications. Fingerprint authentication is a standard feature.

Built and tested to the MIL-STD-810F standard, the ML910 offers an Intel® Core™ Duo 1.66Ghz processor and also features an ATI Radeon X1400 discrete graphics controller from AMD, with 128 MB dedicated video memory and a video capture card that enables high performance graphics and real-time video processing. A hard drive heater for startup and operation in freezing temperatures comes standard on the ML910, and it also has diagnostic software that monitors internal conditions and prevents outages due to extreme heat and cold.

Published in Public Safety IT, May/Jun 2007

Rating : 4.0

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