There are quite a few companies out there who will sell you a ruggedized laptop, cellphone or digital camera, but they'll also help themselves to a healthy amount from your wallet in return. The gang at Popular Mechanics decided to see if - with only the sort of typical supplies you could find at Home Depot and Staples - they could make their own versions for a whole lot less money. That, of course, provided the ideal opportunity to give one of Dell's Inspiron 1545 notebooks a good kicking.
Stealth Computer have unveiled their latest notebook, the NW-2000, a ruggedized hybrid laptop/tablet based around Intel's 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo, a 13.3-inch sunlight viewable resistive touchscreen and MIL-STD-810F, shock & vibration compliance. The sturdy convertible has 2GB of RAM (4GB maximum), a 160GB shock-mounted hard-drive (or optional SSD) and spill-resistant keyboard, and can cope with being dropped 91cm onto a wood-covered concrete surface 26 times in succession without impairing functionality.
We've covered numerous backup systems here on SlashGear, ranging from simple USB hard-drives through network-attached media boxes and full-on RAID arrays, but bar individual drive failure we've never really considered the impact of physical damage. That's exactly the sort of thing that ioSafe have in mind with their Solo drive, up to 1.5TB of fireproof, waterproof storage. SlashGear have been testing it out.
Hitachi have announced a new range of simple USB hard-drives, together with a basic NAS adapter which can connect two external drives to a network. The SimpleDRIVE Mini and SimpleTOUGH portable USB drives are available in 250, 320 and 500GB capacities, with the former adding ruggedness and the latter basic colors.
Rugged computers generally look like a cross between the Michelin Man and some sort of inflatable life-raft, so it's nice to see a notebook that wears its shock-resistance discretely. To be fair to the competition, the Getac 9213 is described as "business rugged", which means while its full magnesium allow chassis and case, and shock-mounted HDD and 13.3-inch WXGA display may stand up to the occasional bump and drop, it's not quite in Panasonic Toughbook territory.
Nokia have announced a new, rugged cellphone, the 3720 classic, and to celebrate they've been kicking it around a little. Entirely leak-proof, shock-resistant and dust-sealed, the Nokia 3720 classic still squeezes in a 2-megapixel camera, Nokia Maps (on an included 1GB microSD card) and Bluetooth 2.1.
Videos of the Nokia 3720 being mistreated after the cut
Netbook manufacturers trying to distinguish their budget wares are nothing new, and Dell have taken to the classroom with their Latitude 2100. Announced yesterday, the Latitude 2100 packs the usual Intel Atom N270 processor but in an education-friendly design; as LaptopMag found, that means things like a semi-rugged design and a light that lets teachers know that their students are wasting time online.