We can all agree that certain computer usage environments are so demanding that nothing less than an adamantine armored, shock resistant, zero-g compliant laptop certified waterproof to 100 meters will do, but the majority of these environments exist in the movies. Soldiers and construction workers, however, do have need for more durable, or “ruggedized” laptops as they use them in direct sunlight and/or while exposed to the elements, like freezing rain and red hot shrapnel, but do you work under these conditions?
If the answer is yes, then finding a PC worthy enough to meet those challenges is going to be a tough job in itself. Misleading terms like”Rugged” and “Ruggedized” are used for branding, not informational purposes, and a “semi-ruggedized” laptop is pretty much just a regular laptop that’s built specifically to handle tough jobs like emptying your wallet. If you do have the need for a really well-built notebook the numbers you’ll want to pay attention to are the internationally recognized standards like the IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which can be found in the technical specifications of any laptop you’re considering. You should also be wary of manufacturers who claim to comply with the MIL-STD-810G electronic torture test dreamed up by the Department Of Defense. The MIL-STD-810G is a series of sadistic hardware abuses that few if any manufacturers have the resources or facilities to replicate, but still claim to have tried to approximate, therefore making their products “Compliant.”
Chances are very good that like most people, your computer damage anxiety, while certainly real, derives more from everyday accidents like spilled coffee, smeared cupcake crumbs, and your pet’s chewing habits, rather than sand storms and enemy artillery. Do you really want to be the portly guy wearing the expensive running shoes that have never been worn outdoors? Or the weekend warrior rocking a giant chronograph watch designed for professional skin divers?
Let’s get real. If you want to project a macho image, you get the macho accessories, but don’t be duped into paying a lot more for a ruggedized notebook if you don’t really need one. Keep in mind that most ruggedized notebooks are twice as costly and roughly half as powerful as their consumer competition. If you like playing games or require a powerful graphics card to run demanding visual applications you’re out of luck. Ruggedized notebooks are not designed for performance, they are designed to survive.
You could, and probably should, buy two more capable, more upgradeable, consumer level notebooks for the price of one top-of-the-line ruggedized notebook and simply keep one at home and use the other for travel. They can be synched every day, even online if necessary. It is also true that a ruggedized notebook is still a relatively delicate machine; it does not obviate the need to back up your data to an online server or external hard drive every day, the same as a regular notebook. Investing in a solid, well-built laptop case, and using it conscientiously in concert with an aftermarket warranty, is a more affordable option to prolong the life of a laptop that doesn’t need to withstand tornadic forces daily. The real value in any computer is the data it holds and ruggedized notebooks suffer from the same weakness that all other notebooks do, i.e. they can be lost and stolen. They also make for more tempting targets owing to their unique appearance, one that practically screams “Steal Me!” and are costlier to replace; two big disadvantages.
Take a few moments and search for hp coupons, use them to build a consumer laptop on the HP site, and then do the same on the website of a ruggedized notebook manufacturer. Is the 100% price premium really worth the awe and wonder your macho laughtop will inspire?
Author Bio: James McConnell works hard at learning everything and anything he can about PCs, laptops, and notebooks.