Review: Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme – From snow storms to deserts, a machine that will keep on running!

The Dell Rugged series is one that is not designed for average use. The Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme even more so. With military grade testing that will survive any kind of drop, snow storms or desert conditions, the laptop is made to last. A convertible touch screen that flips to turn this into a tablet makes it ‘2-in-1’, though at around 5kg, this isn’t the most portable device. Of course, all that protection had to come at a price.

Quick Specs

  • Protected against water, dust, vibration and extreme vibrations
  • Designed to withstand up to 6 feet of drops
  • Sealed gaskets and doors protect your device and all the ports
  • ThermaQuad technology protects it against extreme temperatures
  • Up to 9.1 hours of battery life, with hot swappable batteries
  • Crisp 11.6″ outdoor readable display, with resistive multi-touch and 1366 x 768 pixels.
  • Resistive touch pad
  • Customisable RGB backlit keyboard
  • 6th Generation i3, i5 or i7 processors
  • Safeguard your data with extra protection
  • Windows 10 Pro and others
  • Up to 32GB of RAM
  • Up to 1TB of SSD
  • Ethernet, GPS, Bluetooth, GPRS, WiFi
  • USB 3, SD Card Reader, HDMI, VGA
  • And my favourite port, one that you never see any more, an RS232 port

Look and feel

  • There are no doubts about how rugged the device is when you look at it. It looks it, and at around 5kg, it definitely feels it.
  • All the ports are covered with little doors that give you IP protection. All the protective doors are actually opened or closed with tiny hinges, instead of being the usual rubberised open/close mechanism. This means that you can open and close the protective doors with
  • There are extra touches visible all around the device. This is evident in how even the camera comes with a little protective window letting you open and close it.
  • The laptop opens and closes with a latch.

  • Once open, you can easily push on the screen to twist it around and turn this into tablet mode.
  • The 11.6″ screen does feel a tad bit small for the size of the laptop. This is probably because we have been spoilt rotten by very compact laptops recently, packing in lots of screen with not much bezel.
  • The screen itself is resistive, meaning it doesn’t quite feel like a smartphone, but more importantly, in harsh conditions, can be used with gloves.
  • The same goes for the touchpad. Being resistive means it is not as responsive as your average touchpad, but it can be operated with gloves on, and with the included stylus.
  • The stylus slots into a handy slot when not in use, and comes with a small spring keeping it attached to the device.

Performance

With an i7 processor, 236GB hard drive and 16GB of RAM, we had little to complain about. It worked rather well in all our daily usage tests, such as browsers being open and watching videos.

Protection

So, the protection bit. Sadly we don’t live exciting enough lives actually test it in the right conditions. However, spilling water on it, leaving it out for a night on a very cold night, as well as using it in the bath were all tests that it passed on. Of course, if anybody wants to take us skiing or on a desert safari, we’d be happy to bring this along!

Bottom-line, if you are a field engineer, you will appreciate the protection this device comes packed in with. You can use it in all sorts of conditions, with little to worry about.

Portability

All this comes at a cost though. This is bulky, fat and heavy. With all that, you will hardly ever use it in tablet mode, as it just isn’t the kind of device you’ll carry in one arm while you operate it with the other. With the small screen and the bulk, it isn’t also the kind of device you will sit with in your office, or bring out in a meeting.

Battery Life

It claims to have a battery life of 9 hours. We found that it easily hit that in our usual tests.

More information

More information on the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme can be found on the Dell website.

Verdict

Starting at £3000, this isn’t designed for your average user. However, if you have the conditions for it, this isn’t a bad price to pay for a computer that will survive pretty much anything you throw at it. The challenge is, can you challenge its survival?

You can have a read of the full specs in the section below.

Full Specifications

Name / model:

Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme / 7214

 Processors:

6th generation Intel® CoreTM i3, i5 and i7 dual-core processors

Operating Systems:

Windows® 10 Pro/Home (64-bit), Windows® 8.1 Pro (64-bit), Windows® 8.1 (64-bit), Genuine Windows® 7 Professional (64/32-bit); Linux Ubuntu 14.04

Memory:

2 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB 2133MHz DDR4

Graphics:

Intel HD Graphics 520

Display:

11.6” HD (1366 x 768) 16:9 Direct-View outdoor-readable display with resistive multi-touch

Storage:

128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB mobility solid state drives; Optional 256GB, 512GB SED SSD

Ports, Slots and Peripherals:

High-quality speaker, integrated noise-reducing array microphones, stereo headphone/microphone combo jack, Optional integrated FHD video front web camera with privacy shutter, available 8MP rear camera with LED ash
4-cell (56 Whr) lithium-ion battery; Optional 4-cell (50 Whr) long life cycle lithium-ion battery with 3 year warranty; Optional hot-swap bridge battery
65W AC adapter; Optional 90W auto/air DC adapter
10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet and triple RF-passthough (GPS, mobile broadband and Wi-Fi)
Wireless LAN: Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (802.11ac, dual band, 2×2, up to 867 Mbps) with Bluetooth® 4.2 + vProTM Mobile broadband4, 9: Optional Dell Wireless 5808E multi-mode GobiTM 5000 4G LTE card (US and Canada only: AT&T,
Verizon, Sprint, Rogers, Telus); Optional Dell Wireless 5809E multi-mode GobiTM 5000 4G LTE card (Europe, Asia Paci c) GPS: Optional dedicated u-blox NEO-M8 GPS card
Ports: USB 3.0 (2), USB 2.0, native RS-232 serial port, RJ-45 gigabit Ethernet network connector, stereo headphone/ microphone combo jack, pogo-pin docking connector, VGA, HDMI
Slots: Memory card reader, ExpressCard 54 mm or PCMCIA (Selecting ExpressCard or PCMCIA replaces 1 USB 3.0 port and memory card reader); M.2 slots (2 internal)
Optional docking: Rugged DisplayPort notebook desk dock, third-party vehicle docking9 Optional Quick-Disconnect peripherals: Rubber handle, nylon handle, shoulder strap, hand strap

Security:

Steel-reinforced cable lock slot, SmartCard reader, contactless SmartCard reader, optional fingerprint reader, TPM 2.09, ControlVaultTM advanced authentication, Dell Security Tools, Dell Data Protection | Encryption, NIST SP800-147 secure platform, Dell Backup and Recovery

Dimensions:

Starting at 12.2” x 9.0” x 1.6” (311 x 229 x 39 mm); 12.6” x 11.2” x 1.85” (321 x 284 x 47 mm) maximum Weight: Starting at 6.0 lbs. (2.72 kg) with 4-cell battery

Inputs

Rugged RGB backlit keyboard; Optional rubberized RGB backlit keyboard (English only); Resistive touchpad, Resistive glove-capable 5-point multi-touch screen

Management:

Intel vProTM technology’s advanced management features on i5/i7 configurations Regulatory model: P18T Regulatory type: P18T002 Energy Star 6.0, EPEAT

Regulations:

MIL-STD-810G testing: Transit drop (72”,60”,48”; single unit; 78 drops), operating drop (36”), blowing rain, blowing dust, blowing sand, vibration, functional shock, humidity, salt fog (with rubberized keyboard), altitude, explosive atmosphere, solar radiation, thermal extremes, thermal shock, freeze/thaw, tactical standby to operational
Operating thermal range: -20°F to 145°F (-29°C to 63°C); Non-operating range: -60°F to 160°F (-51°C to 71°C) IEC 60529 ingress protection1: IP65 (dust-tight, protected against pressurized water)
Hazardous locations: ANSI/ISA.12.12.01 certification capable (Class I, Division 2, Groups A, B, C,D) Electromagnetic interference: MIL-STD-461F certified
Based on testing and certification to MIL-STD-810G, IEC 60529 (IP65), MIL-STD-461F, and ANSI/ISA.12.12.01 standards, performed and reported independently by accredited testing companies. ANSI/ISA.12.12.01 must be specified at time of order for certification. Contact your sales representative for more information.

Sami Mughalhttps://www.oxgadgets.com
Can be found somewhere between designing new tech as an electronics engineer or testing new tech as a technology enthusiast. Lives mostly on Twitter, and would love to have a word with you there as @smacula.

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