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Portables Displays Hardware

Dell's Rugged Laptop Doesn't Quite Pass 4-Foot Drop Test 113

narramissic writes "Dell's new Latitude E6400 XFR laptop is designed to withstand drops, dust and high pressure water spray. The company claims the laptop, which is intended for military use, can withstand rain and wind gusts of up 70 mph, and can work in temperatures from -20 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also work for an hour at an altitude of 15,000 feet and is designed to withstand drops of around 4 feet (48 inches) when not operating and 36 inches when operational. The LCD screen floats a little bit within the LCD cover so it can take impacts and shock, said Jeremy Bolen, a Dell spokesman. But watch as the laptop that Dell used to show these features wasn't able to withstand the rough treatment that was part of the company's demonstration."
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Dell's Rugged Laptop Doesn't Quite Pass 4-Foot Drop Test

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  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:00AM (#27134801) Journal
    Heck, now that SSDs are a fairly standard option, I'd expect an ordinary laptop to take a 4 foot drop with nothing more than some surface damage. If the laptop is going to be priced like a tank, ugly like a tank, and heavy like a tank, I'd expect rather better.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#27134903)

    Did anyone catch "Attack of the Show" last night? They showed another one of these increasingly trendy "drop proof" laptops. Every time they dropped it (even from just two or three feet), the battery and dvd drive went flying off (requiring a reboot and, of course, costing you any unsaved data).

    The problem with many of these things is that they build bullet-proof titanium super-duper-armour plating for the shell, but use the same old components for the hard drives, battery connections, drive bay connections, etc. The skin of the thing is the LEAST problematic part. I'm more interesting in how you built the hard drive than the SKIN. An adamantium skin won't help your laptop survive if it's using some standard off-the-shelf hard drive and battery.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:07AM (#27134919)

    Really, I am sure if I pushed my laptop off the table - fairly carefully - it would probably survive the fall, if that fall was softened by a carpet... and I could buy several laptops for the price Dell are asking for their super tough, macho, carpet loving laptop.

  • by yincrash ( 854885 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:08AM (#27134927)
    most lcds are definitely not designed to withstand 4ft drops.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:08AM (#27134931)

    Whether it fell off a couch or a cement wall, isn't it more important what it is falling onto instead of what it is falling off of?

  • by Bandman ( 86149 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (namdnab)> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:35AM (#27135331) Homepage

    Reminds me of the idiots who try to impress people with their IT redundancy by pulling a disk out of an array while a VIP is in the room.

    Some day, a rebuild will fail, and you're going to have to work all night to fix your data. Stupid.

  • Re:Meh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anss123 ( 985305 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:36AM (#27135367)

    Dell responded to the crack by saying that the demo laptop was a pre-production model that had already been dropped a hundred times.

    If that's the case I'm a little impressed. LCD screens are depressingly fragile.

  • by Hubec ( 28321 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @11:43AM (#27135517)

    I have the previous generation ATG (D630). It's Dell's entry level "ruggedish" laptop. The monitor is fantastic and the general quality is good (which is the main reason I bought it) However it does have some design issues. The most important one being that the HDD is screwed directly to the external metal chassis. This means ANY sharp jolt to the laptop can destroy your drive. That's exactly what happened to me. I'd just closed the lid when I dropped it at most a half inch back onto the counter. That was enough to kill it.

    The ironic thing is that a regular plastic Dell would have protected the drive better by flexing and transmitting less of the shock. I installed an SSD a couple days ago that should bypass this design flaw once and for all. BTW the OCZ Apex is KICKASS!

  • Re:Or worse... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bandman ( 86149 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (namdnab)> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:14PM (#27136095) Homepage

    Yea...just stupid in general.

    of course, if you had the hot spare marked somehow, I don't believe pulling that out would cause a rebuild.

    Wear and tear on the chassis and sled, yes, and still counts as stupid, since this is IT, and one in a million things happen every day.

  • by Ironica ( 124657 ) <pixel.boondock@org> on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @12:14PM (#27136113) Journal

    If e-paper ever improves enough, this would be an excellent place for it.

    E-paper doesn't withstand drops well, either. I dropped my Kindle from a height of about 2 feet, it landed facing up, and the display was permanently broken. There was a diagonal "crack" in the matrix under the surface, and vertical and horizontal streaks leading up to it. It wasn't pretty.

    Interestingly, it *did* hold the display until it tried to refresh. I didn't realize it was broken until I turned the page.

  • by snarfies ( 115214 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#27137505) Homepage

    This laptop can survive wind gusts of 70mph? I should hope so. I should also hope it would survive wind gusts of 88mph, or 100mph. I'm reasonably certain that every computer I've ever owned, from my lowly C64 all the way up to my current quad-core beast, could survive wind gusts of 70mph.

    BTW, how fast does the air out of those duster cans spray? Just curious...

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