Round Rock (TX) – No, Dell’s idea isn’t new: There is already something like a Panasonic Toughbook, but Dell says its new Latitude XFR630 is faster and offers more service.
Toughbooks are one of the exiting exotic laptops that draw lots of attention when they turn up in public. Covered in a protective casing, they are about as bulky as a Hummer SUV, and they can deal with most extreme environments you will ever come in contact with. Some time ago, we filmed a demonstration of a Panasonic Toughbook, withstanding drops and water.
Panasonic isn’t the only manufacturer in this segment. Dell launched its first rugged notebook, the Latitude ATG D620 last year, but it never got lots of traction. The Latitude XFR D630 is Dell’s second shot at this segment.
Compared to the Toughbook CF-30 series, Dell’s main message is that the Latitude is faster. The manufacturer claims that not only does the new Latitude offer 23% more system performance, it also offers “up to” four times the graphics speed. The model also comes with standard next business day on-site service (which, of course will only happen, if phone support doesn’t help in the first place) and meets MIL-STD 810F standards from the Department of Defense for products that operate in extreme temperatures, moisture and altitude.
Depending on your preferences the Latitude will cost somewhere between $3900 to $5500, which compares to about $3000 and $4500 a Toughbook CF-30 is currently going for. The Dell option list includes faster processors (up to Core 2 Duo T7500), a 14.1” Touchscreen ($500), 4 GB memory ($300), a 32 GB or a 64 GB solid state disk hard drive to replace the standard 80 GB HDD ($210 and $509), a DVD burner ($50), as well as a mobile broadband card (EV-DO, $149). Dell says it has equipped the Latitude with “ExpressCharge” batteries, which will be charged 30 minutes earlier than competitor devices.