Here are key points about the Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme.
Durable to an Extreme: Built using the latest in rugged technology, the Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is extremely durable and tough. I watched as the notebook was dropped from up to 6 feet, sprayed with water, and doused in a corrosive salt-water mixture. Dell even tests the hinges to ensure they will last the lifetime of the device. The magnesium alloy shell and ultra-polymer shock absorbers provide excellent physical protection. The doors for the ports are even tough and do not feel flimsy.
One might assume the doors that waterproof the connectors are the notebook's weakness, but I accidentally dropped the notebook with one of the hinges opened up, and the door didn't break or give me any trouble afterward. If you don't want to take my word on it, the notebook is certified by an independent lab to meet many military specifications for durability.
14" Resistive Touch Display: The touchpad was okay, but a bit sluggish, and I found the touchscreen display to be more useful. You can even use the touch display with gloves on. I liked the responsiveness of the display's touch ability. The display also has excellent daylight viewability.
Excellent Security: Along with TPM 2.0 and secure boot enabled, the notebook offers many security features in both hardware and software. Dell offers total device encryption, and if that isn't enough, you can use the device's boot wipe and ensure that after you use it, it cleans itself. The SSD can be removed in seconds in case you have to dump the notebook, but you need to maintain control over the data. The camera also has a nice cover door, and in case you forget to close it, there is a bright white LED that shines when it's enabled.
Battery Life: The Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme's 97Wh battery puts it at the top of our list when it comes to battery life. In fact, it took me days to run all my battery draining benchmarks because it just wouldn't drain to zero. The battery is also removable, and each battery has a LED indicator so you can check to see how much charge is in the battery before swapping it.
Updated Hardware: A lot of enterprise solutions use previous generation hardware because it's been proven. The use of a mobile Skylake CPU with an SSD ensures that you have something capable of lasting generations. Intel calls Skylake their "Best CPU Ever," and now that Kaby Lake has come out, we see that it doesn't offer much regarding IPC gains over its predecessor, indicating Skylake will be good enough for many years. The use of an SSD and Windows 10 makes the system snappy and responsive, of course, you can get the unit with Windows 7 if that is what you prefer.
Dell's Services: When I toured Dell's facilities they mentioned that all Rugged and Rugged Extreme products receive Dell's in-house support. That is a big deal since many of Dell's competitors outsource that service. Along with Dell's support, you can purchase Dell's Threat Protection and Endpoint security suite, Dell Data Security Encryption, or if you are a small outfit Dell offers Data Security services for small and medium-sized businesses. The notebook also comes with a 3-year limited hardware warranty.
Stylus Tether: It's hard to nitpick at the notebook since Dell has designed their new Rugged products from the ground up, but the stylus's tether could be a potential problem if you move the notebook around a lot. While the tether won't tangle easily, I could see it getting snagged.
Touch Pad Responsiveness: Moving the mouse cursor with the touchpad takes more time than just touching the screen.
The Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is built to compete against the well-established Panasonic Toughbook. While at first Dell's Rugged lineup was just an adaptation of their normal Latitude lineup, over the years, Dell has realized that they need to redesign the notebook from the ground up to become a viable option in the industry.
The Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is a truly rugged notebook. It offers the security, durability, and performance expected in this market segment and the customization options are there in case you want a little more or less.
The notebook itself is also quite speedy. Intel's Skylake microarchitecture is good enough to last for years with Windows 10, and the SSD makes it so that loading software is quick and painless. Productivity won't be hampered by the hardware. Some people might assume that performance would be hindered to reduce heat and ensure longer battery life and more durability, but that isn't the case here.
Dell has built a tough workhorse for anyone who needs a fast notebook built for extreme environments.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||99%|
|Bundle and Packaging||88%|
|Value for Money||89%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||92%|
The Bottom Line: The extremely durable Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme is built for the harshest environments using high-quality materials and sound hardware design.
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