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Dell has announces laptop up to military standards

Dell today announced its answer to the Panasonic Toughbook. The Texas-based computer company has released details on its first semi-rugged notebook computer for customers who work in tough environments – the Latitude ATG D620 (the ATG stands for All-Terrain Grade). The Latitude ATG with Core 2 Duo is now available in the U.S. and will be available in other Dell regions in the next couple weeks. Pricing starts at $2499.

According to Dell, the Latitude ATG meets military standards for vibration, humidity and altitude and is designed to protect against accidental bumps, moisture, and other elements that customers encounter working in the field.

The new system features a shock-mounted hard drive, spill-resistant keyboard, port covers and high durability paint and is designed to withstand challenging conditions commonly associated with military environments, construction sites and first responders, such as police and emergency organizations.

For better viewing in sunlight the Latitude ATG includes a 14.1-inch display that is 1.5 times brighter than most mainstream corporate notebooks. The display also features an ambient light sensor, glass overlay and anti-reflective coating.

TaylorMade Golf has used the Latitude ATG to help custom-fit golfers with clubs using its exclusive motion analysis technology (MATT-i). With notebook computers, TaylorMade can analyze golf swings outdoors calculating the angle and speed they produce.

“It seemed as if Dell had TaylorMade specifically in mind when developing this product,” said Ted Jaskowiak, R&D IT account manager at TaylorMade Golf. “The screen’s brightness is exactly what we need to use in our outdoor facilities and the added rugged features will help us protect our equipment from everyday bumps and bruises.”

“The Latitude ATG is a prime example of Dell’s commitment to customer-driven innovation,” said Jeff Clarke, senior vice president Dell Product Group. “We have heard from customers loud and clear that a tougher, highly protective notebook with a screen that is easy to see outdoors is necessary in many lines of work. We’re glad that we could meet that customer request with a product distinguished by industry-leading features.”

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By RMSistight on 1/17/2007 2:53:23 PM , Rating: 5
Somehow the words "Dell" and "rugged" don't seem to match together. Can't beat the Panasonic Toughbooks.

RE: ???
By DarkPrime on 1/17/2007 3:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
This is definately more attractive looking than a panasonic toughbook, but I doubt it's as tough. Seems to be a nice product from Dell.

RE: ???
By Vertigo101 on 1/17/2007 3:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. We've been using those Toughbooks for years in my department. They've been very nice. It'll be interesting to see how this Dell model holds up in the field.

RE: ???
By Souka on 1/17/2007 5:36:31 PM , Rating: 4
"shock mounted HD"....aka rubber gromets.

they should use what Lenovo Thinkpad's have done for years also....a shock sensor that auto-park's HD when dropped. The X series in our field get abused soo much...spilled coffee, dropped, left on cars...but HD failure is almost non existent now. Except for being left on a car's roof, the X series also rarely get dammaged engough need being replaced.

Wish Lenovo would ruggedize a thinkpad...that would be sweet.

RE: ???
By Creig on 1/17/2007 7:55:58 PM , Rating: 2
I admit I've left my coffee on the roof of my car/truck a few times, but never a laptop. :O

RE: ???
By Samus on 1/18/2007 12:44:37 AM , Rating: 2
The T-series of Thinkpad's are already pretty rugged, probably just as much as these new Dell's, but nothing up to par with the Toughbook's.

Panasonic has a 10-year head start on Dell when it comes to making military grade products.

RE: ???
By Marlowe on 1/18/2007 10:24:49 AM , Rating: 2
What they need is solid state drives, like the 32 and 64GB versions coming out now and shown by even Dell on CES. Like any mp3 player they should be very resistant to shocks and vibration. Why use classic harddrives in such a laptop in 2007 when you have better alternatives. The price shouldn't matter much either, as these are sold at a pretty hefty premium already it looks like!

RE: ???
By RogueSpear on 1/17/2007 7:26:00 PM , Rating: 4
I've been getting ToughBooks for years now. In fact the first batch we bought more than five years ago are still running strong for the most part. A couple took fatal blows from flying objects in car wrecks. Along the way we've tried demo units from Motorola and a couple of other lesser known brands. The Motorola was an absolute joke. It was not a well engineered product in at least a dozen ways.

As a side point, we also have a couple of Panasonic's "semi-rugged" ToughBooks and let me tell you, they're pretty damn tough. Much more so than Motorola's supposedly full rugged unit. If I had the chance to put a demo unit of this Dell into a car for a week I'd certainly be interested, but just from the looks it doesn't seem as though it would hold up so well.

RE: ???
By Samus on 1/18/2007 12:45:34 AM , Rating: 2
Motorola...not well engineered? Nooooooooooooooooo!? :rolls eyes: ;)

RE: ???
By Googer on 1/17/2007 11:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
In Government tests, Itronix (brand) rugged laptops out performed Panasonic Toughbooks.

RE: ???
By Googer on 1/18/2007 12:18:16 AM , Rating: 2
In reply to my last post:

Watch this Video of an Itronix Laptop operating "in the rain"

By Operandi on 1/17/2007 2:44:48 PM , Rating: 4
This will be great for watching movies during those long flights in my F-22.

RE: Excellent
By jarman on 1/17/2007 5:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine those flights being too long at super-cruise. At least it won't matter if you spill your latte!

Seems like a candidate for SSD
By Missing Ghost on 1/17/2007 3:17:12 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like this would be a nice place to use a solid state flash drive....why would they want to use a hard drive?

By mindless1 on 1/17/2007 10:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
Because Dell wants to remain cost competitive, and with Vista coming out it would cost a heck of a lot to equip with suitably sized flash drive.

I do agree though, if cost isn't a limitation then a flash drive wins hands down. I'd like to see some changes on the Dell laptop though, I'm thinking ultraviolet LEDs and reactive paint would be cool, I can't see much need to have illumination over all the keys if you can make out the letters on them instead, it's not like you can write anything with a piece of paper on top of the keyboard and if you want to see a map or whatever, I'd expect you will use a flashlight (red light if needed), not the notebook.

about time
By TedStriker on 1/17/2007 3:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
great for companies that deal mostly / only with Dell and have users out in the field. I like that it's based off the D620, just wish the HD would be one of their faster 7200rpm drives.

RE: about time
By nrapopor on 1/18/2007 2:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
Dell notebooks are NOT for the corporate frequent traveler crowd. The case and the screen is way to flimsy and the components are way to flakey.

Other than perceived cost savings by the bean counters (that do not really materialize when so many “road warriors” in the company have to constantly ship defective/broken Dell parts and shells back and forth).

It is especially looks pathetic when a technology vendor’s reps/consultants show up on site with notebooks that look like they had about 1000 years worth of wear and tear, and have conspicuous duct tape “repairs”.

Just anecdotally – in two years of using a dell, I had to have two shells and a screen replaced, while in the five years prior to that ThinkPad had not a single hardware issue. BTW I still have it and it still works.

The cherry on this banana split was the guy from IT, who I later found out was instrumental in choosing Dell as an exclusive vendor, was trying to convince me that dell’s are sooooo much better just as his laptop screen died.

So I doubt that these dells will stand up to a real "field" environment. The shell is plastic!!!!!!!!!!!!


By Brandon Hill on 1/17/2007 3:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Review
By Samus on 1/18/2007 12:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
So basically the review says Dell's idea of a rugged notebook is a thicker shell, more magnesium and a spill proof keyboard.

I think I just felt a swift chill down here in hell.

Red Lights
By Uncle C on 1/17/2007 6:10:05 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone know exactley why red lights don't effect your night vision? Something about you not needing to use the rods in your eyes but the cones instead?

RE: Red Lights
By mindless1 on 1/17/2007 10:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Anandtech review/comparison
By timmiser on 1/18/2007 3:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
I can't wait for the Anandtech review or comparison with the toughbook. Instead of benchmarks of quake, let's see how the notebooks fair being dropped on a concrete floor from 1', 5', and 10'... Then ran over by a car... Then dropped in a swimming pool.

Then see how well each one performs with Doom 3!

RE: Anandtech review/comparison
By mindless1 on 1/19/2007 4:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
... then with exploding batteries installed and flaming

All kidding aside, I'd like a notebook that had a little bit more protection between the battery (or fuel cell, etc) compartment and the rest, and between it and the external world.

Not ruggedized
By kextyn on 1/17/2007 2:58:15 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say that's semi rugged at best. There's a reason why the government buys laptops like the Panasonic Toughbook CF28 (and similar.)

Great for:
By xzourska on 1/17/2007 3:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well this laptop would be great for many people. After seeing this article and reading about the spill resistant keyboard I figured this would be perfect for college students! I wonder how high of a fall it really can survive with the hard drive running before damage occurs?

All Terrain Grade?
By thecoolnessrune on 1/18/2007 6:16:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why isn't the casing made by Cooper then?

By rudy on 1/17/07, Rating: -1
By rudy on 1/17/2007 3:00:31 PM , Rating: 1
Never mind it was ACG not ATG, but still very close.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

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