Extreme Tech: 10 Hot Rugged Tech Devices To Go Off The Grid10:00 AM EST Tue. Jun. 11, 2013
Tech products have often faced the daunting perils of everyday liquid spills, drops and physical debris that can cram the hardware or break a device's screen -- but in recent years more durable designs have emerged on the scene, allowing tech to break into new areas of business. Here's a list of some of the newest tablets, laptops and mobile devices that were designed to be as durable as they are technologically advanced.
Web-enabled information appliances developer and manufacturer DT Research created DT398(B/C), its latest line of rugged tablets, to meet the demands of government and military expeditions. Featuring a 9.7-inch resistive touchscreen with a glare-resistant option, high-performance and energy-efficient Intel processors, and support for Windows 7 and Linux operating systems, this tough tablet is equipped with the software necessary to do any professional job. This military-certified tablet is dust and waterproof and built to operate even in extreme temperatures, from minus 4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. With its built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, it can connect in the remotest of areas and allow users to get the job done no matter where they are.
U12Ci, GammaTech’s new semi-rugged Durabook, is not only spillproof, with a waterproof keyboard and touchpad able to withstand almost 3.5 ounces of liquid, but also cold and heat resistant, able to operate in temperatures from minus 4 to about 122 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as shockproof, able to endure a 4-foot drop. The 12.1-inch resistive touch LCD display features Intel HD graphics and a convertible swivel screen that allows for notebook and tablet functioning, while the integrated handle makes it easy to take on the go. This laptop is ready to report for heavy-duty demands and starts at less than $1,000, according to Rugged PC Review.
Toughpad FZ-G1, Panasonic's newest addition to its line of rugged tablets, also features 4-foot drop endurance as well as an extreme-weather and water resistant design. The 10.1-inch HD screen is daylight-readable and includes 10-point multitouch and digitizer, allowing for recognition of unique input from all 10 fingers at once. Equipped with Windows 8 Pro, a third-generation Intel Core Processor and USB, as well as HDMI ports, this Toughpad offers much of the same functionality of a laptop in a durable and portable package. The 10-inch Toughpad FZ-G1 is priced at $2,900, with a smaller 7-inch, Android-based counterpart priced at $1,300, according to Mashable.
CAT's B15 smartphone, made by the same company that manufactures bulldozers, promises to be tough as nails and smart too. Dustproof, waterproof and impact resistant, this phone features a rubberized casing with few openings, a 4-inch scratchproof Gorilla glass screen and an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. It tracks finger motions even when the screen is wet and, according to the company's site, will bounce back from an almost 6-foot drop on concrete. Priced around $350, CAT also offers two lesser models starting at $130, but it isn't compatible with CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint.
FinePix XP200, Fujifilm's rugged new camera, has all the specs of a digital camera with the extreme durability of other rugged products. Waterproof to 50 feet, shockproof for over a 6-foot drop, dustproof, and cold-enduring to as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, this camera is built to capture the perfect picture no matter the environment. Featuring a 3-inch LCD screen with anti-reflective coating, a versatile shooting mode with seven special effects, full HD filming capabilities, and a high-resolution sensor with optical image stabilization, this is more than just a tough camera. Additionally, it contains Fujifilm's new Camera Application, which allows for wireless image transfer to smartphones and computers. The FinePix XP200 is priced around $300.
The G-Shock GB6900, Casio's latest additions to its sturdy-watch line, finally came to America in December and was the first of its rugged watches to also feature Bluetooth connectivity. Like all of G-Shock's watches, the GB6900 is shockproof and water resistant up to more than 650 feet and designed to absorb the wear-and-tear of an active life. It features an LED backlight, multiple daily alarms with a vibration function and a battery life of up to two years. Taking a major tech-leap forward, this watch has the ability to link with the iPhone 4S and 5, in conjunction with Casio's G-SHOCK+ application, to receive incoming mail, text and call alerts as well as calendar notifications, time synchronization, and find a missing phone. Priced around $180, according to Engadget, this watch is the epitome of durable tech.
Getac's B300 rugged laptop first debuted in 2008, but the fourth-generation version was released early last year and operates on Windows 7 Professional. The latest B300 features an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor that allows it to perform 67 percent faster than previous models, new Intel HD graphics, built-in 4G LTE and Wi-Fi access, and increased power efficiency that gives it one of the longest battery lives on the market -- lasting up to a total of 30 hours with dual batteries. Its sealed design and waterproof keyboard protect against dust and liquids, while the magnesium alloy it contains protects against drops and vibrations in temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The new 13-inch QuadraClear display allows for readability in the sun, as well as an optional touchscreen or night vision display, and it features an integrated carry handle for easy transportation. Getac's latest version prices around $3,200, according to Notebook Review.
Torque E6710 by Kyocera is another tough smartphone built for high-tech use and durability. It meets the 1P67 standard for dust and water resistance, meaning it can withstand submersion in up to just over 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, and it meets military standards for shock and vibration, extreme temperatures, solar radiation, low pressure, humidity and salt fog. Famously endorsed by TV survivalist Bear Grylls, known for his show "Man vs. Wild," this new smartphone is already laying the groundwork for its rugged reputation. With a battery talk-time of up to almost 19 hours, front and rear-facing cameras, 4-inch WVGA display, and Android's 4.0 Jelly Bean operating system, Torque has many of the comforts of a smartphone without having to worry about dropping it. Priced at $99 with a two-year contract, according to Android Central, this phone also features Sprint Direct Connect, which allows for push-to-talk communications and group calls with up to 21 people via the Direct Connect Now app that launched in 2012.
Pentax, known for its compact, waterproof digital cameras, took its models to a new level of rugged with its toughest camera to date: the WG-3. First debuted in January, this camera features a 4x optical zoom, sensor shift shake reduction for better quality low-lit pictures, 6 LED lights around the lens for close-ups, and the ability to shoot full HD video. This rugged camera is also waterproof up to 45 feet, shockproof to over 6 feet, cold resistant to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and can withstand 220 pounds of force. Priced around $300, according to camera retailer Adorama, Pentax also offers a GPS version with pressure, altitude and depth gauges for another $50.
The TurtleShell Bluetooth speaker, designed by Outdoor Technologies, came on the scene early last year and has been making some noise ever since. Measuring the size of an adult's palm and weighing less than a pound, this wireless boombox contains two speakers and a bass radiator that project 96 decibels of sound. Able to connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device within 30 feet, the TurtleShell speaker can play music from a user's smartphone and then answer an incoming call with its built-in microphone and the touch of an external button. With its rubber-coated shell, this speaker is dustproof, shockproof and waterproof against low-pressure jets of water from all sides and built to bring the party outside or on the go. Priced around $150, according to the company's website, TurtleShell also features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with up to 10 hours of play time and 700 hours of standby.