Laptops that can stand up to lots of travel and plenty of abuse have to be rugged. The main problem with tough laptops is that these compact machines tend to lack when it comes to features. Recently, laptop manufacturers have been paying closer attention to consumer needs by adding some great customization options without compromising size or portability.
Shopping for a tough laptop will mean spending more than $1000. This high price is justified by laptops that are water resistant, ready for nearly anything, and complete with excellent components. Typically, laptops that have larger screens also tend to be heavier, which is something to keep in mind when looking for a lightweight option.
Rocky RK -- $3000+
Rugged laptops tend to come with higher price tags, but don’t let the $3000+ price turn you off. The Rocky RK has everything that you could ever want in a laptop plus a tough exterior that’s ready to play. The best thing about this laptop is the size of its screen. While compact enough to carry around, the Rocky RK boasts a 15-inch screen. As with most tough laptops on the market, the Rocky RK is water resistant. You’ll also appreciate the various personalization options that the RK has including memory and display upgrades. The RK also has Bluetooth and GPS. As far as drawbacks go, the RK is slightly heavier than other laptops in its class, but this isn’t enough to completely disqualify the RK as an ideal rugged laptop choice.
Panasonic Toughbook 31 -- $3000+
Panasonic has been in the tough laptop game for awhile now. Every year, Panasonic introduces a new Toughbook to its lineup. The latest Toughbook to enter the market is the Toughbook 31. As usual, Panasonic doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the newest addition to the Toughbook team. The Toughbook 31 stands out from the crowd due to its touchscreen display. The Toughbook 31 includes an Intel Core i5-540M, 520M, or i3-350M; 3GB RAM; 160GB hard drive; and a 2.26GHz, 2.30GHz, or 2.53GHz processor. Per usual, Panasonic allows you to custom configure the Toughbook 31 as you see fit.
Dell Latitude E6400 XFR -- $1000+
The Latitude E6400 XFR is definitely on the lower end of the price scale (as you can see). As such, this laptop doesn’t have all of the features that higher priced competitors do. Yet, the Latitude E6400 XFR can support up to 8GB of RAM, and it does have many positive qualities. The Dell Latitude is extremely lightweight, and it has a nice and clear 14-inch screen. Upgrades are very limited, but you can switch from Windows Vista Basic to Windows 7 if need be. Dell has equipped this laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.53Ghz processor, 128GB hard drive, and 1 to 4GB of RAM. In every manner, the Latitude is a “laptop in a box,” but if customization isn’t a concern of yours, the Latitude is every bit as durable and reliable as laptops in the $2000+ range.