Byte Me Article 424 –Robust Laptops

Finding the Perfect Laptop

During the last 3 weeks we set out on a quest to find what we believe to be the most reliable and robust modern computing device – or device type on the planet.  Through a process of elimination this search ended in the recommendation of a Micro Desktop computer, such as the commercial models made by Hewlett Packard, Dell and Lenovo. 

During this search for one clear winner we had to eliminate a whole range of portable devices which some customers essentially need, which then sparked a heap of questions from readers.  These questions mostly centred around the topic of ‘what would be the most reliable portable device’?  So, todays’ article will attempt to find a reliable and robust winner in the portable segment.

Firstly, lets’ look at laptop design for a minute and what the market wants.  In the portable segment people are chasing smaller and lighter devices.  Now, this does not necessarily mean smaller in screen size, but rather smaller in overall size.  So, screen bezels (screen surrounds) are getting thinner, overall dimensions are getting thinner and weight is getting lighter.

How to find the most robust laptop for your needs on the market. Rockhampton, Computers

There is a problem with this quest for thinner & lighter – it reduces structural rigidity, just like a thicker timber board is stronger than a thin one of the same wood type.  Commercial or corporate laptops have gone to chassis made of magnesium or a carbon composite to achieve weight reductions without compromising strength, but most consumer grade laptops are becoming more flimsy – this is a problem.

We see a huge difference in build quality between consumer grade and commercial grade laptops from the point of view of robustness.  In fact, we often see the screen hinges getting tight or cracking on the consumer models, which is no fault of the user.  If you want a good portable laptop for standard everyday use then again, the commercial models from manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard, Dell and Lenovo are hard to beat.

So, what if you want a laptop for outdoor use? This was the question asked by 2 of the readers and it highlights an entirely different product requirement.  We have a number of farmers and industrial customers that need to take and use their laptops outdoors, often under full sunlight and often in challenging conditions – such as in the cattle yards.  What can they use?

There are military spec laptops that are designed specifically for challenging outdoor use made by both Panasonic and Dell in the form of their ToughBooks and Rugged Extreme series respectively.  These devices are much thicker (for strength), have rubber corner mouldings, rubber sealed ports and magnesium alloy chassis and parts.  They are sealed against moisture and dust and ever rated for drops onto concrete from a height of 750mm.

The other big difference with these devices are their screens which are rated at around 1000nits or cd (the same brightness rating) which is 3 times as bright as the average laptop which have screens rated at 300nits.  The Panasonic and Dell models can easily be read under direct sunlight which is essential for outdoor use.

Neither of these two products are cheap – however the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ could not be more correct in this market segment. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

For more advice and assistance from Kerr Solutions, like and follow us on Facebook