Dell Exec Shows If He's As Tough As New Latitude Rugged Extreme Laptops

latitude family
Dell is cranking out a new, next-generation family of rugged Latitude notebooks. The notebooks were designed to survive in the harshest conditions and can withstand numerous drops, tumbles and just about anything else that you can toss at them (within reason).

The three models that were introduced this week include the Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424, along with the Latitude Rugged 5424 and 5420. The Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424 is the flagship of the family and features a 14-inch FHD touch display that is protected with Gorilla Glass and features a 1000-nits brightness rating. The system can be equipped with either Intel Skylake or Kaby Lake processors with integrated or discrete graphics. The fastest processor option is an Intel Core i7-8650U that can be paired with an AMD Radeon RX 540 GPU.

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Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424

Up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory can be included from the factory, and up to a total of three SSDs can be installed in the system. The primary SSD is an M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 unit available in capacities up to 2TB. Both the second and third SSDs use a SATA interface and are available in capacities up to 1TB.

Dell offers a total of three keyboard options: a traditional sealed keyboard, an RGB-backlit sealed keyboard, and an RGB-backlit sealed keyboard with rubberized keys. Dual-band Intel Wireless-AC Wi-Fi is supported, and those that need connectivity on-the-go can opt for an integrated Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE gigabit LTE modem with either Sprint or AT&T service.

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Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme 5424

Port selection is plentiful, with USB-A and USB-C ports, up to two RS-232 headers, an SD reader, GbE and HDMI/DisplayPort connections for external displays. All of the external ports are protected from the environments with sealed doors/flaps.

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Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme 5424 (bottom)

The Latitude Rugged 5424 doesn't have as robust of a chassis (hence the lack of the "Extreme" in its name) and is a more portable design. It's cheaper as well, but includes most of the expansion options of its more capable sibling. Finally, the Latitude Rugged 5420 slots in as the cheapest, lightest, and thinnest member of the family. However, to achieve its more svelte frame, the Latitude Rugged Extreme had to give up the third SSD and cannot be had with an optical drive (no big loss there).

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Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme 5420

All of the machines feature dual interchangeable batteries and are MIL-STD-810G rated. However, the Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424 is simply a beast, with Dell providing the following guidance with regards to its durability:

MIL-STD-810G testing: Transit drop 72"/.91m, 60"/1.52m, 48"/1.22m; single unit; 78 drops, operating drop (36"/0.91m), blowing rain, blowing dust, blowing sand, vibration, functional shock, humidity, salt fog (with rubberized keyboard), altitude, explosive atmosphere, solar radiation, thermal extremes, thermal shock, freeze/thaw, tactical standby to operational.

Operating thermal range: -20°F to 145°F (-29°C to 63°C)

Non-operating range: -60°F to 160°F (-51°C to 71°C)

IEC 60529 ingress protection: IP-65 (dust-tight, protected against pressurized water)

The Latitude Rugged Extreme 5424 and 5420 have the same operating/non-operating thermal ranges as the Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424, but are IP-52 rated for water resistance. In addition, they are only rated for 26 drops from a height of three feet. You also won't find protection from blowing rain, blowing dust/sand and freezing/thawing.

In order to test the new Rugged notebooks in the most extreme conditions, Dell VP of Commercial Mobile Computing Rahul Tikoo teamed up with National Geographic explorer and first ascent climber Mike Libecki. They tested the machines in the Utah wilderness, and you can check out their expedition in the video above. To see our own look at previous generation Dell Latitude Rugged notebooks, take a gander at the video below.

All three of Dell's new Latitude Rugged notebooks are available now, with the Latitude Rugged Extreme 7424, Latitude Rugged 5424 and Latitude Rugged 5420 priced at $3,499, $1,499 and $1,399 respectively.