Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Notebook Review: Rough And Tumble Mobile Computing

Testing Dell's Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme: A Seriously Tough 2-In-1 Laptop Convertible

Some people have relatively low risk jobs, where the biggest hazard is getting pricked by a staple or poked by a thumbtack. Take Bob from accounting, for example. He sits in his office and crunches numbers that get plugged into spreadsheets all day and for Bob, his thin and light Dell laptop serves him just fine.

Then there's Barbara. She's a scientist studying volcanic activity and her job often requires treading rocky terrain in intense heat while recording critical data in the field. Come rain or shine, she's out there with her laptop. Likewise, her husband Joe is a demolitions expert and spends his days on various construction sites, oftentimes climbing over all kinds rubble and debris. For Barbara and Joe, a thin and light laptop is a really great example of a horrible idea...
Dell Latitude 12 Rugged

That's where Dell's Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme laptop comes into play. This tough 2-in-1 is built to withstand the harshest environments and abuse, with a design that meets military standard (MIL-STD 810) requirements. Whether it is a sandstorm or blowing rain that comes barging through the work site, the Latitude 12 Rugged should be able to handle it. The same goes for extreme temperatures—Dell says it has an operating range of -20F to 145F (-29C to 63C) and a non-operating range of -60F to 160F (-51C to 71C). Yikes.

Obviously the average consumer doesn't have a need for something like this, and even for a potential buyer who is prone to fits of clumsiness, slapping a protective case on an ultrabook makes more sense probably. However, for professionals and adventurers whose work and play propels them into unforgiving terrain, the Latitude 12 Rugged isn't so much a luxury as it is the proper tool for the job.

We'll get into the things that separate this 2-in-1 from your average convertible in just a moment, but before we do that, let's take a look at the machine holds up to our own brand of environmental testing, and check out some specs...

Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Notebook (7214)
Specifications & Features
Processor Options 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6600U (4MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz)
11.6" HD (1366x768) 16:9 Direct-View outdoor-readable display with resistive multi-touch
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 520
16GB 2133MHz DDR4
SanDisk X400 256GB M.2 SSD
Optical N/A
Ethernet 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8620 with Bluetooth 4.2
Interface (Left)
3.5mm audio, SIM card reader, HDMI, USB 3.0 with PowerShare
Interface (Right)
Secure card reader, Memory card reader, USB 3.0, Power button
Interface (Back) Security cable slot, RJ-45 GbE LAN, USB 2.0, RS-232 serial port, VGA, Power connector
Widescreen HD (720p) webcam with dual array digital microphones
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Battery 4-cell Lithium Ion (56 WHr)
Dimensions 12.2" x 9.0" x 1.6" (311 x 229 x 39 mm)
6 pounds (2.72)
3 Years Limited Hardware Warranty: Mail-in; Customer supplies box, Dell pays shipping
Pricing $4,226.39 as configured

So, what sits underneath this system's hard hat? The brains of the operation is an Intel Core i7-6600U processor based on Skylake. The Core i7-6600U is a dual-core chip with Hyper Threading support that runs at 2.6GHz (base) to 3.4GHz (turbo) with onboard Intel HD Graphics 520. There is also 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM and a SanDisk X400 250GB M.2 (2280) solid state drive to go along with a fairly standard feature-set and connectivity options.

The sum of the parts fall well short of the price tag, which checks in at a little over $4,200 as configured (pricing starts at $3,299). That is to be expected for a system such as this one. Rugged laptops and especially those that are built to this level of toughness command a premium. There is also value in the fact that this is a 2-in-1 device that can function as a laptop or tablet.

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