Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Notebook Review: Rough And Tumble Mobile Computing
Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Battery Life, How We Test And Acoustics
In the following benchmarks we employ two very different battery life tests: Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test, to prove out battery life with our test group of machines. In all tests, Windows 10 Quiet Hours have been enabled and displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average notebook this is somewhere between a 45 - 60% brightness setting. Since notebook displays significantly affect power consumption and battery life, it's important to ensure a level playing field with respect to brightness of the display for battery testing. However, since many notebook displays vary in brightness at each respective brightness setting in Windows, this calibration with the meter is also critical to ensure all displays are set to as near identical brightness as possible before testing.
After an impressive round of performance benchmarks, we finally discovered the Latitude 12 Rugged's Achilles' heel—battery life. In our BatterEater Pro test, the rugged laptop lasted just over 2 hours long, placing it towards the bottom of the pack. Granted this test represents a worst case scenario, but if you're going to be doing heavy work out in the field, you'll want to have a spare battery handy. To that end, Dell offers an optional hot-swap bridge battery and optional spare battery charger, both of which we'd recommend adding to your cart.
Moving on to the next test, our custom HotHardware video loop takes a 1080p HD video with a 16Kbps bit rate and loops it repeatedly, with 1 minute break intervals in between. A timer log file increments minutes of uptime every minute and a final minutes total recorded before system shutdown is stored in the log. This is a lighter duty test that is still a bit more strenuous than say many office productivity tasks, but it's not nearly the strain that Battery Eater puts on a system.
In our video loop test, Dell's rugged laptop fared a bit better by staying awake for 4 hours and 22 minutes. That still places the laptop at the lower end compared to other similarly configured systems, but far closer to Dell's claim of "up to 9.1 hours" on a single charge. For general purpose computing chores, you can expect around 6-7 hours out of this laptop, based on what we've seen in our time evaluating this unit.