Suppose you’re in the market for a rugged laptop, and your organization can live without the extreme ironclad guaranteed tolerances expected of a fully-rugged or ultra-rugged model. In that case, the vetting process can be confusing. You may encounter semi-rugged, business-rugged, enterprise rugged, and just plain rugged. Some of these terms are objective, and some are marketing.
A Little About Rugged
Getac manufactures rugged devices, but not all are equally rugged. Therefore Getac doesn’t classify any individual or line of models as “rugged.” Instead, the product lines are classified as “fully rugged” or “semi-rugged.” However, other device vendors or third parties (such as journalists or analysts) may use “rugged” as a classification. If they do, Getac recommends assuming they mean “semi-rugged” unless proven otherwise.
What Is Semi-Rugged?
Semi-rugged laptops are designed for professionals who need an office-style computer with a full keyboard. These users also spend portions of their day in hard-hat or non-office environments where safety and climate control cannot be guaranteed. These places may include workshops, factory floors, vehicles, and the outdoors.
Semi-rugged notebooks offer a brighter screen than what the average laptop screen shows (roughly 250 nits), so workers can use these devices under sunlight. These devices are also rated to withstand a one-meter (three-foot) drop, IP53-certified waterproof & dustproof, and have a MIL-STD-810G/H rating.
Industries that use semi-rugged laptops include automotive, manufacturing, law enforcement, and certain utilities. In truth, workers benefit from using semi-rugged devices in any industry or enterprise where:
- physical risks to devices are not trivial
- mobile connectivity and information security must always be maintained
- users may need the device to run on battery power for a full shift or longer
What Is Business-Rugged?
Business-rugged (aka enterprise-rugged) devices may offer extra protection for vital components (such as the storage drive). They may have rubberized or hardened chassis that makes them more tolerant of impact or drop than a standard laptop. However, they are still business devices built for business use and travel and used in climate-controlled indoor areas.
These devices are not meant to be used outside under direct sunlight or the other non-office work areas. They are usually not waterproof or dustproof and won’t offer easy battery changeout (making full-shift operation away from a wall or vehicle plug problematic). In short, a business-rugged notebook is a business notebook that has been modified.
Most importantly, a business-rugged notebook might not have IP or MIL-STD certifications for various stresses, and those certifications matter. “Rugged” has no formal and/or specific definition authored by an ISO or IEEE type of authority. Any vendor can put a metal chassis or rubberized corners on a laptop and call it rugged.
Granted, just because a device doesn’t have the certifications doesn’t mean it can’t tolerate the relevant stresses and elements. It may simply mean that the device hasn’t undergone the testing to prove it. But without those certifications, you have no way to know. Getac does not recommend considering a PC rugged without them.
Accept No Substitutes
During the vetting process, decision-makers may encounter information on the Internet that classifies semi-rugged notebooks as equivalent to the business-rugged device definition – a standard business notebook that’s received one or a few reinforced upgrades.
Getac does not speak for or comment upon competitors or other third parties. However, Getac does not sell standard notebooks, upgraded or not. The company is, and always has been, a rugged computing specialist. Every device Getac sells is designed and manufactured in-house, right down to the chassis. Getac devices offer features that cannot be bought elsewhere. These include Getac’s proprietary LumiBond ultra-bright touchscreen, house-made magnesium alloys, and impact-resistant polymers.