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Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Convertible Notebook Laptop Review

Let’s be clear this is not your average or typical 12 is laptop.  When it comes to a beefy well protected beast of a device the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Convertible is protected like money in the armored truck.  Other laptops would be considered bare if they had to stack up against this heavily shielded and armor notebook.  Not only is the Rugged Extreme something that can withstand extreme climates, take a beating from being drop and even shrug off a little water but the internal power is almost as amazing as the rein enforced exterior armor.

The Latitude 12 from Dell comes with the Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD(solid state drive) but you better believe that if you want this type of speed and protection you are going to have to be willing to fork out more than a few pennies.  This is the type of machine firefighters and police use and when a device can take that kind of punishment and be used by our protectors $4k plus doesn’t seem so bad.  Okay its expensive but its the cost of doing business.

This is not your office laptop.  As you truly shouldn’t need something like this in your office unless you are in the military or some extreme climate outdoors.  To bring this to the corporate environment with controlled temperatures would be a waste.  This Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme was designed for harsh elements which is why it looks and feels the way it does.  From the moment you see the design you know this is no regular laptop.  The corners have heavy rubber bumpers and the chassis is made from durable metal and plastic and a lot of it.

Dell Latitude 12" Rugged Extreme Convertible
New Rugged Extreme 12 inch

You know this machine is closed from the big plastic clasp the seals it and upon opening it you will notice a chiclet keyboard with a touchpad that has very desecrate buttons for the mouse.  The is a lot of bezel or empty space that surrounds the 11.6″ touchscreen but the floating frame allows for the screen to actually flip 180 degrees.  This is perfect for those times when you need the 12″ Rugged Extreme to transform into a tablet or presentation device.  Also above the display is the webcam and mic however even that has a privacy shutter to protect them from the elements when not in use.

Dell made sure that the Latitude 12 made properly and with the ability to stand the test of mother nature.  The laptop measures 12.2 x 8.6 x 1.6 inches and weighs a hefty 6 pounds.  This is not something that average corporate employee or student wants to carry around on the shoulder in a carrying case.  This particular laptop from Dell have ports located on the back, left, and right sides which are covered by compression gaskets, foam insulation and even plastic latches.  All of which were needed in order to obtain the IP-65 waterproof rating.

When it comes to being a durable device this Latitude passes with flying colors.  It is certified for the ability to be dropped from 6 feet (72 inches) while the notebook is off and 3 feet (36 inches) while it is actually in use.  This help it get its military grade 810G rating.  From extreme cold to extreme heat the Rugged Extreme can survive temperatures from -20 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.  Water and dusk are not match for this Dell as is can also handle jet water from any angle and is immune to dust hence the IP-65 rating the Latitude 12 has.


Firefighter Using Latitude 12
Both the keyboard and touchpad work well and offer decent comfort for a small device.  The keyboard is both comfortable and allow for responsive fast typing.  It also offers you four levels for backlighting and you have the options of switching the colors between red, blue, white and green.  Included on the keyboard is a button that puts it into stealth mode and turns off the display, all power and indicators lights.  The touchpad feels normal and does it jobs help you navigate on the display.

Speaking of the display you are getting a resistive touch display at 1366 x 768 max pixel resolution on a 11.6 inch screen.  These is not like your capacitive touch screen as this has an additional layer and works with pressure and note conductivity.  What this means is that you can use the screen while wearing gloves or by using the stylus that comes with it.  As mentioned before this display rotates 180 degrees and is great for use outdoors with much of a problem.  This is not your laptop for watching movie although you could check out a few movies and not have problems with colors.

The audio is decent for a laptop that needs to be waterproof.  Not something that is great for music or video but if you need to have a conversation or listen to a recording or have a conference it gets the job done.  The Latitude 12 Extreme also comes with 2 cameras, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Ethernet, a serial port, VGA, PCMCIA reader and an Express Card slot.  The good thing though is that you can swap out the Express Card slot and PCMCIA reader and add a few more USB 3.0 ports.  For those who want one and use them there is an optional fingerprint reader located by the power button on the right side.

Using Rugged Extreme with Gloves
What good is a laptop that is durable and rugged enough to make it through the harshest of elements if it just can’t perform?  The 12inch Latitude Rugged Extreme comes equipped and ready to go with the 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U CPU that features 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD.  You can actually at up to 16GB of memory but its something you will have to do on your own as Dell does not allow that configuration online.  Multitasking is not a problem and you can have a few tabs open while streaming a few 1080p videos and still not miss a beat.  And the battery for this beast of a machine will allow you to get between 7-8 hours of use on one charge depending on the how heavy you are using the laptop.

The least expensive Dell Latitude will cost you about $3,649 that is the one with the Core i3 while the he Core i5 will set you back around $4,729 to $4,855 depending on warranty and port selections.  The bottom line is that this is a laptop that is meant to be used and used hard.  Not something keep in doors and scared to be used because it might be dropped or water will spill on it.  It works best in the elements is the kind of systems you see install in police cruisers and construction workers use on work-sites.  For an 11.6 inch laptop the Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Extreme Convertible weighs a ton and if possible walking around with this thing on your shoulder should be avoided.  It can take a beating but it will come at a price.  A hefty price for your pockets but if you need something rugged, sturdy, tested and dependable this is the machine to get the job done.

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