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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Special Needs, Special Laptops

Ruggedized laptops and tablet PCs are intriguing options for anyone who works in unusual conditions or favors touch input.

Sometimes a regular laptop isn't the right choice. If you frequently work in harsh environments, or if you want to use a stylus or your fingertips to interact with your PC, a ruggedized laptop or a tablet PC might be just the thing.

Ruggedized Laptops

Dell Latitude E6400 XFR

Semi-ruggedized (also called business-ruggedized) notebooks and fully rugged­ized laptops can take a licking. Models in the former category are good for klutzy corporate types, but they're otherwise typical business machines, with glossy screens and high-end CPUs.Meanwhile, fully ruggedized laptops are built for outdoor use, in environments ranging from construction sites to battlefields. Such systems offer matte screens for outdoor viewing, and they can withstand blasts of water, sand, and other things that would make most computers cringe. (The Dell Latitude E6400 XFR is said to stop bullets.) Be warned, though: These laptops don't come cheap.

Tablet PCs

Fujitsu LifeBook U820

The most common form of this hybrid portable serves two purposes: In one mode, it looks and behaves like a normal laptop. With a twist, however, it becomes a fully functional touchscreen tablet.Bear in mind that any tablet PC you buy should be comfortable to carry in one hand. Make certain it has a well-built hinge, too--when you use your tablet on a plane, train, or automobile, the screen's hinge is subject to shaking, making it tough for you to see the text on the screen.



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