Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: A extremely customisable, virtually indestructible laptop computer
Do you want a laptop computer that may survive 6ft drops, pressurised water jets, mud storms, thermal shocks and explosive atmospheres? For the common client the reply is, clearly, no. However the Dell Rugged Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive isn’t designed for the common client.
Moderately, in line with Dell, it’s for these engaged within the “world’s hardest jobs” – primarily heavy , navy personnel and others working in hazardous environments. Folks, in different phrases, who want a laptop computer that’s each rugged and succesful. Let’s see how this one shapes up.
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Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: What you must know
Outwardly, the Rugged Excessive lives as much as its title. It’s IP65-rated, and its checklist of military-grade MIL-STD-810G certifications is exhaustive. On high of the 6ft drop take a look at, water resistance and dust-proofing I discussed earlier, it boasts a thermal working vary of -29 to 63°C together with resistance to photo voltaic radiation.
Inside its cumbersome, battle-ready exterior, nonetheless, the Rugged Excessive is very similar to another laptop computer. The take a look at mannequin runs Home windows 10 Professional and has a 14in, Full HD WVA contact show (which is astonishingly vibrant, guaranteeing you’ll don’t have any drawback utilizing it outside). Inside, there’s a quad-core Intel Core i5-8350U processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD – sufficient to run no matter software program you throw at it, from common desktop purposes to bespoke, industry-specific programs.
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Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Worth and competitors
The Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive, within the configuration I’m reviewing right here, will price you £three,973 to purchase from Dell. That’s a really excessive value for a laptop computer powered by a 2017 Core i5 processor, though, in fact, a lot of that’s accounted for by the specialist options of the Rugged Excessive.
It can save you a little bit cash – or spend much more – by profiting from Dell’s intensive configuration choices. There are 4 processor fashions to select from, beginning with a Core i3-7130U, with reminiscence and storage choices ranging as much as 32GB and 4TB respectively (though you possibly can simply substitute the SSD your self through a panel on the right-hand aspect).
It’s even potential to improve the ports and networking capabilities of the Rugged Excessive; the costliest loadouts price in extra of £6,000, and that’s earlier than factoring within the quite a few guarantee choices, software program and equipment, asset tag and anti-theft options, instances, keyboards and extra. All informed, there are greater than 100 completely different configurations and packages you possibly can put collectively.
In terms of competitors, there’s actually nothing within the Knowledgeable Opinions canon to rival this heavy-duty laptop computer. Nonetheless, Getac’s totally rugged Getac B300, beginning at £three,350, is a strong rival to the Rugged Excessive: it’s equally customisable and has the identical IP65 and MIL-STD-810G scores. An alternative choice is the rugged Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 – brand-new fashions begin at round £2,800.
Alternatively, when you’re trying in that barely cheaper value vary, Dell’s Latitude 5420 Rugged collection begins at £1,940 and shares lots of the strengths of the 7424.
Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Design
Dell isn’t joking when it describes this laptop computer as “Rugged”. Its innards are encased inside a chunky armoured exterior – with the end result that, though the show is just 14in, the principle physique measures a sizeable 354.5 x 255 x 51.3mm. It’s heavy too, at three.45kg, but it surely does include a built-in deal with, which makes it simple to hold round like a briefcase. Relying in your outlook, the general impact is both extremely cool or extremely dated; both means, its jet-black bulk is definitely eye-catching.
The Rugged Excessive’s varied ports and connectors are nicely protected, too. All of them sit beneath dustproof, foam-lined, spring-loaded hatches, every of which may be sealed shut by a sliding lock mechanism.
On the right-hand aspect, you’ll discover a USB three Kind-A slot and – imagine it or not – a DVD author, which may optionally be upgraded to a BD-RE drive. This can be a rarity in fashionable laptops, however its inclusion is smart for legacy situations. There’s additionally an non-compulsory sensible card reader, one thing that, once more, is never seen within the client laptop computer world, however continues to be utilized by giant corporations for two-factor authentication.
The SSD slot is accessed through the best edge too, making information extraction or storage growth a breeze. To the best of that you could set up an non-compulsory second storage bay; my mannequin has a twin SD and SIM slot as an alternative.
Transfer round to the rear panel and also you’ll discover three extra hatches, which open to disclose two serial ports, two RJ45 Ethernet jacks, one full-sized HDMI 2.zero connector and a proprietary energy socket. That’s lots of connectivity – and there’s extra on the left edge, particularly an additional two USB three Kind-A sockets, a three.5mm audio jack and a lone USB three Kind-C port.
The entrance fringe of the laptop computer homes the Rugged Excessive’s single loudspeaker – this isn’t a laptop computer for audiophiles. Above the show, behind a sliding safety shutter, there’s an RGB webcam (which may be optionally upgraded to an IR mannequin).
Look intently between the 2 port hatches on the right-hand aspect and also you’ll additionally discover a plastic stylus, tucked away in an unobtrusive slot. This works on each the touchscreen and the touchpad, and is way larger than the common stylus – it’s in regards to the measurement of a Biro, which makes it fairly nice to write down with. Cleverly, it’s connected through a stretchy wire, to make sure it received’t ever go lacking.
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Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Keyboard and touchpad
A rugged laptop computer calls for a sturdy keyboard, and this one suits the invoice. The black-and-white keytops are ever so barely concave, and produce a hefty, satisfying thump with every press. There’s a separate numeric keypad, too – one thing you received’t discover on many 14in laptops. What’s extra, we have been happy to search out that the chunky carrying deal with doesn’t get in the way in which when typing; in truth, it doubles as a cushty wristrest.
The entire keyboard is sealed to guard it from mud, sand and even jets of water, so you should use it outside within the harshest climate. There’s programmable RGB backlighting too: you possibly can set 4 brightness ranges (or no backlighting in any respect) and cycle by way of purple, inexperienced, blue and white color schemes by urgent Fn+C.
Under the keyboard, the touchpad sits barely recessed into the palm-rest space. This makes use of resistive expertise, which implies it may be used whereas carrying gloves – a vital function for a lot of customers working in an industrial setting.
Nonetheless, I discover it a bit slower and fewer responsive than an everyday capacitive touchpad: the necessity to apply light stress makes it more durable to maneuver the cursor easily, and to register two-finger right-clicks. I rapidly reverted to utilizing the chunky left and proper clickers beneath the touchpad.
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Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Show
The Rugged Excessive has a 14in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen. Just like the touchpad, this makes use of resistive expertise, so once more you should use it even when carrying gloves. Because it’s supposed to be used within the discipline, the panel has an eye-blistering brightness degree of 861cd/m2 – round twice as vibrant as a typical laptop computer show. The distinction ratio is excessive, too, at a poppy 1,497:1. You undoubtedly received’t be squinting at this show, even in evident daylight.
If there’s a weak point, it’s color copy. sRGB protection isn’t the most effective at 85%, and a mean Delta E of two.87 signifies that accuracy isn’t excellent both. We doubt that’ll be a giant drawback for many individuals, although: this isn’t a laptop computer you’re doubtless to make use of for enhancing pictures and movies to an expert normal.
There’s additionally an fascinating function that would make it easier to save battery energy, cowl up confidential content material or just deflect consideration out of your laptop computer: press Fn+F7 and the display screen immediately blacks out, together with all different lighting on the laptop computer. The Rugged Excessive stays practical throughout this tactical blackout, and purposes will proceed to run, however be aware that community connections are additionally suspended till you faucet once more to get up the show.
Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Efficiency and battery life
The Intel Core i5-8350U CPU inside our Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive is the second-most-powerful possibility Dell gives (the highest one being the Core i7-8650U), and it’s supported by an honest 16GB of RAM. Even so, it’s not precisely quick by right this moment’s requirements, and the system scored a comparatively low 77 in our 4K video-editing and multitasking benchmark. To place that into context, the chart beneath reveals some laptops that achieved comparable scores. None of them price something close to £three,973, however then in fact none of them is as powerful because the Rugged Excessive.
In the event you shell out for the Core i7 model of the Rugged Excessive, you additionally get the choice of a discrete AMD Radeon 540 or RX540 GPU, however the Core i5 mannequin is caught with the built-in Intel UHD 620 Graphics. Nonetheless, this didn’t do badly within the GFXBench graphics benchmark, barely outpacing the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the HP Elitebook 840 G5 (see chart beneath). Within the onscreen Manhattan take a look at, it proved capable of sustain with the show’s 60Hz refresh charge, and achieved an off-screen common of 67fps.
The Rugged Excessive additionally managed a superbly playable common of 36fps within the 720p DiRT: Showdown benchmark, though this fell to a juddery 26fps at 1080p. Clearly the Rugged Excessive isn’t supposed as a gaming laptop computer, however even with built-in graphics it has a usable quantity of 3D energy for CAD instruments and different visualisation purposes.
As I’ve talked about, you should purchase the Rugged Excessive with as much as 4TB of storage (though this comes as a pair of M.2 2TB drives, and requires you to specify a second storage bay when buying). The mannequin I examined got here with a 512GB NVMe drive, for which the AS SSD benchmark reported a sequential learn charge of two,062MB/sec – not not far off the speeds of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon or Huawei MateBook X Professional. Sadly, write speeds aren’t in the identical class: the AS SSD benchmark recorded a sequential file-write charge of solely 375MB/sec.
With a laptop computer designed for excessive environments, you may hope for excessive battery life. Disappointingly, Dell’s normal 51-watt-hour battery gave us simply 4hrs 58minutes of steady video playback in our standardised rundown take a look at. This may not be a problem in an workplace, the place you’re by no means removed from an influence socket, however when you’re working within the discipline it’s a possible drawback when your powerful pocket book might not make it by way of the day.
Fortunately, on the underside of the Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive you’ll discover a second battery slot. By default it’s empty – on my take a look at mannequin it was coated up with a blanking plate – however you should purchase an additional battery for simply £37 and set up each directly to roughly double your runtime. Batteries are hot-swappable, too, so you would even cost up a provide of batteries and swap them in as wanted for prolonged use.
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Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive overview: Verdict
The Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive isn’t precisely a good looking laptop computer. Neither is it a improbable performer: CPU efficiency, battery life and SSD speeds are all behind the curve, and that doesn’t make the massive price ticket any simpler to swallow.
Finally, although, this laptop computer isn’t about appears or benchmark scores. It’s about sturdiness, mixed with customisation on a degree we’ve not seen earlier than. It’s a system you possibly can spec up exactly as required, and be assured that it’ll get the job executed, it doesn’t matter what your working atmosphere might throw at it. On these phrases it’s a improbable little bit of equipment – and for the extremely demanding, extremely specialised promote it’s aimed toward, the value received’t be an issue in any respect.