Rugged enough for the military

Itronix's GoBook III is one tough notebook

If you're getting drenched in a downpour or jostled in a Jeep, consider yourself lucky if you're using the GoBook III notebook from Itronix. This rugged device meets MIL-STD-810F specification for shocks caused by drops and is built to withstand rain, snow, wind, dust, fire, vibration and chemical exposure. The die-cast magnesium chassis can take a beating. And if you're worried about extreme cold, you can purchase an optional hard-drive heater.

This also may be the first notebook whose lid you can lift while wearing gloves. The lid is latchless, and the integrated high- performance antenna for Bluetooth and Global Positioning System connectivity creates a hump on the display cover that doubles as a large handle that's easy to grasp.

The BatHook carrying handle is no slouch, either. It's covered with a textured, rubberized material that's comfortable and easy to grip. You can also hook it onto a steering wheel for more comfortable in-vehicle use, a popular feature with law enforcement officers.

Ports include PS/2, modem, Ethernet, FireWire, USB 2.0, microphone and audio. They're all tightly sealed with rubber covers. The system's two bays are protected by foam-sealed magnesium doors. One bay can accept CD-ROM, DVD and floppy drives, a DVD/CD-RW combination, or a second battery. The other is a PCMCIA bay that can accept one Type I, II or III PC Card.

We found the hard drive easy to remove, so users could share a notebook without sharing data. We also liked the clear labeling on the memory compartment and the tool-free battery cover removal.

The GoBook III stands out because of its full range of wireless capabilities and its ability to support up to three of them concurrently. The base configuration includes 802.11b/g wireless networking and Bluetooth. You can also add wireless wide-area network technologies, such as Code Division Multiple Access, General Packet Radio Service and Enhanced Data for Global Evolution.

Another available option is integrated, 12-channel GPS for applications such as automated vehicle location, routing and mapping, and field asset management.

In addition, the notebook can ride into the wireless future with Itronix's common radio module architecture, which enables users to upgrade to new wireless technologies as they become available.

Government customers will appreciate the system's beefy security. You can order the GoBook III with an optional smart card reader and/or fingerprint scanner for dual-level authentication.

The system's speeds and feeds should be plenty for most users. They include a 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium M processor with SpeedStep Technology, Centrino architecture and a maximum of 2G of memory. Although that may not be enough for some agency users, it is a significant improvement over the GoBook II's limit of 1G.

Like the GoBook II, the GoBook III comes with a 40G hard drive, and you can get an 80G drive as an addition. The GoBook III has also improved on its predecessor's battery life. Itronix claims the unit can run for as long as seven and a half hours using the main and secondary batteries, a claim that matched our experience.

The unit's weight varies with the options you order. The base weight including the battery is 8.2 pounds. Options that increase the weight include BatHook handle, wireless radios, DVD/CD-RW drives, a floppy drive and a second battery. The heaviest combination weighs a little less than 10 pounds.

The GoBook III comes with a limited three-year warranty. It's also backed by Itronix's iCare Implementation programs, which include project consulting, workforce management, application development, training and help-desk support.

The notebook's base price is $3,623 on the General Services Administration schedule.

Rough and tumble

Itronix's GoBook III notebook has many features that make it suitable for military action or other venues that require rugged computers.

Key features include:

  • Support for MIL-STD-810F specification for drop shock.
  • Optional hard-drive heater for extremely cold conditions.
  • Supports a full range of wireless technologies, including 802.11b/g, Bluetooth, Code Division Multiple Access, General Packet Radio Service and Enhanced Data for Global Evolution.
  • Support for up to three wireless technologies simultaneously.
  • Optional integrated 12-channel Global Positioning System connectivity.
  • Common radio module architecture, which allows users to upgrade to new wireless technologies as they become available.
  • Optional smart card reader and fingerprint scanner for dual-level authentication.
  • Die-case magnesium chassis.

Source: Itronix

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