Ruggedized Durabook hits the scene

Twinhead unveils latest player in the ruggedized notebook market

Twinhead recently introduced the Durabook, another player in the ruggedized notebook space.

This notebook PC adds rugged features without adding a lot of weight or bulk. The entire case is made of magnesium alloy, rubber surrounds the display and the hard drive, and it meets Defense Department specifications for vibration. It also has a spill-resistant keyboard, touchpad, speakers and LEDs.

Models with a 15-inch display, such as the one we reviewed, meet a modified version of a DOD standard for products that can survive 29-inch drops onto plywood laid over concrete, instead of the usual 36 inches.

Even with those features, the Durabook manages to weigh a reasonable 6.6 pounds.

Headphone and microphone jacks and a volume knob are on the front of the Durabook for easy access.

The integrated drive bay on our model features a DVD-RW drive. Several other types of CD and DVD optical drives are available; however, we were disappointed that the bay does not accept other devices, such as a floppy drive or second battery. If you want to use a floppy drive with the Durabook, you must purchase an optional external drive.

Our unit came with the optional nine-cell battery, which is rated at five to seven hours of life. The Durabook’s charcoal metallic case, rounded corners and silver inside give it a streamlined, modern look. The latch-free cover was easy to open, but two small plastic hooks that protrude from the bezel on either side of the display might be prone to snapping off if bumped hard enough.

The Durabook’s starting price is $1,499. Our unit, which contained a 1.2 GHz processor, 2G of memory, a 100G hard drive and 802.11a/b/g wireless technology, costs $2,129.

The Durabook offers all the standard rugged features you’ll need at a competitive price. The unit is fairly basic, however, and doesn’t have many bells and whistles. It will likely face tough competition from Panasonic, whose Toughbook 51 also starts at $1,499 but has more built-in flexibility.

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