Aug 16, 2012

What is the best option for a durable, heavy duty laptop that can survive in harsh environments?

I've recently had trouble keeping laptops safe from physical damage, and am looking for something that is specifically designed for use in harsh environments. I use them for telemetry data and engine management of racing motorcycles, and as you might expect, the pit environment can be a little rough in the heat of battle. It doesn't need to be a powerhouse; solid middle of the road hardware will work fine for this purpose. What is important is sufficient durability to take some hard knocks and still function. I've gone through 3 laptops this season so far, and I would rather get one more that will last instead of going in and setting everything up again on yet another machine. Are there any laptops that people have found to be particularly rugged and durable when operating in harsh environments?


I have owned a few toughbooks and have had a genereally positive experience.  They are a bit on the higher end of the price range but for me they are worth it.  They have a durable exteriror shell and is generally a well constructed machine.  This is the one I have  It gives you the best of both world, it can be a PC or flipped over into a "tablet" like gadget.  

Still very durable and worht purchasing in my opinion.  

You might want to check out this site:

They seem to have a good selection of gear for tough environments.

From the site:

"At Rugged Notebooks, "rugged" is all we do. For the past 10 years we have focused exclusively on providing the most robust, shockproof and weatherproof rugged portable computers available. Our products have been sold to more than 10,000 organizations worldwide, including the U.S. Marines, NASA, major metropolitan police departments, the United States Geological Survey (USGS),Department of Defense and Boeing, reliably working in the harshest environments imaginable.

At Rugged Notebooks, we pride ourselves on knowing our customers and exceeding their expectations with our extensive knowledge of specific job and industry requirements -- whether it’s military, public safety, industrial, utilities, healthcare and more.

We know that many of our customers use our ruggedized portable computers in mission- critical situations. That’s why we’re unique among manufacturers and resellers in the industry by offering free technical support throughout the lifetime of every product we sell. Also, unlike other retailers in our industry, we are fully staffed with live technical support and qualified, trained repair technicians as well as have consumable and hard- to-find parts in stock, enabling fast and prompt response to all your service needs. For longer repair times we make "loaner" products available to our customers as well.

We offer a wide-range of fully-rugged and semi-rugged products that are tough enough to go where our customers go whether on the job, in the field, in your car or truck, or even at home. These include ruggedized tablet and convertible PCs from top brands, including refurbished Panasonic Toughbooks, Getac, Trimble fully rugged PDAs, as well as Rugged Notebooks’ flagship Eagle series. With high tolerances and low failure rates, we ensure our products meet all applicable government, military and industrial standards.

In addition, Rugged Notebooks was the first provider to offer portable computers with transflective LCD screens that provide the optimum readable viewing in bright daylight without draining the PC battery."


Dell makes a nice armored laptop that has a durable shell and is sealed against dust and water.  It sounds like it would be great for banging around a pit area.  The price is a little salty, though.  The list price is around $4,000, give or take.  Or to put it another way, it costs about what you would expect for a set of good Marchesini forged magnesium wheels for a race bike! :-)


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