Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dell's Rugged Laptop Doesn't Quite Pass 4-Foot Drop Test

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the pretty-toughbook dept.

Portables 113

narramissic writes "Dell's new Latitude E6400 XFR laptop is designed to withstand drops, dust and high pressure water spray. The company claims the laptop, which is intended for military use, can withstand rain and wind gusts of up 70 mph, and can work in temperatures from -20 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also work for an hour at an altitude of 15,000 feet and is designed to withstand drops of around 4 feet (48 inches) when not operating and 36 inches when operational. The LCD screen floats a little bit within the LCD cover so it can take impacts and shock, said Jeremy Bolen, a Dell spokesman. But watch as the laptop that Dell used to show these features wasn't able to withstand the rough treatment that was part of the company's demonstration."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (2, Interesting)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134747)

Maybe this is considered just a semi-rugged class of laptop, because personally I would expect a "rugged" laptop to endure a much longer drop than that.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134801)

Heck, now that SSDs are a fairly standard option, I'd expect an ordinary laptop to take a 4 foot drop with nothing more than some surface damage. If the laptop is going to be priced like a tank, ugly like a tank, and heavy like a tank, I'd expect rather better.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (2, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134927)

most lcds are definitely not designed to withstand 4ft drops.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135285)

If e-paper ever improves enough, this would be an excellent place for it.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (3, Insightful)

Ironica (124657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136113)

If e-paper ever improves enough, this would be an excellent place for it.

E-paper doesn't withstand drops well, either. I dropped my Kindle from a height of about 2 feet, it landed facing up, and the display was permanently broken. There was a diagonal "crack" in the matrix under the surface, and vertical and horizontal streaks leading up to it. It wasn't pretty.

Interestingly, it *did* hold the display until it tried to refresh. I didn't realize it was broken until I turned the page.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136245)

wow, that's really weird!

When I think of e-paper, I think of the roll-y bendy kind. I never thought of it as being rigid. I always thought it was the electronics which housed the paper would break first.

Are you able to get a replacement for your kindle?

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (3, Informative)

Ironica (124657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141297)

Are you able to get a replacement for your kindle?

Already have it. I submitted an inquiry on amazon.com, and they responded promptly telling me to use their tool on the website to speak with them via phone, which sounded kinda strange, but ok... so there's a page (after you log in and go to the manageyourkindle page) where you type in your phone number, and they call you RIGHT THAT SECOND. You still wait on hold for, gosh, maybe 30 seconds, but freaky anyway. ;-) Then a rep with a Starbucks-caliber chipper friendliness in his attitude asked what I'd done to try to address the problem, and after I told him I'd done what you're supposed to do (I'd power-cycled and used the Reset button under the back cover), told me I'd have my replacement Monday, which I did. That was Friday night at 9:30 p.m.

They never even asked how it got broken. I'd been agonizing over whether to say "Gosh, I just pulled it out of my purse and it was like that" or tell them the truth... but it didn't even matter.

Best. CS. Ever.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139817)

I can confirm it. While on plane I've put my Sony Reader PRS-500 in the pocket of the seat in front of me and went to sleep. I guess I've pressed on it with my knee while sleeping, but it could not be with much force because it did not wake me up. Anyway, after I turned it on again I had the same failure - diagonal crack with vertical and horizontal streaks leading to it.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (2, Informative)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143047)

The extreme fragility of ePaper displays is still somehow eInk's dirty little secret. They are WAY more fragile than typical laptop LCD screens. The Kindle forums are full of stories from people who have broken the screen while doing various benign things, like resting another book on top of it (while the Kindle was still inside its protective cover no less.) I personally cracked my Kindle screen simply by pressing on it lightly.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135425)

Man, I've dropped my MBP many times and it's still good. Not necessarily from 4 feet, maybe 2-3 but still.

I think Dell is trying to get into a market that requires quality manufacturing which is something that they don't have.
Look at the Panasonic Toughbooks for an example of good quality. Those are usually what people picture when you think rugged laptop.

The only way Dell will succeed in this market is if they undercut the competition. But even then, usually in this market, reliability is the main concern so...

Basically what I'm trying to say is that Dells of all make and model are crap. For my money, it's either Apple, IBM (Lenovo), or Panasonic.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (2, Funny)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140637)

Man, I've dropped my MBP many times...

Dude, get a grip.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

pasamio (737659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143549)

I once had my old iBook drop from a table of that height when the small backpack it was in fell off the table. It survived and lived for another 6 months until I replaced it with a shiny new MacBookPro. It certainly wasn't 'ruggedised' and the cheap backpack that I had it in had no padding with the exception of the back area and the bag landed on its side. I was quite worried about it, and I did replace the hard drive in the laptop however I did get everything off and it did survive.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136781)

Which is kinda irrelevant. This isn't a random notebook they decided to test. It's the "rugged" model billed as being tough. If "most" LCD's aren't designed to take this kind of stuff then you don't buy "most" LCD's and instead design around one that CAN take that kind of drop.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140671)

it was relevant as a reply to the parent of my post. the parent said that an ordinary laptop should be able to survive the fall if only the harddrive is replaced, and I don't believe that to be true.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141099)

Correct, at least the common ones that most people and industry can get. I think there are few that can withstand more abuse than a 4 foot drop. Nevertheless most "thin" screen displays the military uses are plasma.

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139841)

Many moons ago I worked on project that used a computer that could withstand a mil-spec 50 foot drop test (in it's box). It was intended to tossed out the door of a helicopter at a supply depot. We always wanted to throw it out the third story window where we worked but we never had the nerve.

You'd have to expect that from the laws of physics (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140433)

heavy like a tank, I'd expect rather better

On impact, force equals mass by deceleration too... ;-)

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137199)

"Maybe this is considered just a semi-rugged class of laptop, because personally I would expect a "rugged" laptop to endure a much longer drop than that."

Did you watch the video? I just watched the entire video, and the laptop never died.

Where's the video of the dell failing the drop test?

Re:4-Foot Drop = Rugged? (2, Interesting)

techess (1322623) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138441)

According to the audio w/ the video the reporter states that Dell would not let them show the damage. They also said that particular demo had been dropped over 100 times from the 4ft height which does seem pretty robust.

I do like how the Dell seals up to prevent water/dust damage. It seems more robust than the Panasonic plastic tabs. Our students always manage to break those off when storm or weather balloon chasing.

Like my "dent-proof" carafe (4, Interesting)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134757)

Many years ago, I had a sales rep who sold me Nissan thermos bottles. During one of his visits, he showed me (not to try to sell it to me, but because he thought I'd think it was cool) a new titanium dent-proof bottle that was really light and marketed at cyclists. When it came to demonstrating that it was dent-proof, he took his sample in hand and whacked it three times on one of my tables. "Now watch, those dents will just pop right out." Well, by the time he left, those dents were still there. In fact, he recently sent that bottle to me. The dents are still there.

Another sales rep was showing off glasses that didn't break when dropped. She demonstrated this by flinging the glass across the shop. While the glass didn't break, she did say, "One of these days I'm not going to get away with that."

The lesson: shit happens in product demos.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135129)

Ha, reminds me of my days selling cell phones. The Motorola rep was this crazy kid who flung his wares around the shop with great abandon to show how rugged Moto phones were. They were, too. Don't think today's Razors and Slivers could do that.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135319)

Too many sales people simply believe (and repeat) what the marketing folks tell them. When I worked in retail sales, I did my best to try out the hot new features I was supposed to be flogging, so I could at least not talk about the ones that didn't really live up to the hype.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135331)

Reminds me of the idiots who try to impress people with their IT redundancy by pulling a disk out of an array while a VIP is in the room.

Some day, a rebuild will fail, and you're going to have to work all night to fix your data. Stupid.

Or worse... (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135719)

Someday, the VIP's secretary's server access will immediately slow to a crawl since it was a RAID-5 the idiot pulled the drive out of.

Re:Or worse... (2, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136095)

Yea...just stupid in general.

of course, if you had the hot spare marked somehow, I don't believe pulling that out would cause a rebuild.

Wear and tear on the chassis and sled, yes, and still counts as stupid, since this is IT, and one in a million things happen every day.

Re:Or worse... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139791)

Better yet, just keep an extra, broken drive physically mounted in the machine. Don't actually hook it up to anything... use that to show off. :D

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135919)

shit happens in product demos.

Dear aunt, let's so double the killer delete select all?

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136043)

Hahaha... or the story of Bill Gates demonstrating Windows98's plug and pray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgriTO8UHvs [youtube.com]

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136919)

I've dropped my first-gen iPhone running across the street three times, on a tile floor twice. No protective case (hence the reason it slid out of my pocket -- the first-gen is like holding teflon) and all I have to show for it is a couple 2mm scratches on the silver edge. Glass and back are 100% scratch free.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27141367)

Yeah, they should build airplanes out of whatever that glass is coated with...

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138625)

Reminds me of a 3M rep that was demoing some new "rugged" fiber patch cables. She put a light on it, tied it into a knot, showed light still coming through (as if that demonstrated that it would carry data still, but I digress). One of our cable installers took it, crimped it, and the lights went out forever (surprise surprise). We all knew what would happen, but MAN wasn't she pissed about it. We weren't going to buy their product anyway, regardless of the demo, but she spent the next half hour uncomfortably trying to explain how great they were anyway...I still chuckle when I think about it.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (3, Interesting)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139475)

Years ago, I worked at a garden supply and patio furniture shop. A couple of guys I worked with were carrying a glass tabletop out of a truck. When they nearly dropped it, they turned white as a sheet, than heaved a sigh of relief when they realized they'd caught it in time.

The lady who ran the patio furniture section was there, and she laughed as they set the table top atop its frame. "Don't worry," she said. "It's shatterproof. I could jump up and down on this and it wouldn't break."

A buddy of mine was there, and immediately said, "Do it." So without missing a beat, she climbed up on top of the table and jumped up and down on it, really slamming her feet down forcefully with every descent. No damage.

She then climbed down, and as she was walking away, she grinned and said, "You didn't think I'd do it, did you?"

"Nope." But he was suitably impressed.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139717)

Probably 15 or so years ago, an Iomega rep popped a Bernoulli cartridge out of the drive he'd brought along for a demo. He threw the cartridge out into the audience (probably a couple or three hundred), which then tossed the cartridge around for a bit until he asked for it to be thrown back at him. Once he got it back, he put it back in the drive and continued with the demo. IIRC, the cartridge got bounced off the wall once or twice. Fortunately for the rep, the cartridge still worked.

Re:Like my "dent-proof" carafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27142831)

What about that guy that was talking about the shatterproof glass in a skyscraper and lunged at a window, popping it out, I believe, and falling to his death?

I imagine this is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27134769)

what they mean by "Dell Hell". Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (1, Troll)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134771)

Dell is noteworthy for their crappy materials. Even most standard notebooks (especially older PowerBook and Thinkpads) can withstands 3-6 feet drops without a problem. I had a Dell once that couldn't withstand a 1 feet drop from a couch.

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (2, Informative)

Gaerek (1088311) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134851)

*shrugs*

I accidently dropped my wifes Dell laptop from at least 4 feet. It survived and still runs just fine.

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (3, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136717)

I accidently dropped my wifes Dell laptop from at least 4 feet. It survived

What's more important is that you obviously survived to post this tale. Sir, please mail me when you divorce because for the love of all that's sacred, I will propose this fine woman.

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134931)

Whether it fell off a couch or a cement wall, isn't it more important what it is falling onto instead of what it is falling off of?

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136263)

It also depends on how it hits the ground. If it lands on the corner of the screen you're going to be in a lot more trouble than if it lands flat on its back.

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135017)

It's sad, but I can remember back in the 90's when I was recommending Dell to everyone. Back then, their quality and incredible customer service were legendary--whereas it was companies like Compaq and Packard Bell who were the ones to avoid. Talk about being ruined by success, though. Today I wouldn't recommend a Dell to my worst enemy. My company recently (against my advice) bought a shitload of Dell OptiPlex 700 series desktops. The damn things are wonky as hell. About 75% of them won't even recognize an inserted thumb drive without a complete reboot.

Maybe it's the OS that is wonky? (3, Interesting)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135311)

My company recently (against my advice) bought a shitload of Dell OptiPlex 700 series desktops. The damn things are wonky as hell. About 75% of them won't even recognize an inserted thumb drive without a complete reboot.

What are you running on them?

I had a small-shop custom-built job years ago with Win2K on it, and Windows would go belly-up hard-reboot with depressing and increasing frequency, necessitating a complete wipe every couple months, after which the reboot-X-days-later cycle would restart with X as a larger, though shrinking, number. Later I installed Red Hat on it with Windows in a VM (required for certain software, >sigh...<) and it worked like a charm. Turned out the mobo's SMART controller was borked in some subtle way that killed Windows, but Linux was smart enough to find the mobo error and work around it (confirmed in dmesg).

I'm not saying your shitload of Dell OptiPlex 700 series desktops all have borked mobos, but maybe some BIOS setting or Windows driver isn't playing nicely?

(Disclaimer: I own a Dell and have had generally good luck with it, but I'm no apologist. My own machine is a Dimension 5150, and I was bothered to learn that, despite a 64-bit CPU, the chipset is limited to 32-bit memory addressing. How stupid!)

Cheers,

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27138813)

Why were you against buying tells prior to the incident?

Also, it sounds like the example you provided is an issue with the motherboard and the usb drive. These issues are not really Dells fault.

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140335)

I was against it because I've had nothing but trouble out of every Dell computer I've used for the last several years. I have a Latitude D800 laptop whose DVD drive and spare hard drive both came DOA (and the second DVD drive they sent to replace it lasted about a month). And I've seen several other laptops and desktops here at work with similar bullshit issues that suggest cheap parts and poor quality control. It finally turned me off to Dell completely. These weren't a few isolated incidents, I've had serious issues with four of the last five Dell computers I've used or owned. In the late-90's I was a tech and oversaw a bank of maybe 16-20 new Dells. They almost never gave me any problems (and with the one or two problems I did have, they would do stuff like ship a whole new system out to me in response, with only a few questions asked).

As for "It isn't Dell's fault that 75% of the new computers they sent you won't even recognize a standard usb drive" statement--well I don't even know how to *respond* to that. Do you work for Dell or do you just type without even thinking?

Re:Dude, you're gettin' a Dell (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140523)

it sounds like the example you provided is an issue with the motherboard and the usb drive. These issues are not really Dells fault.
Although Dell doesn't manufacture their own motherboards they can at least test their hardware to see if certain combinations work. I know there are some really unstable motherboards out there, I you build it yourself you just spend $25 more on a better one and all your problems mysteriously vanish. However Dell lately seems to ship the cheapest hardware available no matter whether it works or not. I have a few Dell's that are 5 years old, a few that are 3 years old and a few that are brand new. The 5 year olds are sturdy machines that are still running. The 3 year old machines still run but had all their peripherals die or fall apart (hard drives, keyboard, casing...). The brand new ones aren't even working great out of the box.

Not to mention they are way more expensive than their competitors (for some or another reason their 8-core Xeon Workstations are very expensive) and just bumping the CPU costs $1200/processor while the NewEgg/TigerDirect price has only about $200 difference) and as an alternative they offer the Core 2 Quad's with a crappy video card. Unfortunately the department I am buying for doesn't allow non-Dell otherwise I would've purchased a few Mac Pro's and installed Windows on it for 70% of the cost.

Meh. (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134773)

They've got an excuse: "During a laptop demonstration provided by Dell, the laptop weathered jetted water and 3-foot drops while running, but the non-operational 4-foot drop proved to be a problem. After a third drop from 4 feet, the LCD screen's protective plastic cover shattered.

Dell responded to the crack by saying that the demo laptop was a pre-production model that had already been dropped a hundred times. There's a three-year warranty on the machine and a cracked screen will be replaced immediately, Bolen said.

Despite the screen crack, the laptop is protected by a chassis made of ballistic armor, which is a high-strength substance used in ballistic missiles, cryogenics and other military applications. It is a high-end polymer that is two to three times more durable than the magnesium alloy material used on most laptops today, Bolen said."

I like the ballistic armor (spectra flex/kevlar)...makes me want to shoot a Dell with a 9mm STEN.

=Smidge=

Re:Meh. (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134881)

I like the ballistic armor (spectra flex/kevlar)...makes me want to shoot a Dell with a 9mm STEN.

Trust me, shooting a Dell without the armor is orders of magnitude more satisfying.

Re:Meh. (2, Insightful)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135367)

Dell responded to the crack by saying that the demo laptop was a pre-production model that had already been dropped a hundred times.

If that's the case I'm a little impressed. LCD screens are depressingly fragile.

Re:Meh. (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136457)

Yep, one drop from about 2 feet up spelled the end of an old laptop's LCD. Lesson learned? If kids start trying to do laps around your laptop / projector combo just slap 'em silly until they quit. Keep 'em off your lawn too.

Re:Meh. (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136795)

Makes sense really, it would be pretty dumb to drop a brand new laptop for each presentation..

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135695)

There's a three-year warranty on the machine and a cracked screen will be replaced immediately

FTS:

The company claims the laptop, which is intended for military use, can withstand rain and wind gusts of up 70 mph, and can work in temperatures from -20 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Will they replace it immediately when someone drops it from 4 feet in a warzone, in heavy rain and heavy wind, while it's -20 degrees Fahrenheit?

(Note: I have no idea how much -20 degrees Fahrenheit is since I'm only familiar with Celcius and Kelvin. But I guess it's... pretty cold, maybe?)

Re:Meh. (1)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136559)

Water freezes at 32F, so yeah -20F is a bit chilly. Northern Minnesota nerd checking in.

Re:Meh. (1)

jcrousedotcom (999175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140775)

FWIW

I remember a few times I left my ThinkPad in the car overnight when I still lived in SE Michigan. At about 0 degrees the screen tend to blur when moving the pointer around but it worked fine and cleared up in a few minutes. My only concern with the whole thing was bringing it into a warm environment tended to cause it to sweat. I often thought that would cause long term problems with the stuff inside but it never did.

Granted -20 is a whole lot colder than 0. I've been in both.

Re:Meh. (1)

Obliterous (466068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136567)

If it's -20 f, you don't have rain. you have hard snow.

-20f is right around -29C. yeah, that's fscking cold. Deep storage freezer cold. And if they'll do field swaps in that environment, I'll order two.

Re:Meh. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141311)

I used to work in a job where we got daily weather reports from equipment in Antarctica. One winter day a station reported -75C.

Napoleon Dynamite (2, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134837)

Reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite, when Kip is selling tupperwear and he drives over one with a van to show its strength, and it just completely bursts. He just says "dang" and drives away.

Re:Napoleon Dynamite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135973)

Actually, he says "Dangit!"

Re:Napoleon Dynamite (2, Funny)

fbjon (692006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138339)

when Kip is selling tupperwear

Sweet jesus, tell me they haven't gotten into the fashion business now!

I always love failed demos of "drop proof" laptops (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27134903)

Did anyone catch "Attack of the Show" last night? They showed another one of these increasingly trendy "drop proof" laptops. Every time they dropped it (even from just two or three feet), the battery and dvd drive went flying off (requiring a reboot and, of course, costing you any unsaved data).

The problem with many of these things is that they build bullet-proof titanium super-duper-armour plating for the shell, but use the same old components for the hard drives, battery connections, drive bay connections, etc. The skin of the thing is the LEAST problematic part. I'm more interesting in how you built the hard drive than the SKIN. An adamantium skin won't help your laptop survive if it's using some standard off-the-shelf hard drive and battery.

Re:I always love failed demos of "drop proof" lapt (1)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135093)

I think id be neat to have one of these, although i wouldnt want to drop it. Ive had my Dell inspiron for 5 years now, ad still works great. Although i have never dropped it and treat it like a baby. Its too bad people are saying Dell is going down hill. Ive never had a problem with mine, and i know of alot of satified customers. I guess i might have to look around when i go to buy my next laptop, if dell is going to be going cheap.

Re:I always love failed demos of "drop proof" lapt (3, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136249)

An adamantium skin won't help your laptop survive if it's using some standard off-the-shelf hard drive and battery.

Fair enough. OTOH, if you have access to adamantium, you probably also could just use a brick with a +3 data storage bonus, rather than a hard drive.

Re:I always love failed demos of "drop proof" lapt (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136515)

It's all kind of B.S. anyway... if you do even simple back-of-the-envelope calculations on the forces involved with a corner impact from 4 feet, it's clear that you'd need several inches of padding, which would make your "laptop" look like one of those old suitcase Compaqs.

Rugged laptop falls onto carpet... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27134919)

Really, I am sure if I pushed my laptop off the table - fairly carefully - it would probably survive the fall, if that fall was softened by a carpet... and I could buy several laptops for the price Dell are asking for their super tough, macho, carpet loving laptop.

Re:Rugged laptop falls onto carpet... (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136387)

Yeah my 2 year old LG laptop has fallen off my bed and the back of my couch (4ft) onto carpet and survives. It was $1000 at the time of purchase.
I'm sure it wouldn't have survive if it was on solid ground, but still. 4ft is not that far. I expect more out of a 'rugged' laptop.

Tag story as "Haha" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135039)

[nt]

Back in '93 (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135335)

I was working on the firmware for a MIL-spec tablet. We had a requirement for a 5-foot drop non-operating and 3-foot drop operating.

The weight of the shock absorbers on that thing was insane -- added at least 2-3 pounds.

Re:Back in '93 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135929)

Yeah, my mother-in-law is terrible on laptops. It's too bad it's so hard to find laptops that target the oft-ignored in-law market these days. All I can find are police-grade this, and military grade...

oh....

That's a Dell? (1)

Ynsats (922697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135457)

Looks more like a rebadged Panasonic Toughbook than a Dell.

Mine didn't survive a 1/2 inch drop! (2, Insightful)

Hubec (28321) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135517)

I have the previous generation ATG (D630). It's Dell's entry level "ruggedish" laptop. The monitor is fantastic and the general quality is good (which is the main reason I bought it) However it does have some design issues. The most important one being that the HDD is screwed directly to the external metal chassis. This means ANY sharp jolt to the laptop can destroy your drive. That's exactly what happened to me. I'd just closed the lid when I dropped it at most a half inch back onto the counter. That was enough to kill it.

The ironic thing is that a regular plastic Dell would have protected the drive better by flexing and transmitting less of the shock. I installed an SSD a couple days ago that should bypass this design flaw once and for all. BTW the OCZ Apex is KICKASS!

Enquiring minds want to know (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135953)

To heck with that wimpy drop test... what we really want to know is Will it blend? [willitblend.com]

Ah, the memories (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135999)

Always, always do the drop test. [slashdot.org]

altitude affects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136251)

I'm curious how altitude affects the laptop, but too lazy to research. Anyone? Anyone?

Re:altitude affects (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136389)

Hard drive heads float over the platters on a very thin air layer, and the drives aren't sealed. If the ambient pressure is too low, instant head crash. With an SSD that is, of course, not an issue. Lower air pressure would also make air cooling less efficient. I'd hope that they wouldn't be cutting the margins that fine; but that might explain the "for up to an hour" part.

Background radiation levels are also somewhat higher at high altitudes, which could corrupt data in RAM or cache and cause instability. I'd be surprised if that is the issue here, though.

Re:altitude affects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27141227)

15000ft altitude isn't that bad. I work for an observatory that is at an altitude of 16500ft, and most people's unmodified laptops work just fine there. The rest either shutdown from overheating, or their disks won't spin-up. When we first went there, we used to seal our hard disks in pressurized enclosures. But this proved to be overkill. Our desktop machines now each have 4 normal 250GB off-the-shelf drives in RAID 10 configurations, from a variety of common vendors, and after weeding out a few disks that didn't work at all, the rest have worked for the last couple of years without any problems.

um yah (1)

quall (1441799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136307)

"But watch as the laptop that Dell used to show these features wasn't able to withstand the rough treatment that was part of the company's demonstration."

I watched, and the laptop survived just find. Stayed on and worked after all test. Am I a blind idiot and missing something, or is narramissic just retarded?

Re:um yah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139927)

"But watch as the laptop that Dell used to show these features wasn't able to withstand the rough treatment that was part of the company's demonstration."

I watched, and the laptop survived just find. Stayed on and worked after all test. Am I a blind idiot and missing something, or is narramissic just retarded?

The frame that protected it popped off, so it wouldn't survive the 2nd 4' deliberate drop while powered up and running. The video was cut at that point and then resumed.

It's sort of like saying you have an unbreakable thermos bottle, but the built in cup/cap pops off, intact, when you drop it.

The real reason this is on slashdot is so the iLogo crowd can bash and link to it as a spurious example of "poor dell quality" the next time the underPoweredMacBookiFruit3G2.0Pod is shown to be 3x as expensive for a quarter inch thinner case :p

Non Rugged can be rugged (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136423)

I have dropped a plain old Latitude D630 while it was powering on from approx. 4 feet up and it didn't miss a beat. It even got whacked on the end of a table on its way down.

Re:Non Rugged can be rugged (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138581)

Funny that, I've dropped all sorts of shit with no ill to it, yet a friend of mine destroyed every single thing he dropped at much lower heights and much more yielding surfaces.

I've dropped two different laptops several times, dozens of cell phones, sealed cans of soda, glasses, plates...

He broke a hard drive from a foot onto carpet, a mouse, a can of soda exploded on him after dropping in on linoleum, several dishes... he dropped a G4 PowerBook, the display and hard drive were fine but the keyboard stopped working, of all things.

Re:Non Rugged can be rugged (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141855)

Many years ago I was transfered to a country posting, where we stayed in the single mens quarters. They had at one stage had some unbreakeable crockery.

A previous resident visited with a friend and decided to demonstrate by dropping a whole stack of plates.

  Unfortuanately, they were different plates that did break. Hllarity ensued.

Why so difficult? (1)

ohnotherobots (1448571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136601)

If we can design electronic systems to survive gun launch (thousands of Gs) environments [wikipedia.org] , it shouldn't be that difficult to design a laptop that can be dropped a few feet. Granted these things cost much more than a computer, but still...

Re:Why so difficult? (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136903)

Yes, but your device doesn't seem to survive the drop test, either.

Re:Why so difficult? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143633)

Mod that up! That's gold :)

Re:Why so difficult? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137101)

A laptop computer is made with lots of plastic and glass, has moving parts, and has to be designed to so that parts can be replaced.

The computer in that shell is a special purpose computer that does one thing very well; has either a capacitor or a small, fixed battery; has few, if any, external parts, is not designed to be repaired; but rather the whole unit is tossed out; has no moving parts, no glass; and is probably inside a metal housing, possibly embedded in a solid block of high-impact plastic.

In other words, the design goals are completely different.

Re:Why so difficult? (1)

ohnotherobots (1448571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27138703)

Actually, guided munitions like this do have moving parts (for fin deployment/actuation). The chassis could be made out of aluminum without being too heavy, though I'll agree that optical drives and LCD are probably the big limiting factors for the computer. (And I'm guessing that economic feasibility is another big issue). FWIW, I have worked as an engineer on similar projectile projects, but have not been involved in laptop design, so I must admit that the Dell engineers probably know more about it than I do.

Wow, 70 whole mph?!? (2, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27137505)

This laptop can survive wind gusts of 70mph? I should hope so. I should also hope it would survive wind gusts of 88mph, or 100mph. I'm reasonably certain that every computer I've ever owned, from my lowly C64 all the way up to my current quad-core beast, could survive wind gusts of 70mph.

BTW, how fast does the air out of those duster cans spray? Just curious...

Re:Wow, 70 whole mph?!? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#27139943)

This laptop can survive wind gusts of 70mph? I should hope so. I should also hope it would survive wind gusts of 88mph, or 100mph. I'm reasonably certain that every computer I've ever owned, from my lowly C64 all the way up to my current quad-core beast, could survive wind gusts of 70mph.

With a powerful enough gust of wind striking, say, the open face of a laptop's LCD display, you could expect that force to have some kind of an effect on the hinge or possibly the LCD itself.

Summary translated to metric units (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27139785)

Dell's new Latitude E6400 XFR laptop is designed to withstand drops, dust and high pressure water spray. The company claims the laptop, which is intended for military use, can withstand rain and wind gusts of up 30 m/s, and can work in temperatures from -28 to 62 degrees Celsius. It can also work for an hour at an altitude of 4500 m and is designed to withstand drops of around 120 cm when not operating and 90 cm when operational. The LCD screen floats a little bit within the LCD cover so it can take impacts and shock, said Jeremy Bolen, a Dell spokesman. But watch as the laptop that Dell used to show these features wasn't able to withstand the rough treatment that was part of the company's demonstration.

I don't see the crack (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140099)

I don't see the crack in the video, where is it?

Re:I don't see the crack (1)

elBart0 (444317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27140591)

Listen to the audio. The narrator states that Dell did not allow them to film the damage.

Why 15,000 ft? (1)

Fouquet (753286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141111)

My run of the mill thinkpad has operated at the summit of Mauna Kea (~14,000 ft) many times. I've personally also used a Gateway laptop, and a couple of seagate 2.5" harddrives up there. I know of many people who have used other laptop models there as well, and have never heard of any problems. The pressure difference between 14000 ft and 150000 ft is only about 15%.

I strongly suspect Dell just pulled the 15,000 ft number out of their rear because some marketing person thought it sounded neato.

4 grand? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#27141801)

So you'll have to drop a laptop from table height roughly once a year to make this economical compared to a run-of-the-mill machine?

Re:4 grand? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27142725)

Or you spend a tenth of that and buy a netbook. The machine is smaller, which makes case and screen inherently more stable. If it has SSD you have no problems with your data, and it doesn't have a fragile dvd drive. I dropped my eee from the table several times, without any problems, not even small cracks in the case. Colleague dropped his from two stories high, that did kill the screen, machine itself was probably still intact. You might find some cool tests involving dropping and cars done with the first eee on youtube.

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27142151)

Anyone have an alternative video link?

Did anyone read the article? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27142517)

Video won't load for me, but the article seems to.

During a laptop demonstration provided by Dell, the laptop weathered jetted water and 3-foot drops while running, but the non-operational 4-foot drop proved to be a problem. After a third drop from 4 feet, the LCD screen's protective plastic cover shattered.

Dell responded to the crack by saying that the demo laptop was a pre-production model that had already been dropped a hundred times. There's a three-year warranty on the machine and a cracked screen will be replaced immediately, Bolen said.

Despite the screen crack, the laptop is protected by a chassis made of ballistic armor, which is a high-strength substance used in ballistic missiles, cryogenics and other military applications. It is a high-end polymer that is two to three times more durable than the magnesium alloy material used on most laptops today, Bolen said.

Where's the problem?

Re:Did anyone read the article? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143705)

Where's the problem?

Let me point out the lines and what they mean. Clearly you are new to corporation-speak.

Dell responded to the crack by saying that the demo laptop was a pre-production model that had already been dropped a hundred times.

The cockup that we said wouldn't happen did actually happen, so here is an excuse that sounds plausible that you cannot verify and have to take our word for.

There's a three-year warranty on the machine and a cracked screen will be replaced immediately, Bolen said.

Well, it doesn't really do what we told you it would, but at least we can replace your broken screen. At our place. While you don't have anything to use. Sorry.

Now is the outlines of a problem starting to crop up a little more?

Re:Did anyone read the article? (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27144107)

Sure, if they're outright lying, it's bad.

I guess nobody here trusts anything Dell says, either. :P

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27143253)

I recently dropped my Touring machine by accident and it survived unharmed. That's what I call robust!

Really? (1)

blackroseMD1 (1107953) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143349)

$4K for a crappy laptop with "armor"? These guys must be on crack. Dude, I'm so not getting a Dell.

OLPC (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27143781)

Huh. I dropped my OLPC from about 4 feet (a little less, maybe 3.5 with some forward momentum too) just a week ago. It bounced to about 1.5-2 feet, then landed again. Outdoors, hard asphalt. No damage except a tiny depression in the plastic on one corner.

Not the first time I've dropped it, either. Only thing I've broken from a drop is a tiny chunk of plastic off the headphone jack--in a ~6 foot drop onto a tile floor that hit the wall and my leg and thus didn't get the full force, but did manage to bend the 1/8th inch headphone connector.

Sounds like Dell has some catching up to do.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?