29th Jul 2008 | 15:27
Tough and close to indestructible, this ruggedised laptop offers great usability
Getac specialises in laptops and handhelds for extreme environments, so it comes as no surprise to ﬁnd the B300 (£3834 inc. VAT) to be fully ruggedised and designed with the ﬁeldworker in mind.
Being fully ruggedised, it meets the MIL-STD 810 standard, which means it's waterproof, dustproof and can withstand the knocks and vibrations associated with life outdoors.
The casing is made from cast magnesium-alloy and is solid enough to absorb any impact. If that's not enough, all the ports have thick rubber stoppers. Even the biometric ﬁngerprint scanner on the body of the unit has its own dustproof cover.
To keep moisture out there is no fan. So in order to offer performance in a sealed unit, Getac has used an Ultra-Low Voltage Intel chip. We found performance to be acceptable for ofﬁce tasks, largely due to the addition of 2048MB of memory.
To make it easier to carry around, it's ﬁtted with an integrated handle. A reinforced latch holds the lid in place when shut and the twin hinges hold the touch-sensitive 13.3-inch screen in place.
You'll ﬁnd a row of feature buttons above the keyboard, one offering a number of eco-modes when running on battery, another to monitor screen brightness levels.
There is also a stealth button that allows you to switch off the screen and other signs of life should you need to evade being seen. These aspects highlight its main use, as an army tool, but it also works well for most industrial settings.
When it comes to usability, the handle adds to the bulk of the machine, so you need to lean over it in order to type. The keyboard has large keys and, as the letters have larger than expected print, you can see what you're typing far easier.
Customise your machine
Where this laptop excels is in the modular form it takes. The buyer can specify a host of extras, from GPS modules to 3G/HSDPA, all of which add to the cost. This is a specialised piece of kit, so you can tailor it to any unique requirements.
All this comes at a cost and that's not only ﬁnancial, but also in weight and portability. Weighing 4kg, this isn't a machine you'd want to carry around too often. However, it's intended to be vehicle-mounted for recharging and driven on site.
Impressive battery life
Once you're outside, you need a battery pack that will last all day and on this level the B300 delivers.
Our review unit lasted for 472 minutes, which at more than seven hours from a single charge will keep you working for a full day with ease.
For its chosen market, the Getac B300 is an impressive and usable machine. Its price reﬂects its niche design, but for rugged environs it's a great choice.