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Tough Stuff: Dell’s new Latitude 12 Rugged tablet is the right tool for any job

If you’re the sort of person that makes full use of your tablet’s portability, owning a system that can withstand work out in the field is probably high on your list of priorities. Whether your device is being used outdoors in an unforgiving climate, or just being thrown into a bag as you make your morning commute, it’s important to be sure that the tablet is tough enough for the job.

However, plenty of tablets struggle to be as sturdy as users might expect — which is why a number of manufacturers have started to offer ‘rugged’ devices specifically designed for more physically demanding usage. Having observed that traditional tablets don’t tend to fare so well when put inside a robust case, Dell has set about creating a system that’s built from the ground up to be as robust as possible.

The Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet has been designed not only to survive the most demanding environments on Earth, but to make it possible for users to be just as productive while in those locales as they would be working from the office. Dell uses a lab in Austin, Texas to vet devices comprehensively, making sure that they can live up to their ‘rugged’ label.

Dell takes the challenges of making a robust tablet seriously, but the company is also aware that making a device that’s suited to this sort of usage goes beyond weather-proofing and fall protection. To that end, there’s a host of functionality here that promises usability in the face of other factors — for instance, you’ll be able to use the touch screen on the Latitude 12 even when conditions are too cold for you to remove your gloves.

Related: Panasonic’s Toughbook 54 is the smallest semi-rugged notebook yet

There’s also legacy support for RJ45 serial ports and other adapters, meaning that even if your connection options are limited, you won’t be cut out. There are many different aspects to making a device like this truly ‘rugged’, but all of them are focused towards the end goal of a tablet that can operate in just about any situation.

With that in mind, it’s of little surprise that the device’s display has been given plenty of attention. Dell has focussed on making the Latitude 12’s 11.6-inch screen easy to read in strong daylight, even while keeping power consumption in check. Using a form of the tech used for in-car driver displays modified to further reduce reflections, Dell has produced a screen that offers strong contrast and color saturation, even with the sun beating down on it.

It isn’t just about being tough though. Features like a customizable RGB backlit keyboard and support for Dell’s suite of Latitude software extensions will give users a few home comforts, even if they’re using the Latitude 12 out in the wild. Plus, with up to 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, a fifth-generation  dual-core Intel Core M processor, and optional hot-swap batteries to allow it to last all day, its specs are no slouch either.

Dell’s range of rugged tablets and hybrid devices, including the Latitude 12, is anticipated to retail between $1,599 and $2,000. For more information, visit the rugged section on the company’s website.