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Dell Latitude XT2 XFR ruggedised laptop

A tablet to take for the rough and tumble

Unfortunately for Dell, the first review sample it shipped out to me was pretty much useless in that the touchscreen had a mind of its own. Random screen presses occurred every few seconds, almost as if there were a poltergeist in the room – all of which made it impossible to use. Furthermore, one of the waterproof caps at the rear wasn’t particularly snug.

Dell XT2 XFR Rugged

Robust fittings keep the elements and accidents at bay

Dell therefore recalled the laptop back to its labs and, about a week later, it was returned. The loose waterproof cap appeared much more secure, the screen was just as problematic as before, which seemed more than a little odd since Dell had told me their labs couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

In order to get things moving, Dell opted to send me a German version of the XT2 XFR, which is identical except for the different keyboard layout. Thankfully, this sample worked perfectly. I don’t want to knock Dell too hard over the malfunctioning of the original review sample, but given that this laptop is meant to be harder than nails you’d think the chances of problems occurring would be pretty small.

With a fully-functional sample I decided to go about testing some of Dell’s claims. The laptop is both MIL-STD-810G (a US Department of Defence test) and IP-54 (protection from dust and water) certified, so I started by subjecting it to a few random drops. Dell reckons a 3ft fall is no problem for the XT2 XFR, so, tape measure in hand, that’s exactly what it got. Despite making an unholy racket, it emerged unscathed and the rubberised sections of the chassis meant there were no unsightly marks.

Of course, being a tablet it’s designed to be used in the hands at chest height. And since most people are a fair bit taller than 3ft, a butter-finger moment would most likely result in it tumbling around 5ft. To be honest, I reckon a 5ft drop wouldn’t be a problem, but I didn’t fancy testing beyond Dell’s specifications and then be faced with a hefty repair bill.

Dell XT2 XFR Rugged

Ice to see you – the XT2 XFR seems happy enough in a deep freeze

Another of Dell’s claims is that it can withstand temperatures right down to -40C, and be fully operational at -23C. And after finding the temperature of my freezer to be -21C, I decided to plop it in overnight alongside the freezer’s woefully out-of-date contents. The next morning I took it out, fired it up and – despite being too cold to hold – it appeared to work fine.

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