February 26, 2009 With the number of ruggedized computers hitting the market you’d think that people are running around treating their laptops like last night’s leftovers. Of course that’s not the case, most people use their laptops in pretty clean, stable environments and won’t ever need the rough and ready specs of a ruggedized laptop, but there is a section of the workforce that does. Particularly in the areas of public safety, utilities, construction and the military, and it’s these markets that Lenovo have in mind with their range of eight ThinkPad laptops designated for use in field and vehicle semi-ruggedized computing environments.

Lenovo put their ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400 and SL300 laptops through a barrage of military specifications tests including being baked, battered, blistered and blown with sand to ensure they would take a licking and keep on ticking. The laptops all passed tests for low pressure operation at 15,000 feet, high humidity, vibration, dust, and temperatures up to 140°F and down to -4°F with fluctuation between the two extremes to test temperature shock.

Lenovo durability features include a Spill-Resistant Keyboard that can withstand spills of up to two fluid ounces on select laptops allowing liquid to drain beneath the keyboard, an Active Protection System that temporarily parks the hard drive when the laptop detects a fall or sudden movement via an air-bag like system and a roll cage that serves as a protective frame around the internal components with an extra top cover roll cage on the ThinkPad X301 laptop.

Using laptops outdoors also makes screen visibility extremely important so Lenovo is equipping the ThinkPad T400 laptop with an optional high brightness, wide angle screen, making it nearly four times brighter than previous ThinkPad laptop screens. The high contrast screen eliminates reflections with its anti-glare finish and uses energy-efficient LED technology to maintain long battery life.

Lenovo claims the Lenovo ThinkPad laptops pass more military specifications compared to Dell’s ATG laptops and Panasonic’s business-rugged and semi-rugged laptops.

Models offer solid state drive storage, switchable graphics for longer battery life and Intel Centrino 2 processor technology. They also come with choices of HDDs, multimedia like Blu-Ray DVD players and a host of wireless connectivity options including mobile broadband, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and WiMAX, with the ThinkPad X200 Tablet the first Tablet to offer WiMAX connectivity.

The ThinkPad T400 laptop with the high brightness screen is available now and pricing starts at approximately USD$1,350.

Darren Quick

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