Laptops are built to be mobile. They’re not meant for the same, indolent and cushy life of a desktop. No, they’re meant for far more. They’re meant to take on the world, to serve as the valuable companion to the men and women who risk it, out in the wild. Whether that means traveling to the highest mountains in the service of mountaineers, acting as their digital sherpa, or alongside soldiers to help configure and synchronize orders, or to enter the helmet-on zone with engineers, construction workers and architects to help hammer out the details of the build – rugged laptops are essential tools for the modern day working person.
As a result, companies have built out some tank-like iterations of the best laptops, battening down the hatches and emboldening those cases, to become impenetrable and indispensable utilities for explorers, soldiers, and industrious people of all kinds. The eight rugged laptops that made our list are tough as nails. They will endure for years, and most offer a toughness that is slim and not unnecessarily bulky. Check them out, and never fear again when taking your tech out on a mission.
Asus Chromebook C202SA
The Asus Chromebook C202 is a powerful notebook with an incredible feature: a 180-degree hinge allows the laptop to completely flatten. Flexibility in itself is a rugged feature – being able to bend and not break is essential to roughing it. The typical features are also present in this awesome laptop; it’s built with reinforced rubber guards and easy grip handles on its sides. A modest 11.6 inch screen offers a 1366×768 display with anti-glare coating (as you’re free to take the Chromebook outdoors), this is the perfect laptop take with you on a picnic to the park, to get some work done or watch a movie with a tasty summer beverage. No worries if you accidentally spill – the keyboard on the Chromebook is 100% spill-proof. With a 2.48 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 Processor, 16 GB storage, and 10 hours of battery life, this is the perfect small size, on-the-go laptop at a good price.
Built to help educators and students better engage with concepts, the intuitive and ergonomic layout of the HP ProBook makes using the notebook a breeze. The ProBook is half toy, half work tool; the user can annotate, draw, solve math problems, and take notes right on your screen with a stylus called the Active Pen. For being so minute in size, a 64GB eMMC Internal Storage can hold plenty, and makes for a lightning fast computing experience. Built to endure being passed around the classroom like a frisbee, the HP ProBook is an awesome, rugged tool for teachers, craftsman, engineers and all those with hands-on professions. Just place it in your backpack, and never worry that you might accidentally incur a scratch on the way home.
Lenovo ThinkPad UltraBook
Built with that little red vestige of a different time, when laptops were still called notebooks, and everything was bulky and black, the Lenovo ThinkPad might have an archaic aesthetic, but its durability and tech is certainly up to date. With a i5-4300U Intel Core Processor and a 500 GB 7200rpm hard disk drive, the Thinkpad is one of the most powerful PCs on the list. It also comes equipped with BlueTooth 4.0 and even a Fingerprint Reader – a useful security feature. A full-sized and spill-resistant keyboard and totally waterproof tech make the Thinkpad a durable piece of equipment. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself:
FLEX10A Windows Professional 2-in-1
Drop-tested and ready. That’s Mobile Demand LLC’s motto. Not really, but it is the truth when it comes to their ultra-durable products. Their FLEX10A Rugged Windows Professional 2-in-1 Tablet/Computer is no different. Swathed in a durable Protective case and screen protector, which are both MIL-STD-810G certified, this laptop’s metal (and mettle) were tested by dropping it 26 times from 4 feet to plywood over concrete. Though it survived, it makes you wonder what happened on the 27th drop. While it has a heavy duty exterior, the internal capabilities of the laptop/tablet are described by Mobile Demand as being “light” to “medium” duty. The Flex10A is no doubt highly useful – just don’t expect to design a whole building or run extremely complicated applications with it.
Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme
The Dell 14 Latitude Extreme Rugged Laptop is unsurpassed in many ways. It’s built for any job. Dell constructed the Latitude Extreme Rugged using what they called “test-to-fail methodology” – meaning they consistently pushed the Latitude beyond its limits, in order to discover just what those limits are. The result is an extremely robust, badass computer that can take most any punishment. The rigid magnesium alloy backbone and shock-absorbent ultra-polymer material from which the Latitude is constructed will rebuff any impact, making this laptop essentially drop-proof. It can also endure extreme temperatures without overheating, thanks to fourth-generation QuadCool thermal management systems. ThriveGreat visibility technology allows you to see clearly what’s on your screen, day or night. Thanks to compression gaskets and a dual-knife-edge design (certified for IP-65 protection not just from water, but from solid particulate like sand and dust) the Dell 14 Latitude Extreme Rugged Laptop is as rugged as they come.
Touting itself as one of the most portable laptops on the market, the LG Gram is very lightweight – and that’s a feature that one doesn’t generally consider “rugged.” But being feathery light, well-constructed, and flexible are a trifecta of features that make for a very durable laptop. The Gram is also durable in the sense that its 72Wh battery lasts up to 16.5 hours, and its 16GB RAM & 512GB SSD allow for fast performance and a large memory bank. Its premium nano carbon magnesium full metal body provides military-grade durability. It’s tough, but still incredibly lightweight. Fingerprint ID offers another layer of security for the cautious user.
One of the lesser known brands on the list, Getac’s mission is to make the most rugged computers on the block. If they don’t completely succeed, they certainly come close, and the Getac B300 is an excellent exemplar of their pursuit of toughness. With built-in GPS, 3G (SIM card), Wifi, a touchscreen, and i7 CPU, this laptop is built to withstand any travails it encounters. Plus, everything is sealed in by a mighty magnesium alloy case, shock-mounted hard drive, and sealed I/O caps and doors, so no moisture or solid particles can get inside. The screen even offers Night Vision visibility that meets the U.S. Army’s MIL-STD-3009 standard for Night Vision. All this comes with a 3-Year Warranty, so in case something stops working, you can simply send in for a new one.
Panasonic Toughbook CF-33
The Panasonic CF-33 Toughbook is the most expensive rugged laptop on our list, and not without good reason. It’s the first 2-in-1 of its kind, ultra-durable, modular, and extremely flexible, built to weather any storm it may face. A 12″ detachable screen allows you to separate the laptop for easier wieldability. The laptop screen has 3x the resolution as the last Toughbook, and is 50% brighter and 15% larger display. The Toughbook even has a built in infrared camera, and biometric user authentication features for added security. Meeting two Military Standard Specifications for surviving in hazardous conditions, and IP65 waterproof – not just water-resistant – this is the ultimate rugged laptop that will soldier on through any conditions.
Just In Case: 25 Best Macbook Pro Cases
Don’t feel like committing to an entirely new laptop? Ruggedize your PC with a pick from this list of the best macbook pro cases, and take your tech outside, worry-free.