Oppoinions wanted, rugged laptop edition.

The boss at the new job gave me the green light to spec out a field laptop for myself. My other coworker has an older toughbook CF-53, but I’m not overly impressed with it. I’ve been poking around the Dell 5424 line. Anyone have any experience or suggestions? We do have the ability to piggy back on a larger entities purchasing contract with Dell, so I might be able to get more for the money over a Panasonic route.

I could go the dell rugged 7220 tablet route for about the same money, but using that toughbook so far has confirmed that I think I atill want a real keyboard/pad to type on out at remote sites too. Editing config files on a touchscreen doesn’t seem like fun. I don’t plant to run over the laptop with my work truck or work underwateer, so anything in “semi rugged” category ought to be enough. If it’s a severe rain event, I’m getting out of there in the truck anyway and not working on a weather station that’s a 12ft metal tube with a 20ft antenna/lighting rod attached to it or working on a transducer in an arroyo that’s about to flood if it hasn’t already. Must have a sunlight readable display (of which the CF-53's is only sort of readable outside) and a serial port for troubleshooting and programming radios and dataloggers. It might occasionally do some very light GIS work, so I’m thinking a discrete gpu isn’t the worst idea.

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I’m thinking an lte modem may not be worthwhile, as they’re pricey and seem to be carrier specific. I’m also getting a work phone with a robust data plan that should work fine tethered as a wifi hotspot for getting onto the web based part of the system out in the boonies (which is how we use the current toughbook). Would there really be an advantage to spending +$200 for a laptop with the lte modem?

I’m still getting used to the new fiscal environment of working for an entity that is actually funded. I’m still in library world mode a bit where I imagined we would probably continue to share the one older toughbook and I would inherit it when my coworker retires next year. Being told to go spec out something new for myself made my day.

Have some festively colored Mazdas for you time:

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