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Competent, semi-rugged notebook at a low price
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The Twinhead/GammaTech DURABOOK D14R platform was originally introduced in 2006 and offered an attractive ruggedized design in the popular 14-inch class. The machine was upgraded/updated a couple of times, adding new technology and greater protection, and in July 2009 was upgraded again.

The main attraction this time is a switch to Intel's Centrino 2 platform, a fifth generation Centrino codenamed "Montevina" and including an Intel Mobile 4 Express chipset, a "Penryn" class Core 2 Duo processor, and an Intel WiFi Link wireless module.

Like its predecessor, the new D14RM combines almost state-of-the-art technology with common sense rugged design features. The machine now comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo with a speedy 1066MHz Frontside Bus, the Intel GM45 chipset with integrated graphics, and the Intel WiFi Link 5100 that supports up to 802.11n. The display is a 14.1-inch wide-format TFT that comes standard with WXGA resolution (1280 x 800 pixel). There are a number of options, including a WXGA+ display with 1440 x 900 resolution, a touch screen, a sunlight-readable display, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam.

Connectivity has been enhanced as well. There are now four USB 2.0 ports, both VGA and HDMI connectors, and a 9-pin serial legacy port. There is also a PC Card Type II slot, a 4-in-1 card reader, a Smart Card reader, and a fingerprint reader.

The D14RM uses a magnesium ally case that's 20 times stronger than the commonly used ABS plastic. A spill-resistant keyboard and additional sealing protect against common accidents. The machine is drop-resistant and able to survive multiple drops from 2.5 feet. Generous anti-shock mounting protects the LCD and hard disk. The keyboard, touchpad and switches are all spill-resistant, and the machine is designed so that liquids won't leak into the interior. Ports are dust-resistant, though the machine doesn't carry an official IP rating.

Measuring 13.8 x 10 x 1.5 inches and weighing a modest 5.5 pounds with the standard 6-cell battery (a more powerful 9-cell battery is also available), the Durabook D14RM is a business-rugged machine for professionals who need a full-function laptop, but one that is better protected from common travel-related spills and drops, without being as large and heavy as a consumer notebook.

The press release did not include pricing, but the D14RM,s predecessor, the DURABOOK D14RI could be had for well under US$1,000, so the new machine is likely economy-priced as well.

Added/changed Added 09/2009
Processor Intel Pentium M 740 and higher or Celeron M 350 and higher
CPU Speed depends on processor model
Chip set North Bridge: Intel 915GM Express, South Bridge: Intel ICH6-M
Standard/Max RAM 256-2048MB DDR II SODIMM
Disk/drive Shock-mounted 160 to 320 SATA HD
Media Bay Super Multi optical drive
Card slots 1 PC Card Type II, Smart Card reader, 4-in-1 reader (MS/MS Pro, SD/MMC)
Display type Transmissive TFT
Display size/res 14.1"/1280 x 800 WXGA, optional 1440 x 900 WXGA+, optional sunlight-viewable
Digitizer/pens optional touch screen
Keyboard/scale 88 keys, spill-resistant, LED backlight
Housing Magnesium alloy case
Operating Temp NA
Sealing "spill resistant"
Shock 26 x 25 inch drop to plywood over concrete
Size (WxHxD) 13.85 x 10.0 x 1.5
Weight 5.5 pounds with 6-cell battery
Power 4,400 or 6,600mAHr Li-Ion ("approx. 4 or 6 hrs.")
Interface 4 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, 9-pin serial, RJ45 (gigabit), mic, optional antenna connector for GPS
Wireless Intel WiFi Link 5300, optional Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 2nd Mini PCI Express slot supports either WWAN/3G, WiMAX or GPS
List price Inquire
Contact www.gammatechusa.com
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