When you are considering a computer upgrade in your vehicle upfitting or a new turnkey fleet, there are several options from which to choose. Understanding the differences between fully-rugged computers and semi-rugged computers can help you to make an informed decision.
Advantages of Fully-Rugged Computers
A fully rugged laptop computer is designed with one main purpose: to be able to function properly in any environment. These laptops can take a beating and still perform properly in any outdoor, dusty, or extreme weather conditions that any public service vehicle may encounter. Each computer component is waterproofed and sealed. This prevents moisture, sand, salt, and any other environmental hazards from destroying or harming the machine in any manner. A fully-rugged computer can even stand up to a spray of water without allowing the internal components to get wet.
Depending on the time of day, bright sunlight can be exactly in the wrong position, creating intense glare on a computer screen in a vehicle. Fully-rugged computer screens are designed to reduce glare greatly from lights and the sun. This allows you to see the screen easily, improving ease of operation. Fully-rugged computers are the solution to this problem.
Extreme temperature variations can make some computers work slowly or actually render them unusable. Fully-rugged laptop computers are tough enough to withstand freezing temperatures in the dead of winter and the extreme heat that can build up in a closed vehicle in the summer. When the outside air temperature is only 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes only 7 to 10 minutes for the temperature inside a closed vehicle (without the air conditioner on) to reach 100 degrees. This can be detrimental to computers that are not in the fully rugged class!
No matter what type of first response or fleet vehicle you drive, you have the potential to encounter very rough conditions. Police cars suffer incredible abuse during patrols, chases, and investigations. They may have to drive over curbs, on sidewalks, in bumpy fields, and through countless other types of rough terrain to get the job done. A rugged model can take all of the rough riding that you can possible get into; other computers can require careful, specializing mounting to protect them from the impact of such rough driving. With fully-rugged models, it doesn’t matter what type of mount your computer is on.
What Are Semi-Rugged Computers?
A semi-rugged computer is a standard laptop or notebook that has some adaptations for tough conditions. They usually have a strong magnesium case, a spill-proof keyboard, and a hard disk that is either shock- or gel-mounted in the computer to cushion it from impact. This type of computer can survive in low and high temperatures, but its performance will suffer greatly. For example, extremely cold winter temperatures can cause the screen to freeze and be unreadable, but the computer will still be operational when it is returned to a warmer temperature.
Semi-rugged computers can handle some harsh conditions, but not nearly as much as fully-rugged models. These are usually best suited for consumer use in a semi-office or warehouse environment. They are especially popular with utility workers, hardware technicians, and civil engineers, jobs that can involve occasional but relatively infrequent rough conditions. Compared to a fully-rugged model, they tend to be lighter, more easily portable, and more stylish.
Fully-rugged computers may not be so aesthetically pleasing to the eye but they perform well enough to be considered military-grade computers. Fully-rugged computers can stay reliable even if they are dropped, vibrate a great deal without negative consequences, and are shock resistant (some are even blast resistant). All of these features are including for a long-lasting product that is about the same price as a semi-rugged model. Fully-rugged computers are your best bet to use in vehicle upfitting due to their almost indestructible nature.
The best use of your annual budget for upfitting safety vehicles is to choose computer upgrades using fully-rugged versions. They last much longer than the lesser quality models and usually require fewer service calls (which can lead to downtime in your fleet or vital public safety vehicles). Keltek recommends Panasonic professional grade computers for your vehicle upfit. Contact us to learn more about these fully-rugged computers and systems and learn more about how we can help you with all your Iowa vehicle upfitting needs.