Performance is important in a laptop, but the reason you buy a semi-rugged laptop is so it can stand up to the rough and tumble of working life.
Panasonic's Toughbooks are a well-regarded name in this area, but another option is the Getac S400, which is claimed to cope with a three-foot (just under 1m) drop while operating, temperatures between 0 and 60 Centigrade (optionally -20 to 60 degrees), and dusty conditions. The keyboard is splashproof and the entire unit is vibration resistant.
The S400 now incorporates the third-generation Intel Core processor for a 44% improvement in processing speed compared with its predecessors. Graphics performance is said to be 540% faster, and there's also USB 3.0 along with Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Other features include a fingerprint scanner and a smartcard reader. Options include a "sunlight readable" anti-reflective screen incorporating resistive multitouch technology that works with gloved hands, GPS, wireless broadband, RFID and contactless smartcard reader, and an in-vehicle docking station.
THe S400 will be available in Australia from early November through Synnex. Prices will start at $1995, including a three-year warranty.
Conventional laptops may be cheaper, but in working environments that present a significant risk of damage the extra strength of a semi-rugged model means the investment can pay dividends if it means you can actually get your work done.