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Systemax launches "ruggedized" laptop

Despite its tough name, the Assault is not built to military specifications. In fact, many of its features--a magnesium alloy case, antishock design, and a spill-resistant keyboard and touch pad--can be found on corporate models from Dell and Lenovo.

Systemax

Frankly, we're a little disturbed by the latest naming trends for rugged notebooks. Previously, we had the straightforward ToughBook and the innocuous XTG630. But last week we saw the fully rugged Victum, and today Systemax announced the 14.1-inch Assault. Despite its tough name, the Assault is not built to military specifications; in fact, many of the Assault's ruggedized features--a magnesium alloy case, antishock design, and a spill-resistant keyboard and touch pad--can be found on corporate models from Dell and Lenovo.

Still, those features aren't exactly common on a laptop with a starting price of $1,000. Aside from the durability features, the baseline configuration of the Assault includes an older Core Duo T2350 (1.86GHz) processor, a scant 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, and Windows XP Home Edition. Bringing the configuration up to modern standards (a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a 120GB hard drive, and Windows Vista Home) costs a still-reasonable $1,199.

We can't wait to run the Assault through the ringer--for scientific purposes, of course. We've requested a review unit and will report back when we've got our hands (and steel-toe boots, and spilled coffee) on one.