General discussion

How essential is a rugged notebook?

I am a med student who is heading off to the South Pacific to do some field research in various villages on some of the islands out there. Whilst I haven't actually been there myself, I have been told that some of the villages are relatively inaccessible, whilst others are fine. I badly need a laptop that I can use to record and process data, but I am not sure if a rugged notebook is essential or not. I will also be backpacking before I return to the UK.

I was impressed with Panasonic's Toughbook range whilst I was using it on board RN ships (pretty sturdy given the amount of abuse it received whilst sailing through rough waters) but as a strapped for cash student, I'm not sure if I can justify the cost or if there are any more viable alternatives.

Please help!

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If you consider the source of the abuse.

Maybe you can use a normal laptop?


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main focus of confusion is whether a normal one is ok

It is something I am definitely willing to consider. Various people have suggested that it may not be suitable- humidity, I will be there in cyclone season etc and that a rugged one may be suitable. I am completely confused about whether a normal laptop or a more specialised one is the way to go!

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Here's another way to determine that.

Look at what other people have. My bet is they don't have a toughbook.

If this is your laptop, will you be abusing it by using it in the rain? Sorry to be so blatent, but how you treat and store the laptop will determine if you need a toughbook or not.


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i appreciate your responses...

I have no intention of using my laptop in the rain but I have been told some of the clinics we are running won't always be under shelter.

Similiar field research in being carried out in Africa is being done on rugged notebooks but they have funding in place from Glaxo, whilst I won't know if I do or not until the end of the month.

Do you have any suggestions as to which normal notebooks are more robust than the norm?

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What you'll find is ...

You'll have the likes of the toughbooks or you'll have the normal notebooks. The market pressure is why this is so. I hope this explains it.

You can also explore hard cases such as


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The link is much appreciated!

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