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Dell's rugged Latitude tablet lightens up, but stays serious

The 11.6-inch Windows tablet PC is still ready to handle any situation, it just won't weigh you down as much.

Not everyone needs a tablet that can be left in the dirt and rain or dropped onto a concrete pad. But if you do, Dell has one it would like to sell you. 

The Dell Latitude 7212 rugged extreme tablet picks up where its predecessor -- the 7202 -- left off, able to survive field use for everything from construction to emergency services to the military. It's available with Windows 10 Pro or Windows 7 Pro if you're running legacy software, and it's built to handle drops, shocks and vibration along with water, blowing dust and sand, humidity and extreme operational temperatures from -20 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 to 63 degrees Celsius).

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A tethered active pen can be stowed in the 7212's body. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Despite its durability, the 7212 is nearly a pound lighter than the original, starting at 2.8 pounds (1.27 kg). The 7212 is also available with more powerful processors and has a new full HD touchscreen, too, that can be used with thick gloves or in the rain. 

Along with those upgrades, Dell improved the tablet's accessory ecosystem. It redesigned the docks and power systems, and there's a kickstand and rugged RGB backlit keyboard cover, a chest harness, active pen, 24- and 27-inch monitors and a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The Dell Latitude 7212 is available to order now starting at around $2,700 or £2,036 in the UK. Australian pricing wasn't available, but that converts to approximately AU$3,390.

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