Getac P470 review: Getac P470

The Good Rugged build quality; 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processor; indoor/outdoor passive touchscreen display; low-power ECO mode.

The Bad Little protection for the optical drive; fixed-position webcam; battery life could be better.

The Bottom Line This ruggedised Getac P470 provides a good set of features, including a passive touchscreen and optional 3G connectivity. However, you may need to invest in an upgrade or two to get the battery life you require

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7.5 Overall

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When it comes to rugged laptops, Getac has some of the toughest of them all in its inventory. The P470 meets a range of standards for rugged laptops, and is most definitely capable of perfoming in the field as well as in the office.

The P470 is available online for around £2,050. 

Built into a tough magnesium alloy casing, the P470 is styled on the outside in slate-grey and black, with some eye-catching design indents on the lid section. An extremely robust carrying handle is built into the front of the system. This locks into a position fairly snug to the laptop's edge when not in use.

A hinge keeps upper and lower sections of the laptop together, although the clasp on our review sample was not quite as solid as we'd like. There are various status lights on the front edge of the laptop that are visible when the lid is closed.

The P470 is a mid-sized laptop measuring 333 by 295 by 42mm. At 2.95kg, it's heavy compared to a conventional laptop of similar dimensions -- the extra weight is down to the strong outer shell, plus various internal shock-absorbing and other ruggedising features.

The screen measures 14.1 inches across the diagonal and has a native resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. The display is designed to be readable outdoors, and a button above the keyboard toggles an enhanced mode on and off. This simply seems to cause the screen to become brighter, but it does make a discernable difference to readability in natural light.

The display is a passive touchscreen that does not require a dedicated stylus to drive it, as active touchscreens do. Should you wish to use a stylus rather than a fingertip, there's a small handheld-type unit in a housing on the front left edge of the system.

The keyboard is spill resistant, and markings on the Qwerty and number keys are larger and brighter than normal -- presumably to promote visibility in dim lighting conditions. The number keys are topped by a row of three-quarters- height function keys.

Above the keyboard is a bank of five buttons, including the aforementioned one that boosts readability outdoors. There's also an ECO-mode button that reduces the screen backlight and slows the processor's speed in order to conserve battery power. Two further user-programmable buttons can be set up to launch any chosen application, while the final button ejects the optical drive tray. The main on/off switch is also here.

The touchpad incorporates a scroll function on its right-hand and bottom edges, although there are no markings to indicate this. Beneath the touchpad are large left and right select buttons and, between these, a fingerprint sensor. You can toggle the touchpad on and off via a function key combination.

The Getac P470 is built around an Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 processor running at 2.16GHz. This has 4MB of Level 2 cache and a 667MHz frontside bus (FSB). Our review sample had 1GB of DDR2 RAM, which is upgradeable to a maximum of 2GB. The graphics controller, which can dynamically utilise up to 128MB of system RAM, is integrated in the Intel 945GM chipset, although an optional configuration uses the 945PM chipset and discrete ATI M62 graphics with up to 256MB of dedicated video memory.

The P470 comes with Windows XP Professional preinstalled rather than Windows Vista, and there's no Vista option available at the time of writing. Microsoft Office Basic is also apparently included, although this was not installed on our review sample.

Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g) and Bluetooth (2.0+EDR) are integrated, and a small applet allows you to turn these on and off individually. The icons on this applet are large enough to use with a gloved finger if necessary. The front-mounted panel of status lights mentioned earlier includes separate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth indicators.

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