Dell Latitude XT2 XFR

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Flinging an expensive, new laptop nonchalantly into the back of a builder’s truck full of sand and gravel at lunchtime in the City of London attracts rather a lot of attention.

Dell Latitude XT2 XFR

As assorted bankers look on mystified at the (not entirely scientific) experiment, it’s certainly a much more enjoyable way to test hardware.

But this is no ordinary laptop.The Dell Latitude XT2 XFR is part of the XFR rugged range – instantly standing out as a perfect partner when visiting factory floors, working in dust-filled workshops, and for trips out to construction sites on wet November afternoons.

The XT2 XFR earns its rugged credentials through a rubberised shell, water seals and locking dust caps over external ports. This means it can cope with rain, blowing dust and dirt, vibration, extreme temperatures, and more than a few accidental drops – from a height of three feet according to the product specifications.

The laptop is fitted with a solid-state drive, which, with no moving components gives an added level of security to what is the Achilles heel of most laptops.

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To avoid overheating, the XT2 XFR features Dell’s QuadCool thermal management system, which helps expel hot air without letting dust and moisture in.

The 12.1” WXGA screen is clear and bright and features an anti-glare coating optimised for outdoor use. It also has the capability to twist around which transforms the laptop into a heavyweight tablet PC.

It’s here that the touch screen capabilities are particularly useful, and it’s easy to operate with the supplied stylus, or multi-finger gesturing.

With all the security it offers, the XT2 XFR does come at a cost. It weighs in at 2.45kg – compared to the 1.72kg of the unarmoured Latitude X2 that it’s based on – and it’s also not the most powerful machine out there.

The fairly ordinary specification of an Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600 (1.6GHz) CPU, 2GB DDR3 memory and Intel Express 45 graphics means that it’s not exactly born to run powerful 3D CAD applications.

Instead the XT2 XFR is better suited to lightweight CAD/CAM applications or for viewing drawings or 3D manuals on the shopfloor, where it scores highly due to its versatility and durability.

Stephen Holmes