Going Ballistic with New Fully Rugged Laptop


Just before Valentine’s Day, my colleague wrote about a recent study that Dell conducted around laptop security in conjunction with the Ponemon Institute. We asked a few questions specifically targeted at data corruption from drops, spills and frustration from employees over technical issues – basically some of the challenges customers face with data security. Here is what we found:

  • 34 percent of those surveyed say that spilling foods or liquids on a laptop is most common cause of damage;

  • 28 percent say that employees accidentally dropping systems was the leading cause of damage;

  • 25 percent say that not protecting the laptop while traveling was the top cause; and

  • 13 percent said that employee-inflicted damage because of anger or frustration was the leading cause of laptop damage.

Latitude E6400 XFR (front view) Today we’re helping to buck the trend of damaged laptops with the introduction of the Latitude E6400 XFR – our next generation fully rugged platform. It is engineered to meet the needs of even the most demanding customers in the harshest environments such as the military, first responders, field service technicians and those who require systems that meet 13 military specifications (MIL STD 810F), including  drop tests, sea fog, temperature extremes, thermal shock and explosive environments, to name just a few.

Note: Click the images in the post to see larger versions of them. If you want to see more, click here to see the Latitude XFR E6400 photo set on Dell’s Flickr page.

What’s really cool about this laptop is that we’re using something we call the Ballistic Armor Protection System. It features a Dell-exclusive material called PR481 which is used in military applications, cryogenics, aircraft, etc.  Other features of PR481:

  • Twice the impact strength of magnesium alloy;

  • 25 percent higher drop specification than any computer in its class – up to four feet with system powered down and closed and up to a three foot drop test with the unit operating and LCD open; and

  • Structural stability at extreme temperatures.


Another feature of our Ballistic Armor protection is a technology called PrimoSeal Technology that enhances protection Latitude E6400 XFR (back view)from dust and liquid with compression gaskets that deliver a higher level of ingress protection, or shielding from dust and moisture, than any system in its class with an IP-65 rating.

The fully rugged laptop shares common images and components with the Dell Latitude E6400 laptops for easy integration into existing environments and enables low ownership costs. The Latitude E6400 XFR also includes:

  • QuadCool Thermal Management System allows the XFR to meet the MIL-STD 810F for temperature extremes and enables excellent performance;

  • A  discrete NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M 256MB DDR2 graphics card for much improved performance on graphics-intensive applications;

  • Extended field use batteries equipped with ExpressCharge enables faster battery re-charge times;

  • At 2.2 inches thick and starting at 8.5 pounds, the Latitude E6400 XFR is 15 percent thinner and up to 5 percent lighter than the previous generation XFR;

  • Field-ready options include an in-vehicle docking solution, 12-cell rugged battery slice, E-family docking and legacy I/O adapter;

  • Large 14.1-inch wide display including DirectVue Technology – customers can work in direct sunlight on a screen that features impact resistance; and,

  • Optional Dell ProSupport service offerings.


This is a really cool product and we’re taking a completely different approach to rugged laptops. Customers have had to make the tradeoff between performance and the ruggedness of their system with lower-voltage processors and/or a generation or two old technology with no discreet graphics option. With the Latitude E6400 XFR, we are enabling customers to use the latest technology through our QuadCool technology I listed above.


We hope you like what you see. For a video overview of the Latitude XFR E6400, take a look at this vlog:


And here’s one more…

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  • Zerias

    Couple it with an AMD processors and a KDE based Linux distribution and you'll have me interested in it. The Intel chipset is an almost show stopper for me. I've had personal experience with several different laptops from the likes of Dell, HP, Gateway, Sager Notebooks, Asus, Acer, Clevo, Emperor Linux ruggedized, and even a couple of Voodoo's, and all of the Intel based systems have had hardware issues. On the other hand, an HP N5470 which has more cracks than the San Andreas fault and has gone through 2 LCD panel refurbs still boots up and runs just as well as it did new. My personal laptop now is Asus's F3Ka, which has seen it's share of abuse (survived two trips through Atlanta / Hartsfield airport AND LAX and I really need to get the screen repaired after what TSA did to it last time). 

    The Emporer Linux systems I mentioned were recommended for a HVAC client to use in the field. While the chassis held up, the actual components only lasted for maybe 18 months before Memtest started failing no matter what type of memory I used (just one specific problem I remember off the top of my head). 

    Maybe I keep getting the short end of the stick on Intel platforms, but when it comes to a work enviroment? I wouldn't trust an Intel based system at all.

  • MoneyGuyBK

    Thanx Patrick…… this looks nice…… I wonder if it's tougher than I am Stick out tongue