The Latitude XT2 XFR adds to Dell's corporate range and is billed as being the world's first multi-touch compatible rugged tablet. Combining a stunningly hard-wearing design with average performance, it makes a tough and unique, albeit slightly flawed, choice.

The fully rugged chassis is incredibly tough and has been tested to MIL-STD- 810G standards. You can drop it from three feet, use it at altitudes of up to 15,000 feet and work in sub-zero temperatures without any risk of significant damage. All the ports are sealed beneath lockable panels, providing protection against dust and water.

The 12.1-inch screen has been tested to withstand impact, ensuring even this traditionally fragile component is well protected.

Despite its tough build quality, the 2.6kg chassis is surprisingly portable. It is one of the thickest laptops around, but the rubber padding on its edges makes it comfortable to hold.

The 254-minute battery is average, however, and bettered by the Panasonic Toughbook CF-31.

Usability is excellent. The keyboard is spacious and responsive and a pleasure to work with. A rubber, backlit keyboard can be added for £286 (ex. VAT) to improve accessibility and protection. The tiny touchpad is less easy to use, but the Dell compensates with its touchscreen panel.

Multi-touch panel

The multi-touch display lets you easily use your fingers to scroll, rotate and zoom documents. A stylus is also included, letting you write on the screen to take notes. While the capacitive screen cannot be used with gloves on, a resistive option will be available soon to allow such use.

Dell latitude xt2 xfr

Image quality and visibility are excellent. The matt finish prevents reflections and it is an extremely bright screen, so is easy to view in direct sunlight. Colour, contrast and sharpness are equally strong, producing a detailed and vibrant picture.

Where this machine falls short of its rivals is performance. Rather than a cutting-edge Intel Core processor, it uses last-generation Core 2 Duo technology. There is ample power for running office applications, but consider your needs if you need maximum power in the field.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 254 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 175
3D Mark 2003: 2050

Storage also falls short with just 128GB of space, so bear this in mind if you have many large files to carry with you. The Solid State Drive is more stable than the mechanical disks of its rivals, however, so you may consider the improved resilience it provides to be a worthwhile compensation.

While there's no denying the quality and build of the Latitude XT2 XFR, its limited specification, power and battery life lag a little too far behind the competition. It's a fantastic fully rugged laptop though and well worth considering.

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