The Durabook S15 is a rugged laptop designed for professionals needing a computer that will work in environments that aren't always ideal for normally delicate computing equipment, and it can do this without compromising on performance. Its robust construction, complying with MIL-STD-810H standards, ensures reliability in challenging environments, while the high-performance Intel Core processor offers decent computing power. The large 15.6" FHD DynaVue sunlight-readable display enables easy outdoor screen visibility. Unlike other rugged laptops, the Durabook keeps things lightweight and relatively slimline, making it highly portable, especially with the carry handle. Overall, the S15 is a versatile, durable, and powerful enough computing solution for field and industrial professionals.
Bright display for outdoor use
Limited processing power
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Durabook S15: 30-second review
CPU: Intel Core i5 (12th Gen)
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe; Optional NVIDIA Quadro T1000
RAM: 32GB - Up to 64GB (4800 MHz DDR5)
Storage: 500GB (256GB-2TB NVMe PCIe SSD; Optional 2nd/3rd storage)
Rear Ports: Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 (Type A/C), HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, Serial, Nano-SIM, DC-In
Front Ports: Audio in/out, microSD card
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth V5.3; Optional GPS, 4G/5G
Audio: Integrated microphone, High Definition Audio, Speakers
Camera: Optional 2.0/5.0 MP; IR for Windows Hello
Size: 375mm x 273mm x 29.5mm; Weight: 2.6kg
OS installed: Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
Accessories: Various, including SSDs, Docking Stations, Adapters
The Durabook S15 strikes a fine balance between rugged durability and a sleek, slimline design. Its build quality is reassuring and reinforces its capability to withstand challenging conditions; it's also a reflection of its rugged aesthetics.
WIth plenty of experience testing the best rugged laptops, one aspect that really stands out is how this model is impressively adaptable, offering customisation options, including CPU and GPU variations at the time of purchase. Our test of the base model, equipped with an Intel i5 CPU and Intel Iris XE GPU, demonstrated sufficient flexibility with ample RAM, 32GB, and storage expansion options. Despite not being waterproof, its IP5X rating highlights its resilience in tough environments.
In use, the S15 effortlessly handles office tasks and internet browsing, with Windows operating smoothly across various applications. However, its base GPU does show limitations when pushed with graphically intensive tasks, a gap filled by the optional NVIDIA Quadro T1000 variant for those needing extra power. Durability tests, including repeated drop tests, underscore its robustness, easily surviving falls from typical working heights.
In essence, the Durabook S15 very much feels like that link between the refined style of the best business laptops we've tried and the durability of full-on rugged models. While it may struggle with high-end gaming or demanding CAD applications, its core strength lies in its tough build and operational flexibility. Durabook offers enhanced versions if you are looking for additional power, which makes the S15 a versatile choice for professionals who require a durable yet capable laptop.
Durabook S15: Price & availability
The Durabook S15 Semi-Rugged Laptop is available online from both the official Durabook site and elsewhere. Expect prices of around $2000 / £1800 plus.
- Score: 4/5
Durabook S15: Design & build
The Durabook S15's design is instantly recognisable as rugged, with the style highlighting the durable nature of the machine and how it is tailored to demanding field environments. Its exterior is notably tough, featuring a large, easy-to-use lever lock on the lid that ensures the laptop remains closed even when dropped, and it's designed in such a way that it's unlikely to be accidentally released.
The laptop's build quality is reflected in design elements such as the toughened corners and overall sturdy construction. It is designed to withstand a significantly higher degree of physical stress compared to standard laptops, including resistance to knocks, scratches, and bashes, of which it sustained quite a few through the test.
This durability is not just superficial; the attention to detail extends to the protection of vital components. All ports on the S15 are safeguarded by strong plastic doors, ensuring they remain free from dust and damage. This includes the expansion slot, which is versatile enough to accommodate traditional optical drives or a range of other drive types, such as NVMe SSDs. The laptop even supports RAID array configurations, demonstrating Durabook's commitment to providing flexible and practical solutions for field use.
One user-friendly feature is the inclusion of a convenient carry handle, making the laptop extremely easy to transport. This may seem like a minor addition, but for professionals working in field conditions, such convenience is invaluable. Overall, the Durabook S15's design and build quality clearly reflect a deep understanding of the challenging environments it is intended for, offering a highly functional and robust computer for on-site professionals.
- Design: 4.5/5
Durabook S15: Features
The Durabook S15 is a decent blend of rugged durability and computing power, designed to meet the needs of professionals in demanding field environments. One of the standout features of the S15 is its incredibly thin and light profile, which is unusual for a rugged laptop. Despite weighing just 2.6kg and being only 29.5mm thin, it does not compromise on strength. It can endure a 4-foot drop and is both IP5X and MIL-STD-810H certified, ensuring reliability in challenging field conditions.
When using laptops outside, being able to see the screen clearly is essential, and here, the S15 features a 15.6-inch Full HD DynaVue sunlight-readable display, offering up to 1,000 nits brightness, making it perfect for outdoor use. Inside powering the graphics is Intel Iris Xe graphics, offering the average graphics processing speed that's required for standard Windows operation. For professionals needing more graphics power, such as in rendering or CAD applications, there's an option to upgrade to the NVIDIA Quadro T1000 at the time of purchase.
Mobility is a key aspect of the S15's design, with options for 4G LTE or 5G cellular connections, along with Bluetooth V5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E. For remote workers, the optional built-in GPS is a great addition, providing accurate location tracking. The laptop also features a long-life battery, capable of operating up to 12 hours of standard use, and the option of a bridge battery for swapping in the field, which is crucial for many industries.
Beyond just being a laptop, the S15 can transform into a mobile workstation. It can be equipped with up to three storage drives, supporting RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations. The flexibility extends to its media bay, which can be converted into an ExpressCard 54 slot, broadening its use.
The connectivity and security features of the S15 include an array of ports, including Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Type-A/-C, HDMI, and VGA, ensuring easy connection in any work setting. Security is paramount, with multi-factor authentication options like Windows Hello webcam, RFID/NFC, smartcard, and fingerprint readers safeguarding sensitive data.
The ergonomic design of the S15 includes a 98-key membrane keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad and optional LED backlight. Finally, the S15 offers expandability, and it can be configured with a dedicated graphics card for specialised tasks like graphics rendering and CAD programs and configured with additional connectivity options like a 2nd RJ-45 and a 2nd RS-232 port, making it an adaptable tool in an evolving mobile work environment. These are all added at the time of purchase and are not additions to the laptop you can make later.
- Features: 4/5
Durabook S15: Performance
Crystal Disk Read: 3647.40MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 2200.13MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 3970
GeekBench CPU Multi: 1871
GeekBench Compute: 8727
PC Mark: 4314
CineBench CPU Multi: 4147
CineBench CPU Single: 1374
Fire Strike Overall: 2581
Fire Strike Graphics: 3053
Fire Strike Physics: 9825
Fire Strike Combined: 791
Time Spy Overall: 929
Time Spy Graphics: 830
Time Spy CPU: 2895
Wild Life: 5757
Windows Experience: 8.1
The Durabook S15 delivers a robust performance across various benchmarks, indicative of its capabilities in handling a range of tasks from basic to moderately demanding applications.
In terms of storage performance, the Crystal Disk scores are quite impressive. The read speed of 3647.40MB/s and write speed of 2200.13MB/s suggest that the S15 is more than capable of handling large files and data-intensive operations swiftly, making it suitable for applications that require quick data access and processing.
The Geekbench scores offer a glimpse into the CPU's capability. A single-core score of 3970 and a multi-core score of 1871 demonstrate that while the S15 is competent in handling everyday tasks efficiently, it might face some limitations in heavily multi-threaded applications. The computed score of 8727 further underscores its adequacy for general computing tasks.
In the CineBench tests, which are more focused on the CPU's rendering capabilities, the S15 scores 4147 in multi-core and 1374 in single-core tests. These scores reflect its ability to manage moderately demanding rendering tasks, although it may not be the top choice for highly complex rendering work.
The graphics performance, as indicated by the Fire Strike and Time Spy benchmarks, shows a decent capability with overall scores of 2581 and 929, respectively. The laptop seems to handle standard graphical tasks well, but it might not be optimal for high-end gaming or advanced 3D rendering. The Wild Life score of 5757 further reinforces this perspective.
Lastly, the Windows Experience score of 8.1 is a good indicator of the laptop's overall capability to provide a smooth user experience for most typical applications and tasks.
The Durabook S15 appears to be a solid performer for everyday professional tasks, including data management and basic graphical applications. It offers quick storage speeds and decent CPU and GPU performance, making it a reliable choice for professionals who require a rugged laptop with balanced performance features. However, for highly demanding graphical or rendering tasks, it might be worth considering models with higher-spec CPUs and GPUs.
As well as the standard computing performance test, this is a tough laptop, and as such, the durability of the S15 also needed to be tested. In the product description, Durabook highlights that the laptop is IP5X rated and drop-proof to 4 feet.
In the first test, the laptop was used in a CNC, laser and 3D print workshop, left between the Bambu Labs A1 and the SnapMaker Artisan with CNC tooling. It was left open to the debris created by the two machines. While most laptops will withstand this amount of dust, it can render keys and ports blocked. Here, due to the design of the keyboard, the dust was not an issue, and a quick shake and vacuum quickly returned the machine to an almost new condition. Likewise, the plastic port covers did their job of keeping dust out.
The next test was to see how the laptop would cope with being used in light rain. It's worth noting that this is not a waterproof laptop, so time in the rain was kept to five minutes. Here again, the laptop functioned without issue and continued to work after the product shot without issue.
The final test was the drop test here, measuring four feet off the floor. The laptop was dropped, then dropped again, rotated, dropped, etc. and aside from a nasty crack as it hit the stone and then the wooden floor on countless occasions, it seemed to be absolutely fine.
- Performance: 3.5/5
Should you buy the Durabook S15?
Deciding whether to purchase the Durabook S15 hinges on your specific needs. Its rugged design, MIL-STD-810H and IP5X certifications make it an ideal if you're a field professional working in uncontrolled environments, workshops, warehouses and factories.
The inclusion of a 15.6” Full HD DynaVue display and options for Intel Iris Xe or NVIDIA Quadro T1000 graphics make it versatile for a range of professional tasks. Moreover, its lightweight and slim profile defies the typical rugged laptop stereotype, enhancing portability.
However, the S15 might not be the best fit for those requiring a machine for advanced gaming or intensive multimedia tasks like high-end video editing or 3D rendering nor should it be as that's not it's key market. While it performs well in standard and moderately demanding applications, its capabilities in handling extremely graphics-intensive tasks are limited. Additionally, the investment cost, which starts relatively high, should be considered, especially if your requirements are more aligned with general computing rather than rugged field use.
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|Robust and versatile, a solid investment for field use.
|Durable, slim, and lightweight for a rugged laptop.
|Excellent connectivity, security, and display options.
|Strong for everyday tasks, limited to high-end graphics.
|A great fit for rugged use, balanced in features and performance.
Buy it if...
You're working in the field
If you're a professional working in demanding field conditions or rough environments, the Durabook S15 is an excellent choice. Its rugged design, reliable performance, and durable build make it ideal for handling the rigours of outdoor or industrial work.
You have expansive storage needs
If you require a laptop with versatile storage options, the Durabook S15 is a great choice. It supports up to three storage drives, including options for NVMe PCIe SSDs and traditional SATA SSDs, providing ample space and fast data access.
Don't buy it if...
You need a machine for advanced gaming and graphics
The Durabook S15, while robust and efficient for standard tasks, isn't built for advanced gaming. Its graphics capabilities are limited, making it unsuitable for high-end gaming experiences.
You're creating complex multimedia projects
Professionals in fields requiring intensive multimedia creation, like high-resolution video editing or 3D rendering, might find the S15's performance restrictive. It's designed more for durability than for high-end creative tasks.
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