While this laptop isn't compact or lightweight, its durable design and fast processor are enough to power through work in tough conditions.
Phenomenal battery life
Very bright display
Repairable and upgradeable
The touchpad is not the most responsive
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Dell's Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme laptop is a portable workhorse designed to withstand the harshest working environments.
Its impressive range of features includes an integrated handle for easy carrying, hot-swappable batteries for extended use without a charger, and security protections to prevent unauthorized access.
The Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme might not be the perfect fit for everyone, but for those on the hunt for a rugged laptop, it is an option that should be considered.
While most laptops are getting thinner and more minimalist in design, with fewer ports included, the Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme Laptop takes the opposite approach. It has an array of ports, each sealed behind a watertight lock and a chunky shell designed to withstand the toughest conditions.
A baseline model of this laptop with Windows 10 Pro comes out to just under $3,700 (£3638.76). A fully featured version with every upgradable option through Dell's website tops out at $7,860.03 (£7218.26).
Design and build quality
Weight: 5.11 lbs (2.3 kg)
Screen size: 13.3 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1280
Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 (2.4 GHz) / i5 vPro (2.6 GHz) / i7 (3.0 GHz)
RAM: 8 - 32 GB DDR4
Storage: 256 GB - 2 TB SSD
Graphics: Iris Xe Graphics
Ports: 3 USB-A, 1 Headphone Jack, 2 Thunderbolt 4, 1 HDMI Port, 1 VGA Port, 1 RJ45 Ethernet Port, 1 MicroSD Card reader, Express Card reader, Smart Card Reader, SIM Card reader
Connectivity: Wifi 6E, 4G LTE, 5G, Bluetooth, GPS
Every corner of this durable laptop has an additional rubber bumper to help with drop protection and save the device from scratches on uneven surfaces. We found this incredibly useful as we never had to worry about the surfaces we put this device on.
Dell states that this device has an IP65 rating, can withstand drops from 6 ft (1.8 meters), and can survive temperatures ranging from -20°F to 145°F (-29°C to 63°C). We never brought this laptop to those extremes, but knowing it can withstand extreme temperatures makes us confident in this laptop's abilities in extreme outdoor jobs.
The underside of this laptop exposes a handful of screws that allow the computer to open for repairs or upgrades. Also on the back are two hot-swappable batteries and an easy-to-access hatch housing the M.2 SSD bay.
All ports on this laptop are sealed behind locking doors as part of the IP65 rating. Each bay of ports has a toggle switch to unlock and open the sealed door.
We loved bringing this laptop wherever our day took us while testing, knowing we had no need to fear scratches or drops. Aesthetically, this laptop is not at all minimalist, and for this kind of laptop, we honestly love it. The bulky finishes help remind us that this laptop can handle a day outside the office.
We were thrilled to see how quickly this laptop booted up for the first time. Setup was a breeze all together, taking us a matter of minutes to get through setting up profiles, accounts and security parameters. We could tell even throughout setup that the processor under the hood was quick and responsive, and that regardless of how bulky this laptop was in physical design, the operating speeds were quick and snappy.
The keyboard keys are evenly spaced and comfortable to type on, with a backlight to help with visibility. The function keys at the top of the keyboard also include helpful shortcuts to control the brightness of the screen, volume level, mic mute, backlight settings, and more. The trackpad, however, was slightly disappointing as it’s relatively small and did not feel responsive; the detection was inconsistent, causing the cursor to jump across the screen
We enjoyed the screen, which on this model is ten-point touch-enabled and has a built-in stylus that helps make precision selections. Additionally, this screen can be interacted with while wearing gloves, making it possible to keep working in multiple scenarios. Also worth mentioning is the screen's brightness; we've seen some laptops with a max brightness of 200 nits, but the Dell Latitude 7330 RuggedExtreme is rated at 1400 nits of brightness. The nit level matched with the semi-gloss screen makes it possible to see what is on the screen while working outdoors, in direct sunlight.
Our test model has a 512 GB SSD, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an Intel Core i7 processor, but Dell offers a remarkable level of customization across the processor, storage, graphics, ports, webcam and security measures.
For use in the field, quick and secure access is a must. The fastest way to unlock this device would be to utilize Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric authentication service and. More options include typing in a passcode or utilizing the optional SmartCard reader. With the SmartCard reader, there are both contactless and contact options available.
Meanwhile, the optional TPM (Trusted Platform Module) allows this laptop to encrypt data internally, assisting in processes such as sending and receiving secure emails, creating secure networks and encrypting files. With the most recent update of Windows OS, all devices running Windows 11 now need TPM 2.0 for features such as Windows Hello and BitLocker.
Running benchmark tests on this laptop shows it can handle a load of tasks, while still maintaining excellent battery life. The GeekBench5 CPU test shows the Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme coming in with 1435 single-core and 4964 multi-core scores. These test results indicate that this rugged laptop can power through projects with speed and accuracy, across software like AutoCAD, Solidworks and Adobe Illustrator.
The Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme was intentionally designed for a specific group of people who need rugged power they can rely on.
It has more computing power than your average laptop and can withstand harsh work sites. The incredibly bright screen, for example, makes it easy to use in direct sunlight and the durable design, integrated handle, reinforced corners, and covered ports make it usable without concern in any environment.
Although the trackpad is average at best, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, and we were impressed with handy additional features like biometric authentication
Overall, this computer hits the mark for those who genuinely need a rugged computing device. We won't be taking it to the office anytime soon, but we would take it to a construction site or garage without thinking twice.
- Looking for a mobile device to pair with your rugged laptop? Check out our best rugged smartphones
Collin is the B2B Hardware Editor for TechRadar Pro. He has been in journalism for years, with experience in small and large markets, including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet, and more.
Collin is an experienced individual who has an abundance of knowledge when it comes to all things professional hardware. He is the go-to subject matter expert for TechRadar Pro and focuses on standing desks, office chairs, business laptops, "pro" monitors, and other similar topics. With his in-depth understanding of these areas, Collin can provide invaluable insights and advice to readers looking to make informed decisions about their hardware investments.