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Getac B360 Pro review

Getac delivers a true all-weather laptop

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop
(Image: © Mark Pickavance)

TechRadar Verdict

The Getac B360 Pro was built to take the highest level of abuse and remain reliable. But being this tough and flexible does have a few drawbacks in useability and portability.

Pros

  • +

    Super-tough

  • +

    Dual batteries

  • +

    Very bright display

  • +

    Lots of optional features

Cons

  • -

    Heavy

  • -

    Waterproofing makes ports less accessible

  • -

    SATA M.2 on 2nd slot

Before talking about this product, we have a small admission to make.

Regular visitors to the site might have seen a previous review of the Getac B360 that had many similarities to the one covered below.

It turns out that due to an administrative error, we received the wrong hardware, i.e. a B360 Pro and not a B360 as we’d previously believed.
Accordingly, we’ve changed the review to reflect the minor differences between these machines.

According to its website, Getac was formed in 1989 as a joint venture with GE Aerospace to supply defence electronics. It has since focused on creating laptops and tablets suitable for, as it puts it, demanding professionals in extreme environments.

The B360 Pro is a new design built to handle the most demanding conditions, like those experienced in the military and other services, while delivering a modern computing experience.

There is plenty unique about the B360 Pro, but is it worth the substantial price tag?

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Price and availability

As with most system builders, Getac offers a selection of processor, memory and storage options on the B360 Pro along with an extensive range of accessories.

Our review hardware used the very bottom rung Core i5-10210U processor, has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, and costs start at around £3222 ($4357.85) exclusive of tax, for one with this specification.

For those that want a Core-7 processor and some of the optional features along with a docking station, charger and extra batteries could easily spend double this amount, and more.

Getac sells all its equipment through a global reseller network, so interested parties should start with the Getac website (opens in new tab) to be directed to one of these in their region.

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
Spec sheet

Here is the Getac B360 Pro configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U 1.6GHz Max. 4.2GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 6MB Intel Smart Cache
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 10th Gen Mobile
RAM: 8GB DDR4 (expandable to 64GB)
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touch panel (1400 nits LumiBond display)
Storage: 256GB LITEON CA5-8D256
Ports: 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1x USB 2.0 PowerShare, 1x LAN RJ45 1GbE, 1x HDMI, 1x SD Card Reader, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x Docking Connector, Optional 2x Serial port + 1x External VGA, Optional 2x Serial Port + 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, Optional 2x Serial port + 1x Display Port
Connectivity: 10/100/1000 base-T Ethernet, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200, 802.11ax, Bluetooth v5.1, Optional Dedicated GPS, Optional 4G LTE mobile broadband with integrated GPS
Camera: FHD webcam, Optional Windows Hello face-authentication camera (front-facing).
Battery: 2x High Capacity 6900mAh (minimum 6600mAh)
Weight: 6.79 pounds (3.08 kg)
Size: 342 x 281 x 53.5 mm (13.46" x 11.06" x 2.11") W x D x H

Design

Some rugged designs trying and hide their nature with sleek lines and elegant flourishes, but the Getac B360 Pro isn’t coy about its inner toughness.

Visible bolt heads and metallic pressed panels cover the exterior selling the idea that whatever is inside this computer is effectively protected from external invasion.

We’ll talk about the ratings of this unit against water, dust and clumsy user late, but the downside of making a computer this substantial is that it puts on the pounds.

More than six of those pounds to be exact, or 3.08 kg to be precise. The designers realised that carrying such a substantial and angular device would be difficult and therefore added a big carry-handle that makes lugging it around less problematic.

But in a service context, this machine might well be connected to a backpack frame or a vehicle-mounted docking station.

The lid latches shut, avoiding unexpected openings, and when opened, it becomes apparent just how thick Getac made the B360 Pro. It’s 53.5mm in deep, raising the wrist rest area significantly above where it would typically be on a laptop.

The extra height might not be a problem for some, but others might have to adapt to a modified typing posture to cope with vertical displacement, and how it impacts on the ergonomics of prolonged typing.

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

But the big difference between the B360 and a conventional laptop design is that a water-resistant cover protects every external port on this system. There are no less than ten of these doors, providing something of an advent calendar feel to the experience.

While all the doors have logos on them, users won’t recognise all of them, and therefore will need to open all of them to fully appreciate the numerous options hidden inside.

We’re confident that these doors do an excellent job of stopping water and dust entering the system, but they are also likely to annoy some users intensely.

Firstly, they all have an arrow that indicates the direction they need to be pushed to open. But then open at the opposite end to the arrow, confusingly. And, these can be difficult to slide and reposition to lock again, resulting in chipped fingernails, in our case.

How awkward these are to use could easily have a detrimental impact on them getting closed undermining their purpose, regrettably. We sympathise with the Getac designers because making the ports protected from water and easily accessible appears to be a near-impossible challenge.

Port placement is also not a strong point, since not a single USB port is on any of the side compartments, the few on offer are all at the back. And, not including is any inherent USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, sadly.

The underside has docking connections for a Getac made docking station and catches to release the two battery packs. It is possible to hot-swap batteries while the system is operational, and in the accessory range are external chargers, including one that can cope with eight batteries at once.

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Screen and stylus

Included with the B360 Pro is an 11cm long stylus for operating the multipoint touch-sensitive display, and we preferred using that over the slightly ponderous touchpad.

The stylus is a basic design with no pressure sensitivity, and it has a receptacle hole on the left side to go when not in use.

Getac’s choice of display demonstrates its understanding of the conditions where this machine is likely to be deployed, and the challenges of working outdoors in all weathers.

It is a 13.3-inch IPS TFT with a workable resolution of 1920 x 1080, but it is a 1400 nits LumiBond display designed to be readable even in direct sunlight.

Indoors it looks incredibly bright, but outside works admirably.

The downside of having so bright a display is that it can often look undersaturated and lacking contrast. Still, those are sacrifices that deliver readability across the broadest range of lighting conditions.

And, like the rest of the B360 Pro, getting rain on this display won’t damage it, according to Getac.

Getac B360 Pro rugged laptop

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Options

We’ve already covered that a Docking station and battery chargers are available, but Getac also has a vehicle adapter kit and a backpack for this model.

But the most exciting options for this system are those that Getac will add at the point of sale revealing how modular this laptop design is.

An expansion slot on the right side was occupied with SD Card and Smart Card readers on the review machine, but this can module be swapped with a 1D/2D imager barcode reader.

There is also an option for a SIM card slot and LTE communications, adding more USB ports (yes, USB-C), a dedicated GPS, an HF RFID reader, DisplayPort output and the camera can be upgraded to one that is Windows Hello face-authenticating.

And, if you need more USB, VGA output or dual Ethernet, then either the vehicle dock or office dock add these.

But where this machine is dramatically better than the base B360 model is that it has an expansion slot that can take an optional PCMCIA Type II or Express Card/54, enabling the onboard graphics to be enhanced with an Nvidia GeForce GTX1050 discrete GPU.

Storage can easily be upgraded via M.2 2280 slots accessible under a port cover on the left, although the second M.2 is only SATA and not NVMe sadly. That makes upgrading the existing storage more complicated that it should have been.

The memory can also be boosted as there are three unused SODIMM slots under a removable panel on the underside

Overall, except for the second M.2 SATA limitation, the B360 Pro is a remarkably flexible and extensible laptop that should fit many demanding roles.

Mark is an expert on displays, reviewing monitors and TVs. He also covers storage including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and had contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World among others.