Rugged tech­nol­ogy can save the day if you’re brav­ing the el­e­ments.

There’s noth­ing worse than los­ing your data be­cause your equip­ment can’t with­stand the el­e­ments

National Post (Latest Edition) - Financial Post Magazine - - COLUMNS&DEPARTMENTS -

Canada has some ex­treme weather no mat­ter where you live: snow in July in Cal­gary, flash flood­ing in Toronto, bit­ter cold just about any­where, any time. It’s enough to make the hardi­est Cana­dian crack, but at least your tech­nol­ogy doesn’t have to if you have the right gear. From smart­phones to flash drives, there are plenty of op­tions when it comes to rugged tech­nol­ogy that can be used in some of the worst con­di­tions, or save the day if you’re just a lit­tle ac­ci­dent prone.

SMART­PHONES: Maybe ev­ery­one should have a rugged smart­phone since they get dropped a lot. But Sonim Tech­nolo­gies Inc.’s

XP5 is de­signed for use in sec­tors such as con­struc­tion, trans­porta­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity. It can with­stand a drop on to con­crete from a height of more than two me­tres, is fully wa­ter/dust­proof and has a large push-to-talk but­ton so users can wear gloves. Bell sells the XP5 for $199 on a two-year deal. Telus, mean­while, of­fers the Sam­sung Gal­axy Rugby LTE smart­phone for free on a twoyear deal (Bell and SaskTel also sell it). It’s also wa­ter/dust-proof and can be sub­merged in wa­ter for up to 30 min­utes.

STOR­AGE: A solid stor­age de­vice is a good idea if you plan to be out­doors. La­Cie Canada’s Rugged Thun­der­bolt is shock, dust and wa­ter re­sis­tant and de­signed to sur­vive a two-me­tre fall. It also has

AES 256-bit en­cryp­tion so the data is safe in case some­one takes it. Another op­tion is the ioSafe Rugged Por­ta­ble SSD hard drive, which the com­pany claims is “like an air­craft black box for mo­bile data”). It has crush pro­tec­tion of up to 2,500 pounds, can with­stand a 20-foot drop and can spend three days in fresh wa­ter at a depth of 10 feet.

USBS: There are plenty of op­tions here: La­Cie’s XtremKey USB 3.0 is wa­ter­proof up to 200 me­tres, can be dropped from a height of 10 me­tres and sur­vive 10 tons of pres­sure; Cor­sair’s Flash Sur­vivor Stealth is also wa­ter­proof up to 200 me­tres; and Fis­cher Con­nec­tors SA’s Rugged Flash Drive can be sub­merged in 120 me­tres of wa­ter for 24 hours and op­er­ate be­tween -40 C to 85 C.

LAP­TOPS: Pana­sonic has been build­ing rugged note­books for 15 years and its Tough­book lineup fea­tures a spill-re­sis­tant LCD mon­i­tor and touch­pad, sealed key­board, dust-re­sis­tant hinges and a hard disk drive pro­tected by flex con­nec­tors and gel pack­ag­ing to im­prove vi­bra­tion and shock re­sis­tance — you get the pic­ture. One of its latest note­books is the Tough­book 31, which has an op­tional touch­screen ver­sion. Ei­ther ver­sion has a 500-GB hard drive, In­tel Core i5-5300U vPro pro­ces­sor and a 13.1-inch screen. An al­ter­na­tive is Ge­tac Inc.’s line of rugged note­books, in­clud­ing its best-selling B300, an ul­tra-rugged notebook, which has a fan­less, sealed de­sign to pro­tect against dust and liq­uid and can be booted up in -29 C weather. It has ei­ther an In­tel i5 or i7 pro­ces­sor and a 13.3-inch screen.

TABLETS: Pana­sonic and Ge­tac also make a range of rugged tablets, as does Xplore Tech­nolo­gies Corp., which of­fers three prod­ucts that run Win­dows (XC6, Bobcat and XSlate B10) and one for An­droid (RangerX Pro). The XC6 DMSR is an ul­tra-rugged, sun­light-read­able tablet made for in­dus­trial and out­door use. It has an In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor, 10.4-inch dis­play and is wa­ter/dust-proof.

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