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
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.