Dell's latest Rugged laptops are built to survive the elements with plenty of power

Whether you're on an oil rig, at a construction zone, or anything in between, chances are a typical laptop isn't going to stand up to the elements and abuse you encounter out in the field. That's where ruggedized PCs come in, ready to stand up to drops, extreme temperatures, and rain. And with the latest entries in its Latitude Rugged line, Dell hopes to corner that market with a set of beefy laptops equipped to stay reliable no matter the conditions.

The updated lineup now includes the Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme, along with the Latitude 5424 and 5420. Each has varying hardware options available, but they all share one thing in common: a sturdy and secure design.

Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme

Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme

The Lattitude 7424 Rugged Extreme leads the pack with Intel's 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Core processors, up to 4TB of SSD storage, and up to 32GB of RAM. The 14-inch anti-glare display comes in at a 1080p resolution with and touch panel that works with gloves and remains bright enough to be legible in direct sunlight. Powering the graphics are Intel's integrated solutions, along with optional AMD Radeon 540 and RX540 chips.

Along with the standard array of supported Wi-Fi connectivity, the 7424 Rugged Extreme can also be outfitted with a Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to stay connected out in the field. That's backed up by a 51 Whr primary battery and an optional second battery with support for hot-swapping.

As for the "Rugged Extreme" label, that's no exaggeration. The laptop is able to operate in temperatures ranging from 20 degrees below zero up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Dell says that this model also meets MIL-STD-810G testing, which covers drops from up to six feet, and in extreme elements ranging from blowing rain, dust and sand to explosive atmospheres, solar radiation, and even salt fog.

Rounding things out is a Windows Hello IR camera, a fingerprint reader, and a bevy of other security features to keep sensitive data safe and encrypted. The veritable cornucopia of ports covers everything from USB Type-C to an RS-232 serial port, Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, Display Port, Fischer USB, and even pogo-pin connectors for docking.

The Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme will be available from Dell starting at $3,500. It replaces the current 7414 model, which starts at $3,400.

Latitude 5424 and 5420 Rugged

Sitting beneath the 7424 Rugged Extreme are the 5424 Rugged and its thinner, lighter sibling, the 5420, which is a new addition to the line. On the top end, the 5424 and 5420 Rugged are virtually identical to the 7424 Rugged Extreme in terms of hardware, but come with a lower tolerance for drops (up to three feet) and weigh a bit less (5.5 pounds and 4.9 pounds versus 7.6 pounds).

The 5424 and 5420 can also operate at similar thermal extremes and can handle blowing dust, vibration, functional shock, humidity, and can work at high altitudes. There's a lack of protection from driving rain here, but Dell says the 5424 can stand up to dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees.

Otherwise, you'll find the same selection of 8th Gen, 7th Gen, and 6th Gen Intel Core processors here, along with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 4TB of SSD storage on the 5424 or 2TB of storage on the 5420. Like the 7424 Rugged Extreme, there's also an optional optical drive available on the 5424. A Windows Hello IR camera, fingerprint sensor, and other security options. Once again, LTE connectivity is available here as well.

The Dell Latitude 5424 and 5420 will be available from Dell starting at $1,500 and $1,400, respectively.

See at Dell

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl