jump to example.com

Laptops are becoming as common as hammers and screwdrivers on the job site – for ordering materials, keeping in touch with home base, and a million other things. But dust, rain, and shock – all part of a day’s work – can bring a laptop to a screeching halt. With this in mind, Getac designed the A790, a hardcore computer for hardcore environments.

Getac designed this rugged beast to military specs, with a rubberized keyboard to keep sand and rain out, and a tough magnesium frame enclosing an extensively shock mounted motherboard, LCD screen, and hard drive. Its Intel Core Duo Processor running at 1.66 gigahertz, though it might not get you much respect with the gamers, will get the job done.

Cool features include an integrated GPS antenna plug (with an included antenna) and more expansion bays for extra batteries and media readers than you can shake a stick at. The A790’s PCI expansion unit, perhaps its most interesting feature, allows a whole series of legacy hardware to be controlled via the add-on slots.

Now for the shocker: This model sells for about $6000, so it’s not for the casual browsing session at Starbucks.

A790 [www.getac.com]
Street Price [Google Products]


8 Responses to If John Wayne Had A Laptop…

  1. SuperJdynamite says:

    I assume that the PCI slot is for controlling industrial hardware but if you can forgo that a Panasonic Toughbook might be a viable alternative. It’s also half the price.

  2. Brian D says:

    From all the reviews I seen, this doesn’t sound any tougher then the OLPC computer (the XO) It has a sealed keyboard, withstands 4 ft drops onto concrete, has built in networking and USB. Of course you lose oyut in the manly rugged looks department, but hey we’re all secure in our masculinity, right?


  3. Ryan says:

    Shame its doesn’t run an OS thats as tough as its case.

  4. Andy says:

    I’m a reseller to fedgov and sold ~6 of these (similar model) to the Navy and they are VERY rugged indeed with rubber water tight covers on all the I/O’s, etc. No testing but from what I’ve seen these are a step above the Toughbooks toughest model.

  5. Eric Dykstra says:


    I’m sure it can run Windows 2000 just fine….i kid i kid silly mac kid.

    I agree that it’s a step up from the toughbook series. They are “medium duty” at best.

  6. I’ve had my eye out for a used Getac or Itronix, but I’ve been a Toughbook user for 7 years and I love them to death. They definitely ARE for the casual Starbuck’s session, if you’re not opposed to making a fashion statement with your laptop. You can barely see the logo on mine between all the velcro and stickers, but it’s still unmistakably different from the flock of plastic craptops. I’ve met some interesting people because they just had to come see what that little flat-black brick was.

    I use my Toughbook cf-m34 in the shop constantly. If I get dust or crud in the keyboard, I just wash it. If I need to look at a wiring diagram while I’m working on something, I perch it on the intake manifold. If I can’t find a convenient place to set the machine while at a site, I just unclasp the handle and fasten it around a vertical piece of cable rack.

    The m34 (and it’s predecessor, the cf-17) is a sturdy little bastard. With no optical drive and no floppy drive, and the hard drive encased in foam, it’s pretty much impervious to shock and vibration. I’ve suckerpunched the touchscreen and watched the machine flip across the room, unscathed. It dove from the roof of my car onto the concrete, and took a peppercorn-sized chunk of metal out of the corner. That’s the only damage it’s taken beyond scratched paint.

    My previous Toughbook was a cf-25, which was larger but just as bulletproof. We tested that, by the way. Shot and .22LR bounce right off, small handgun calibers penetrate a few layers and rattle around inside, though anything 9mm or up will go through. One time, I “dropped” the cf-25 down my friend’s basement stairs while it was defragging, just to prove a point. The machine didn’t notice (and the drive had no bad sectors), but Eddi was pissed about the dents I put in his stairs.

    Not all Toughbooks are awesome, however. The cf-72, for instance, was a waste of money. It’s beefier than most machines, and the handle is always a nice amenity, but the touchscreen cracked *as I dropped the machine into a laptop bag*, and the power jack is poorly placed and inadequately reinforced. Luckily replacements are readily available and installation is within reach of the hobbyist with a 30-watt iron.

    I’ve got my eye on a used cf-18 or 19 next… or maybe an xPlore tablet.

    By the way, if you get a kick out of rugged hardware, you should read Pen Computing magazine. They love to put this stuff through its paces. There’s a video on their site of the editor in chief donning a SCUBA suit and taking a “waterproof” PDA down with him…

  7. RJ says:

    BTW it’s Chuck Norris now not John Wayne 🙂

  8. Just found this thread while doing some other browsing and figured I’d post an update. I’m typing this from an Itronix IX260+, which I picked up to replace my Toughbook CF-M34, which was just too underpowered to do most of what I want to do on a day-to-day basis. I still use the Toughbook as a navigation machine and for field work, it’s an awesome little serial console and the size and weight can’t be beat.

    On the whole, I find Itronix’s driver support to be better, but I’ve had no luck finding service manuals or schematics, so the modding has been a bit difficult. Having used rugged laptops for most of the last decade, though, I sure wouldn’t want to go back to delicate machines. Tools should be tough!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.