ThinkPads Tested, Passed as Semi-Rugged

Think that Panasonic Toughbooks are the only ones for the military? Think again. Think...Pad.

Lenovo announced that it is designating eight ThinkPad laptops for “use in field and vehicle semi-ruggedized computing environments such as in public safety, utilities, construction and the military.”

Specifically, the ThinkPad X200, X301, X200s, X200 Tablet, T400, T500, R400 and SL300 laptops went through a number of specifications tests -- and passed -- thanks to durability features such as a hard drive protection system, a spill resistant keyboard and a roll cage in select models.

"ThinkPad is well known for quality, reliability and innovative security technologies for business computing," said Tom Ribble, executive director, Worldwide ThinkPad Product Marketing, Lenovo. "The truth is we've always built tough laptops that can weather extreme conditions from hiking the rainforests of the Amazon to flying in space. You don't need a PC that looks like a tank to excel in harsh environments, and unlike many of our competitors, we don't put an extra charge on toughness."

To make the T400 better suitable for outdoor computing, Lenovo is adding a new optional 680-nit high brightness panel to its most popular laptop, the ThinkPad T400. The display also comes with a matte finish, cutting down on reflections within an uncontrollable lighting environment.

Lenovo put its ThinkPads to pass a significant number of specifications for military-grade computing. Such tests include:

Low Pressure – Tests operation at 15,000 feet
Humidity – Cycles 95 percent humidity through the environment
Vibration (operational and non-operational) – Jostles and jolts the laptops to make sure they can withstand shocks
High Temperature – Simulates high heat conditions by baking the laptop up to 140 degrees
Low Temperature – Tests operation at minus 4 degrees
Temperature Shock – Fluctuates between minus 4 and up to 140 degrees to test operation
Dust – Blows dust for an extended amount of time

We've long known that ThinkPads are among the very best in the laptop business for build quality, so it's not surprising to see Lenovo finally reap the 'marketing benefits' of what its engineers have been able to achieve.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Greg_77
    What about the x300?
  • grieve
    One of our customers shipped there t500 to me for fixing with Purolator. Them boys killed it, seriously the Laptop was crushed, one of the corners was imploded and partially missing.

    Lenovo may survive war, but they won’t survive Purolator!
  • Tekkamanraiden
    Mishiza"Low Temperature – Tests operation at minus 4 degrees"WTF, if thats extreme than this crap can't withstand a warm Swedish summer!
    And I thought it was cold over here in Canada.
  • randomizer
    The X200s is amazing. At 12.1" it is less than 1.2kg (2.64lb).
  • skine
    Mishiza"Low Temperature – Tests operation at minus 4 degrees"WTF, if thats extreme than this crap can't withstand a warm Swedish summer!
    I assumed that it meant -4 Fahrenheit, or -20 centigrade.

    Then again, this really isn't all too cold, given that I generally wear a thin sweatshirt until about 5 degrees F.
  • belardo
    In one of the offices I work, all we buy are Think Pads for pro and personal use. ie: I bought my own ThinkPad. And we love them. Not as slick as the new HPs, the the keyboards rock and they are about the ONLY company that makes notbooks WITHOUT THE GLOSSY LCD screens!

    I still say, shoot the marketing moron who said "notebook LCDs should reflect the user's face". They also offer WinXP Pro for free (With Vista business, of course) on all their notebooks.

    The SL500 isn't military grade, but its a slick modernized ThinkPad for about $600~700.
  • Pei-chen
    That's why I replaced my father's 7 year old T23 with a T61.
  • hellwig
    Is there any benefit to a glossy LCD, or is it just cheaper for the manufacturer? Didn't all laptops used to come with matte LCDs, when did they make this change?

    As for -4 degrees, even Fahrenheit thats not too cold. It was -20F (-40F windchill) early January in northern Iowa where my fiancee lives. They had to cancel school for a week so the kids wouldn't get frostbite waiting for the bus. Needless to say, -4 is nothing in Antarctica where a scientist might want one of these.
  • Just feeling sorry SL300 got a glossy screen. The only think I regret. :-(