The Benefits of Rugged Laptops in Educational Environments

Lee Shardlow


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There are many types of laptops in the marketplace. The standard laptop can be fragile and easily broken. Computer manufacturers have recognised this fact and developed various ranges of rugged and semi-rugged laptops to cater for today’s mobile user. These rugged laptops are durable products with life spans of several years. Some manufacturers have even designed the laptops to be a 2-in-1 product, being both a laptop and a tablet.


Rugged laptops undergo rigorous testing such as high temperature, low temperature, rain, humidity, sand and dust immersion, vibration, shock, solar radiation, and others. They can withstand drops, knocks, spillage, dust, and extreme temperatures.


As these types of laptops can withstand the harshest of environments they are generally used by industries and professionals in public safety, field services, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and the military. So what is the relevance of a rugged laptop in today’s education system? How do these devices benefit ordinary children, adolescents, and adults in education?


What Are Student Requirements?

Laptop or Tablet?

The use of tablets and other digital devices in the classroom is high and keeps getting higher. According to a poll done in 2015 by Pearson and Harris Poll, 78% of elementary school children said they regularly use a tablet, 69% of middle schoolers said they used a tablet or laptop and 49% of high schoolers said they used tablets.

In a different survey also conducted by Pearson and Harris Poll, 9 out of  10 college students used a laptop or smartphone, and half used a tablet. Considering the fast pace of technological changes in recent years it would be expected that digital devices are even more prevalent in today’s classrooms.


So the question arises, laptop or tablet?  With a rugged 2-in-1 laptop/tablet you can have both, catering for the  student in any stage of their educational life cycle, be it kindergarten, high school or university.


Operating System


When buying a new computer a student needs to check the operating system requirements to run the software for their course. Most institutions have a preference to Windows based machines as it cuts down software incompatibility and their technical support team can concentrate on one platform. However, some still are fine with MacOs and Linux. Always check this before purchasing your computer.


Weight and Size


When a student is  lugging around their computer in their bag they need it to be lightweight and a practical size. Portability is important! Ideally the laptop should weigh between 1.3 kilograms and 2.3 kilograms and have a screen size between 10 and 13 inches. These sizes are a good fit for students’ bags and are not be too heavy to carry around.


Battery Life


Students require a long battery life for their laptop as often they do not have access to power.  They should be looking at a battery life of at least 4 hours, ideally around 6 hours.


General Needs


Camera – Most laptops have a built in camera which is great for Skype and Facetime sessions. If using video calls regularly make sure your computer has at least 1GB of Ram and a 2MP camera.


Storage – Nowadays data is generally stored in the Cloud so  a hard disk of 50-70GB is generally adequate.


Stylus – The use of a stylus is great for students who have the need to use the tablet function of a 2-in-1 system. Great for games, sketching for the juniors and for technical drawings for the more older student


Internet – Almost all educational software needs access to the internet so it is important to make sure your machine runs 4G/3G, NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.




Why Invest in a Rugged Laptop?


Rugged and semi-rugged laptops like standard laptops, cater for the general requirements of the student, but the important difference these machines have to offer over their standard counterpart is their life span. The average lifespan of an ordinary laptop is 2 years, whereas a rugged laptop lasts 2-3 times that duration.



About one in three laptops fail every year! It is costly to students and educators alike. According to research done by VDC, the average annual failure rates for normal laptops is around 16%, but compared to conventional laptops, the average annual failure rate for a rugged laptop/tablet is 4%! This saves time and money for parents, students, and educators.



The leading cause of laptop and tablet failure is dropping the device. It is very likely that students especially those who are 18 and below are more prone to drop laptops, knock them when putting down their bag, or even spill their drinks on their keyboard.




So why invest in a rugged laptop for a student? The answer is simple. Although a rugged laptop/tablet costs slightly more than a standard computer it is designed and tested for industrial environments. It’s their durability will withstand any condition it is put through by students, ensuring the computer has a longer lifespan.



Whether your student is just starting out in preschool or finishing their PHD, a rugged laptop effectively tackles all their requirements in a cost effective manner.



For more information on Rugged and Semi-rugged computers visit our website