Dell's Rugged Latitudes Get 8th-Gen CPUs, Discrete Graphics

Dell is revamping its 14-inch Rugged Latitude lineup, making them lighter to carry while putting in faster processors, longer battery life and AT&T’s FirstNet broadband service.

The Latitude 5424 Rugged ($1,499) and Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme ($3,499) are refreshes from their 5414 and 7414 predecessors, but the Latitude 5420 Rugged ($1,399) is an all-new, lighter alternative. Each laptop can be outfitted with up to a quad-core Intel Core i7 with vPro CPU, AMD Radeon RX540 GPU, 32GB of RAM and 2TB SSD. They are also the first laptops to have a mobile broadband option for AT&T FirstNet, which is a highly-secure broadband network exclusive for first responders and law enforcement.

The 5424 and 7424’s previous 1366 x 768 touchscreen panels are getting upgraded to 1080p, which are designed to combat glare and enable touchscreen through gloves. Each laptop has an estimated battery life of 14 to 21 hours due to the inclusion of two battery bays (the batteries are completely interchangeable between laptops).

On top of that, the smallest one, Latitude 5420, has two expandable storage bays while the 5424 and 7424 have up to three. These drives are also designed to be interchangeable between all three units, so that coworkers can easily transfer from laptop to laptop in the field or at the start of the day.

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The rugged Latitudes all look pretty identical. They’re like one collective black tank that increases its armor everytime it levels up to a new unit. Each of their ports are protected by closeable doors (including the webcam), the sides of the laptops are reinforced and come with an optional handle.

The Latitude 5420, designed to be a lighter, thinner option of the three, weighs in at 4.9 pounds and measures 1.3 inches thick. The Latitude 5424 is a little thicker, at 5.5 pounds and 1.7 inches, but comes with options for an optical drive, which replaces the third storage drive. Due to their smaller size, some durability is sacrificed, but they still meet MIL-STD-810G standards, withstanding 26-inch drops, dust, vibration, functional shock, humidity, altitude and thermal extremes.

The Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme comes in at 7.6 pounds and 2 inches thick, reminding me of the Tumbler from Batman Begins. What makes it so extreme, however, is the ability to withstand 72-inch drops, rain, dust, sand, vibration, functional shock, humidity, salt fog (with rubberized keyboard), altitude, explosive atmosphere, solar radiation, thermal extremes, thermal shock and a whole freezing and thawing process.

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Each Rugged Latitude offers three USB 3.0 ports, one mini-USB port, one USB 3.0 Type-C port for power, an RS-232 serial port, an RJ45 port, an HDMI port, an audio jack, an SD card slot and a SIM card slot, with extra optional ports for another RJ45 port, a RS-232 Serial, a VGA port, a DisplayPort or a Fischer USB.

The best part about upgrading your out-of-date rugged Latitudes is that all the accessories, including the Desk and Vehicle dock, are exactly the same, so there’s no need to replace the equipment you have.

These laptops have the potential to be tremendously helpful in the field, especially due to their interchangeable parts, incredible durability, battery life and optional AT&T FirstNet broadband service. We’re excited to get these bad boys through our lab and put them to the test. Stay tuned for our full review and benchmarks of the new members of the Latitude Rugged family.

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.