back to article Dell's rugged Latitude 5430 laptop is quick and pretty – but also bulky and heavy

If you drop Dell's Latitude 5430 laptop from hip height onto vinyl flooring that covers a concrete slab, it lands with a sharp crack, bounces a little, then skitters to a halt. Drop it two meters onto sodden grass and it lands with a meaty squish on its long rear edge. The impact pushes a spray of water and flecks of mud through …

  1. Roland6 Silver badge

    "At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky."

    Bulky compared to a mobile phone.

    I suggest the reviewer takes a closer look at other rugged laptops and laptops designed for mobile use (such as the Thinkpad T-series).

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: "At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky."

      My 12-year-old non-rugged laptop, still in daily use, is 2.04 kg and 24.1 mm × 325 mm × 227 mm. In my quinquagenarian view, the Latitude 5430 is neither heavy nor bulky — the extra 9.5 mm (⅜ inch) height and 15 mm (1932 inch) width would be a fair trade for the ruggedization.

      1. Wanting more

        Re: "At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky."

        Same here. My Thinkpad T340 weighs in at 2.1Kg, but with a SSD upgrade in it it's still good enough for most tasks.

    2. Return To Sender

      Re: "At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky."

      We've come a long way from the 13kg Compaq Portable (luggable) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Portable). You could even get a carry case with a shoulder strap. One particular example proved to be robust enough (Compaq made a bit of a thing about how tough the case was) to survive bouncing down a flight of concrete stairs after the clasp on the aforementioned strap broke...

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Size and weight

      It's just a description. It's like if we said it had some heft to it.

      C.

  2. bernmeister

    Rugged enough?

    The operating temperature range of –29°C to 62°C sounds impressive. But does it function approaching the extremes? At temperatures below freezing some touchpads stop working. At high temperatures some LCD displays lose contrast enough to be unusable. I was involved in a military Satcomms project where the ruggedized controlling laptop worked really well in Winchester but during the winter in Bosnia the touchpad stopped working due to the cold.

    1. SteveCoops

      Re: Rugged enough?

      What rugged laptop were you using? A few months back I picked up an old (about 15 years?) Panasonic Toughbook - I left it out overnight (went down to about -3C air temp but an IR thermometer on the laptop itself and the garden table it was then frozen stuck to was reading about -10C. Upon powering it on, it sits there warming up the hard drive (has a resistive heater membrane wrapped around the drive) for a couple of minutes then booted up just fine, with the LCD, touchscreen and touchpad still worked fine.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Rugged enough?

        A Panasonic Toughbook would kick sand in the Dell's face and steal it's girlfriend after drinking it's milkshake. That is one mean dude with 'tude.

        I was going to Basra to set-up a four laptop wifi network in 2004 [long story cut short - didn't] and I asked the best informed computer guys I knew what laptop? Unanimous, Toughbooks.

        In the '90s I had my girlfriends Panda in my garage under a blanket, and my rotten illegal Civic on the street under a blanket of snow. The Civic started. Dells are Pandas.

  3. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

    Jesus wept. Have we devolved into a bunch of special snowflakes that can't cope with something that weighs more than a few grams? It's like the Calvin Kline stick figure model got reclassified as "morbidly obese" & everything must drop every last nanogram to be considered light enough.

    I'll happily accept a mere 6.5 pound laptop if it means decent port selection, replaceable batteries that don't drop dead the first time you want the device to do something exhaustive, and includes a keyboard that doesn't require fingers with subatomic accuracy to hit the bloody keys.

    Remember the Commodore & Compaq luggables? Those bastards didn't weigh a few pounds, those big bad bastards seemed to tip the scales at a few TONS and we were HAPPY to have them. Remember cell phones that included a giant battery pack that made the device into a figurative if not nearly literal brick? Remember when we expected kids to carry a backpack with an entire day's worth of books & materials inside, not whinge about how difficult it was to carry around a tablet that weighs a few grams & fits in a pocket?

    This isn't progress, it's devolution in action. Bah. Schtoopid whippersnappers anyer inability to lift your own fekkin' trousers.

    *Shakes a palsied fist*

    Get off my lawn!

    /wanders off to go make myself some Ovaltine & dried frog pill milkshake...

    1. Lazlo Woodbine Silver badge

      Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

      1.97kg is 4.3 pounds.

      And when mentioning snowflakes please consider your post demonstrates just how offended you seem to be by something so minor...

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        For years there has been a fashion for making laptops as fragile as possible. This has been presented as a desirable quality in reviews. I consider OP's language to be extremely mild and understated. I can understand that for some people a laptop is a device for demonstrating the owner's style, taste and disposable income. Being busted does not really hinder that purpose. Commentards here are more likely to think of a laptop as a tool for accomplishing work. Repeated whacks with a verbal cluebat have failed to get the message across: many techies would prefer a laptop that can easily survive common accidents. It is amazing that the discussion remains so calm and restrained.

      2. khjohansen

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        /r whoosh

        (you must be new here - have you enountered comments from amanfrommars1 yet?)

      3. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        I believe ShadowSystems was enagaing in a bit of self parody. If a part of him did gasp at the concept of a 2 Kilo laptop being considered heavy, he recognised where that feeling came from and drew it out into the light, with a nod to Three Yorkshiremen and Terry Pratchett.

        Not every part of everybody's bodies works as it once did - or is even present, just ask the Black Knight. The rest of us know we're only a trip, a stroke, or unfortunate encounter with a mongoose away from losing our careers as Olympic gymnasts. We all know this, we all know that we all this. It's within this understanding that we can joke and play. Or even, *must* joke and play.

      4. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        Ok, I accept that I used the wrong measurement in my calculation. For some reason I multiplied the 1.97 by 3.28 (feet per meter) instead of 2.21 (pounds per KG). My only excuse was the lateness of the hour (way past my nap time), a lack of caffeine, and the warden not having a suitable charge on their Shocky Stick(TM) when they tried to zap me into unconsciousness. =-Jp

        But that mistake only made it even *more* utterly idiotic the whole situation really is. A Four point three five seven pound laptop? It's not even five fother mucking pounds! GAH!

        I remember having to carry my day's worth of books, notebooks full of homework, & supplies in a backpack that often tipped the scales at over 25 pounds. For this "90 pounds if he were soaking wet with rocks in his pockets" nerd, it was annoying but definitely a (body/character) builder. Now-a-days the kids complain if they have to haul around a laptop that's measured in grams because it's too bloody heavy. I weep for the future of this planet. =-/

        1. TheRealRoland
          Go

          *taps the sign*

          https://www.theregister.com/Design/page/reg-standards-converter.html

      5. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        "And when mentioning snowflakes please consider your post demonstrates just how offended you seem to be by something so minor..."

        The worst thing about snowflakes is they all think they are so fucking unique.

    2. AceRimmer1980
      Thumb Up

      Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

      We're definitely past peak laptop.

      Remember when portables had things like removable batteries, multiple USB and other ports, could accommodate at least 2 internal drives, and was still robust enough for everyday use? My 12" HP Elitebook can do all this.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        Remember when portables had things like removable batteries

        I really miss removable batteries. A recalcitrant laptop could always be reset be removing the battery for a few seconds before reconnecting it and booting back to normality.

        Now I have a little laptop which is very portable but has a tendency to glitch every so often, and needs a complete denial of electricity to sort it out. In the absence of a removable battery, all I can do is set it to one side for a few hours and wait for the battery to run flat.

        1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

          Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

          Now I have a little laptop which is very portable but has a tendency to glitch every so often, and needs a complete denial of electricity to sort it out. In the absence of a removable battery, all I can do is set it to one side for a few hours and wait for the battery to run flat.

          Press and hold the power switch for at least four seconds. On desktop systems with ATX boards and power supplies the spec guarantees this causes a hardware power off equivalent to cutting the power. On laptops you don't have the same guarantee but I've yet to meet a machine from the last 25 years that didn't honour the same convention.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

            That assumes that the mainboard AND SMC haven't both hard-locked and refuse to accept any button presses at all...

            (granted, the chances of that happening are pretty damn slim, but still...)

          2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

            Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

            I've yet to meet a machine from the last 25 years that didn't honour the same convention

            Obviously you and my annoying little Toshiba haven't been formally introduced to each other.

        2. I am the liquor

          Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

          If it's a Thinkpad, there's a tiny hole on the back that you can jab a paper clip* into to cut power from the internal battery.

          * or for those too young to remember paper clips, a SIM card removal tool.

      2. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

        Raise you my current fully upgraded M6500 at slightly over 4.5 kg. Now that's a laptop!

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

      Yes everyone has, from the amount of this laptop is breaking my back calls I see from "heavy" 13 inch laptops I just want to slap them with a HP ProBook nc6320 with an extended batery attached.

    4. DS999 Silver badge

      I used to have a 6.6 lb laptop

      20 years ago or so. I carried that through my local airport, O'Hare and Toronto's airport week after week the year before 9/11. That weight didn't even include its power brick.

      So forgive me for going along with the general sense among Reg readers that a 1.97 kg (which is 4.4 pounds) laptop is "bulky", and no one should be complaining about a laptop able to survive drops from head height weighing less than just about any laptop did before Macbook Air came out and PC OEMs realized there was a market for "thin and light" laptops!

      1. Nifty Silver badge

        Re: I used to have a 6.6 lb laptop

        Last time I could have done with a ruggedized laptop, we were still on PCs. For site visits, used to regularly carry a PC tower up and down the fire stairs of factories, with a second trip for the monitor.

        1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

          Re: I used to have a 6.6 lb laptop

          Presumably a CRT monitor, up and down the fire escape?

          Youngsters today.....

    5. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: You're whinging about a 6.5 pound laptop?

      FWIW I don't think anyone's whinging - not us, anyway - we're simply pointing out it weighs more than your average laptop.

      C.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky

    a new generation has grown up and taken to the keyboard. How quickly the time flies!

    ...

    unless it was a clickbait? :(

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky

      It's actually the older generation, the older folk, who a, have had the money to buy premium thin n light laptops in the last decade or so, and b, have had more desire to do so, what with increased chance of arthritis, muscular degeneration and other conditions that affect strength, grip and dexterity.

      It's also worth noting that regardless of your age and physical condition, carrying any laptop in a poorly balanced bag can damage your posture. Heck, poor posture can be achieved by holding a 200 gram phone incorrectly (i.e too much).

      Do what you want, do what you will. But if you're going to damage your health, there are more fun ways of doing so!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky

        Anywhere you are using this laptop you are going to be weighted down with more than 2kg of steel toed boots, hardhat, ear defenders and other PPE

        1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky

          For a few years, I used rugged Dells such as this (but older) for service tools on the namesake Strykers in my handle.

          Carrying this in one hand an a case full of adapters, power brick, etc. (same or 1.5x the mass) in the other hand would stress my shoulder joints by the time I got from the office area to the "high bay" shop floor.

          And as you say, I DID need the steel-toes and earplugs (not a hard-hat, but see [1]) because I needed the vehicle running to watch engine and/or transmission telemetry. These laptops could handle the beating getting in or out of these steel behemoths [see 1 again] with enough juice to last a day of troubleshooting (which only took minutes once I had the right data at hand!).

          Note 1: No getting inside without your "tanker suit" aka "emergency rescue coveralls" on. In case someone blacked out, either from cleaning chemicals [2] or from smacking your head on the low ceiling or a bracket, they needed to be able to pull you out.

          2: It wasn't me, but this actually happened, hence the coveralls requirement. I did smack my noggin a few times but not hard enough to black out or even leave a dent.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky

        It's also worth noting that many of the younger generation a, use cheaper, heavier laptops if they are skint or, b, choose a gaming laptop.

        Then again, many younger folk don't drive cars, so may choose a lighter laptop because of their journeys by foot, bicycle or public transport.

        In any case, saving a kilogram on the weight of a laptop is an extra litre of water in one's rucksack, a couple of texts books or a change of clothes.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    more than double the size of my workhorse – a 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon

    WHAT?! Perhaps you meant 'double the thickness"?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: more than double the size of my workhorse – a 2019 ThinkPad X1 Carbon

      A doubling of the thickness doubles the volume of the laptop. So yes, the size, the volume, of the thing has doubled. 'Size' might be used by some people to mean 'footprint' (a two dimensional measure) but those people aren't geometrists so let's ignore them.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These specs are a wimp

    IP-53is a terrible specification, if it wants a good rating it should be at least IP-55 and your phone should be IP-67 or IP-68

    IP-5x is mostly dust proof and IP-6x is dustproof

    IP-68 means the phone could be placed in the fish tank occasionally

    IP-55 is mostly dustproof and resists a water stream from any angle

    all the definitions can be seen here and in many other places

    https://www.alpeco.co.nz/downloads/IP%20Rating%20Form.pdf

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: These specs are a wimp

      Panasonic used to make a laptop that did this. The problem is to make it totally sealed it couldn't have a fan and so was limited to a pathetic CPU that throttled back as soon as you weren't in the arctic

      Your phone has the advantage of mostly running custom low power silicon and being thin enough that the cover is a heat sink

  7. morningtea
    Linux

    Linux Performance

    I'd have preferred to see actual Linux performance, compatibility and battery life here, not how well (or, in this case, badly) it performs in VMware Workstation or HyperV.

    Depending on how/where it's going to be used, the device might never even boot Windows once...

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    > I feel Dell's engineers could have built an interior niche to house an Allen key – they've already created one to store a stylus

    Yeah, say Dell did just that: How long until a user mistakes the Allen key for the stylus and scratches the screen?

    1. drand

      Aha, but you would fasten the Allen key cover with a Phillips screw to prevent inappropriate use.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Screwdriver storage solution.

        1. khjohansen

          Ow nice!

          I'll take eight for a full set!!

          (probably won't make it past airport security!)

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Haha! Genius!

        And secured by Allen bolts is a compartment that contains a pentalobe driver which in turn grants you access to the wing-nut bay. Provided you duck the swinging blades, you should then be able to advance to the CPU cooler with only minimal casualties. Assume washers are sprung. May the torque be with you.

    2. J. Cook Silver badge

      Make the 'eraser' end of the stylus unscrew to reveal said allen key. Problem Solved.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a Dell Latitude Rugged, about 5 years old. Honestly it's been the best and most reliable laptop I've ever used. It's not particularly heavy unless you're comparing it to an ultrabook, it's got lots of useful ports, and is plenty powerful enough. The keyboard is good, the battery life is good, the screen is good. It's been dropped a few times with no evident damage. The hinges haven't broken and none of the USB ports have worn out despite being used in a workshop environment. It runs cool on your lap and doesn't boil your plums due to some military requirement about making it hard to detect with thermal imaging equipment.

    I absolutely love it and would recommend one of these to anybody. A much more useful and practical work machine than any of the ultra-thin ultra-fragile glass laptops with no ports that are so fashionable these days.

  10. HammerOn1024

    Those Of Use...

    who care about ruggedized laptop computers, could care LESS about suites! Which also means, dear Register, we could care LESS about your quip.

  11. BGatez

    Heavy?

    Amazingly Dells NEW 12th gen Precision WORKSTATION laptops, even the 17" version, have NO ethernet port! This is in addition to socking RAM and M2 slots on the inside of the MB, making them inaccessible to consumers without disassembling the machine. Yet another WTF moment of FU from Dell.

  12. Zarno

    "The machine did, however, struggle with one workload: running an Ubuntu VM under VMware Workstation Pro. The laptop just did not enjoy running that at all – the desktop hypervisor hung, and performance of the host OS suffered."

    I'm wondering if that's using the Hyper-V shim, or the (in my opinion superior) VMware hypervisor?

    My gut instinct is that the hoops were not jumped through to neuter Hyper-V, or that win11 doesn't allow for it.

    I've ran Ubbunt/Debian/Win7 (Sometimes more than one VM) in Workstation Pro on some really anemic hardware with OK results.

    It's currently chugging away with a Win10 host on a Intel Celeron J3160 with 4 gig of ram.

    It's also ran just fine on a Core i7 i7-640M Fujitsu T900 with Win7 as the host.

  13. Ace2 Bronze badge

    Is the reviewer here actually complaining that a ruggedized laptop is bulky and heavy?

    In other news, cheetahs can still outrun rhinos. Film at eleven.

  14. RyokuMas
    Coat

    But...

    ... can it run Bioshock?

  15. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    I would like to have seen photos of this Dell being abused as detailed.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Not an ad

      It's not an ad or paid-for -- we would have labeled as such if it were.

      We'll see about getting some more photos of the machine into the piece.

      C.

    2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      For starters, we mark any paid content as such on the site. Second, if we'd been paid for this, would we really have given it a tepid review? I'm also far from the world's most competent or confident photographer. But I did snap off a few as I tested. Here - https://regmedia.co.uk/2022/05/24/simon_sharwood_dell_latitude_5430_meets_lawn.jpg - is one, from the moment after the laptop hit the lawn. Of course I >>could<< have manipulated the EXIF metadata to make it look like I shot it weeks ago, when I really shot this in response to your comment .. but honestly I can't even begin to imagine how to counter that sort of thinking

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