The Getac B300 ruggedized notebook is aimed towards a more demanding consumer, like the police, military, remote research companies, or anyone that might destroy a normal notebook throughout the course of daily business. The B300 offers an Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 processor, optional 500 NIT touch screen, and optional integrated GPS and 3G WWAN housed inside a super rugged chassis with built-in carrying handle. How well does this notebook hold up in our extra-ordinary daily activities? Read our full review to find out!
Getac B300 Specifications:
Build and Design
The design of the Getac B300 is industrial, with massive rubber bumpers, deep grooved alloy lid, rugged port covers, and its own carrying handle. I love this type of design that looks as if nothing could harm the notebook short of a semi trailer truck running over it. The panels are lined with stainless steel screws holding every edge of the body together. I can count 23 screws on the display cover alone. The only splash of color to break up the grey and black panels is the Intel Centrino sticker and indicator lights.
Build quality is fantastic, exactly what you would expect from a notebook designed for military and law enforcement environments. Every single feature down to the touchpad buttons has been designed to withstand impacts or water infiltration without skipping a beat. All ports are covered and sealed through the use of rubber caps or hinged panels to keep out dust and water. The battery and hard drive are accessible without the use of a screwdriver, having only a locking quick release panel covering them for swapping in the field.
The onboard carrying handle attached to the palmrest section of the B300 is one of my favorite parts. It pops out when you need to transport the notebook, and is every bit as rugged as the notebook itself. When you are finished you pop it back into place and it becomes an extension to the palmrest. Using the B300 as my primary computer I became more worried about damaging other stuff carrying this around than the notebook itself. Accidentally swing a backpack into a wall and it might just bounce off without causing harm. Accidentally swing this into a wall and you are likely to leave a huge dent in your wall.
The Getac B300 is rated for the following test specifications:
According to IEC 68-2-1,2,14 / MIL-STD-810F, Method 501.4, 502.4
According to IEC 68-2-30 / MIL-STD-810F, Method 507
According to IEC 68-2-13/ MIL-STD-810F, Method 500.4
According to IEC 68-2-27/ MIL-STD-810F, Method 516.5
According to IEC 68-2-32 / MIL-STD-810F, Method 516.5
According to IEC 68-2-6 / MIL-STD-810F, Method 514.5
According to IEC 529, NEMA, MIL-STD-810F, Method 506.4, 510.4 IP 54 compliance
FCC, UL, CUL, TUV, CE, CB, CCC, PSE, WHQL, BSMI, e-Mark
MIL-STD 461E (option), MIL-STD-3009 "Night Vision" (option)
What most of these ratings mean for the average user is the notebook won’t break when you drop it, won’t care if you spill something on it, doesn’t care if it shakes around in a car under daily use, and really doesn’t mind if you say mean spirited things to it.
The 13.3” XGA panel is quite bright, tipping the scale against most of the other notebooks we have reviewed. It is rated at 500nit, which works in a sunlight mode from the push of a button. No matter what your previous setting was it goes into its super bright mode that feels like a laser pointer shining in your eyes if the room is dark enough. The display rates average in terms of color saturation and contrast. I feel the screen would have looked better if the panel was completely exposed like on a normal notebook, but since it is recessed with a digitizer and protective panel some quality was lost. Horizontal viewing angles were good with little or no distortion at steep angles. Vertical viewing angles were mode limited with colors quickly inverting as you move to lower angles and colors washing out as you go to higher angles.
If a 500nit screen is not bright enough for you, Getac also offers this notebook with a 1200nit screen ... for viewing your laptop on the surface of the sun. Our B300 review unit was supplied with a resistive touch display, which worked very well for mild input. Getac includes a mini telescoping stylus which is located above the keyboard for precise input, but I usually just used my fingertip. Compared to most panels you had to push harder to get the surface to detect your input, but this was only a problem with my fingertip, not the stylus.
Screen protection was excellent with a protective layer that can handle flying fists without showing more than a smudge on the surface. The Getac ruggedized notebooks are the only notebooks we have seen in house that have this level of protection to the display panel.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard was easy to type on, much nicer than the rubber membrane keyboard on the GETAC M230 we reviewed last year. The keyboard feels similar to the one on my ThinkPad, with the only difference being the perfectly smooth surface instead of the light matte finish Lenovo uses. Most of the keys were full-size except those found on the right side, which were narrowed slightly to make room for dedicated page navigation keys. The keyboard also features a red backlight, in 3 levels of brightness for easy nighttime viewing.
The Synaptics keyboard required a heavier touch than I was used to, which was probably related to some coating on top of it to make it more durable than the common touchpad. Increasing the sensitivity helped a bit, but I think still felt weird. The touchpad buttons are rubber coated and require more pressure to activate than most buttons. The rubber cover made them soft to touch, but they still only gave shallow feedback when pressed.
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