Getac X500 Review: A Rugged Laptop for ANY Situation

by Reads (15,605)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 3
    • Total Score:
    • 7.43
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Tough enough to handle just about anything, anywhere.
    • Modular bays make field upgrades and customization easy.
    • Did I mention it was tough?
  • Cons

    • Heavy ... is an understatement
    • Mushy keyboard and touchpad buttons
    • Weak battery life (2 hours)

Quick Take

The Getac X500 is built to last and offers a large number of options for customization. Unfortunately, battery life isn't as impressive as the rugged build quality.


Are you looking for an ultra-rugged notebook PC that can survive everything from a coffee spill to small arms fire? Would you like to stand on your laptop rather than a ladder to reach high shelves? The Getac X500 might just be the 15-inch durable laptop you need.

Build and Design
At first glance the X500 ultra rugged notebook looks like a cross between the first bulky laptops that started to show up in the early 1990s and a modern tank. Like most of the MIL-SPEC notebooks in this category, the appearance of the X500 is the perfect example of usage dictating design rather design based solely on asthetics.

In short, the X500 is butt ugly … yet it’s extremely well designed. Many “rugged” notebooks that are currently on the market are little more than a standard business laptop with some extra metal and bits of rubber to help it meet some basic MIL SPEC tests. The X500 stands in stark contrast: not only is this notebook MIL-STD-810G, MIL-STD 461F and IP65 compliant with a magnesium alloy case, shock-mounted hard drive it also has sealed I/O caps and doors to prevent damage from solid particles (dirt or sand) and moisture.

When it comes to design, the Getac X500 redefines the title of “road warrior.”

Opening the lid on the X500 reveals a simple feature that makes a huge impact to this notebook’s ability to survive, well, impact. Getac placed steal support pegs in each corner of the display (along with coresponding metal platforms on the base of the notebook) to provide additional structural rigidity. Translation: you can park a car on top of this notebook and the weight will be supported by these steal bars instead of crushing the laptop.

Of course, part of the X500’s extreme durability comes from the thick magnesium alloy chasing. Yes, all that thick metal adds to the weight (our test laptop tips the scales at roughly 12 pounds) but with a notebook this tough (and a built-in handle) who needs a laptop bag?

Users looking to upgrade parts or IT staff looking to replacing components will find the Getac X500 is pretty easy to service. There are multiple access panels on the bottom of the notebook for the RAM and wireless cards which require a torx screwdriver to access. However, if you just want to swap a hard drive, optical drive or battery the access panels on the sides of the X500 make this extremely easy. I don’t know how many people need to swap hard drives in the field, but if you do then the X500 is a good choice.


Ports and Features

In terms of port selection, the X500 is well equipped for a current-generation notebook. You get three USB 2.0 ports along with an extra USB 2.0/eSATA port, a docking station connector, VGA and HDMI, Ethernet/LAN, ExpressCard expansion slot, two PCMCIA Type II or one Type III expansion slot, and even a SmartCard reader for added security. The obvious omission here is a USB 3.0 port. Oh, and if you need to interface with legacy hardware then you’ll be happy to know the X500 has two serial ports as well.


Front: Built-in handle and speakers

Rear: Power, USB 2.0 and eSATA/USB, HDMI, serial ports, VGA, audio jacks, Ethernet and modem


Left: USB 2.0 x2, ExpressCard and PCMCIA slots, optical drive and wireless on/off


Right: Battery bay and hard drive


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