The Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is not your standard slate – the device is targeted at those who usually slave away on an oil exploration project or work in the Amazonian tropical rainforest (as a biologist maybe).
Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet Full Specification, Features, Price And Review
It is designed to be dropped, bashed about, and generally undergo all sorts of treatment that would pretty much be guaranteed to destroy any consumer-grade tablet. As such, this is no ordinary slate and shouldn’t carry the same expectations as your average model.
That’s also probably why Dell has yet to release a new version – this one has been around for nearly two years and is still being sold despite having a Broadwell-based processor.
Longer product cycles ensure that platforms mature slowly, especially as the capital investments involved are often an order of magnitude bigger compared to the consumer market.
To say that this is a solid tablet would be a massive understatement; it has been designed and manufactured to withstand extreme conditions.
At 312 x 203 x 24mm, it is fairly large for a tablet with an 11.6-inch display, while its weight – 1.79kg with two 2-cell 26Whr hot-swappable batteries – puts it in the ‘mildly-transportable’ category (as opposed to easily portable). You can only operate this device at arm’s length for only a short time before experiencing muscular discomfort (although your mileage may well vary).
The Latitude 12 is built mostly to withstand harsh environments, not win design contests, which explains a lot of pragmatic/functional decisions made by Dell.
There are massive rubber bumpers on the corners and the rubber enclosure itself is a couple of centimetres thick in order to protect the screen, arguably the most fragile component. The latter is also protected by the use of Gorilla Glass 3 technology in its construction.
Look around the tablet and you will find that most ports are covered with rubber flaps to prevent damage. Opening and closing them will be an issue if you wear gloves and it is worth noting that they can’t be locked. Dell also used a patented HZO liquid protection technology to stop water from killing your tech.
Given the varied markets the Latitude 12 is expected to operate in, the tablet has an extensive range of connectors as well, including POGO-pin ports for a docking keyboard and a modular expansion pack.
Note also the presence of air vents to cool the device. Even if that sounds counterintuitive given the rugged nature of this tablet, these slits doesn’t prevent it from being reasonably water-resistant. Dell uses a proprietary fan-based thermal management system that combines both passive and active cooling to keep the slate cool.
During our hands-on time with the device, the fan did work for reasonably long spells and we noticed that the tablet warmed up significantly, especially under load.
The tethered stylus slots nicely in the body of the tablet. It’s not as stylish as the active models, but at least you don’t have to charge it regularly and the pen will work regardless of the immediate environment.
At the heart of the Dell Latitude 12 7202 is the Broadwell-based Intel Core M-5Y71 CPU, a dual-core processor with a tiny 4.5W TDP and a base clock speed of 1.2GHz. It can overclock to 2.5GHz and down-clock to 800Mhz. The graphics subsystem is Intel’s HD Graphics 5300.
Our sample came with 8GB of dual-channel LPDDR3 1600MHz memory and a 128GB SSD (an M.2 2280 model from Lite-On) which was half full. There are two cameras with the front one sporting an interesting flap that allows the user to physically obstruct the lens.
The display, a glove-capable 11.6-inch 10-point multi-touch resistive screen, has a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution which is low, but this can be explained by the fact that, in the markets targeted by the Latitude 12, accuracy and battery life are far more important than the need to cram in as many pixels as possible.
Oddly, while Dell included a full array of its own applications (Data Protection, Backup and Recovery, Rugged Control Center etc), there were also a couple of surprising additions like Deezer and Candy Crush Soda Saga; hardly enterprise-grade applications.
In use, the older Broadwell processor posted a decent score in our benchmark testing, although one can only wonder what a Kaby Lake upgrade might bring to the tablet (for a hint, check out the Xplore R12 which boasts a far faster Core i7-7500U Kaby Lake CPU).
As for the battery life, the Latitude 12 7202 managed 4 hours 26 minutes with 27% battery left on our standard test (streaming a YouTube count-up video with brightness set to 50%). Extrapolating that number, one can expect the tablet to last just over six hours.