Durabook Z14I – Evaluate 2022

The Durabook Z14I is a 14-inch totally rugged laptop computer that is constructed like a tank. A sturdy system made for first responders and army and discipline use, the Z14I (begins at $3,599; $4,615 as examined) is constructed to face up to the harshest environments. Its MIL-STD 810H, MIL-STD-461G, and IP65 certifications imply it may well resist rain, mud, warmth, chilly, and drops from as much as six ft. Pair that with myriad ports and customization choices, and you have got a powerful bundle. However make no mistake: This laptop computer is for particular, excessive conditions, and its uninspiring efficiency per greenback displays the priorities of this area of interest.

Constructed for Bashing About

The Z14I would possibly look like a brutish behemoth at first look, however its cumbersome, utilitarian design shortly grows on you. The aluminum-magnesium chassis helps preserve weight beneath 8 kilos, although it is a lot heavier than different rugged laptops we have seen just like the 5.8-pound Durabook S15AB or the 5.25-pound Getac S410. At 1.9 by 14 by 11 inches (HWD), it is a lot bulkier as effectively. Our assessment unit comes outfitted with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, Intel Iris Xe built-in graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of solid-state storage. If that does not meet your wants, the system is available in a wide range of completely different flavors, with CPU decisions as much as the Core i7-1185G7 and an non-compulsory Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU.

The Z14I is a fanless machine, a uncommon Core i7 laptop computer that makes use of a passive thermal cooling answer as a substitute of a spinning fan or followers. Warmth pipes deal with thermal dissipation by themselves, lessening potential harm from mud or different hazards. However the lack of an lively cooling answer can hamper CPU efficiency, as you will see in our efficiency assessments just a little later within the assessment.

Durabook Z14I right angle

Whereas the Durabook’s computing efficiency is not inspiring, its exterior options steal the present. The versatile rubberized deal with gives ample assist when carrying the machine, whereas extra-thick rubber corners guarantee that it’ll doubtless do extra harm to no matter it hits than vice versa. This pocket book makes even indestructible models just like the Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Excessive appear meek as compared. Not like many rugged laptops we have seen that carry MIL-STD 810G certification, the Z14I is MIL-STD 810H licensed. The H is the necessary half—it is the successor to the MIL-STD 810G commonplace, and contains each main and minor revisions to the sturdiness take a look at strategies.

Durabook Z14I rear view

MIL-STD, also called MIL-SPEC, is how the U.S. Division of Protection measures tools to get a baseline commonplace for sturdiness. MIL-STD 810 pertains to shopper electronics and contains testing for a variety of opposed environmental situations, together with temperature extremes and even things like whether or not it may well take a bullet. We hope you by no means end up on a battlefield, however when you do, you will need your laptop computer to be MIL-STD licensed. (Study extra about machine certifications.)

With this in thoughts, we wished to see if the rugged laptop computer may maintain its personal beneath duress, so we ran a drop and splash take a look at ourselves to see if these certifications held any weight. A tool that’s IP65 licensed ought to have the ability to face up to quarter-hour of projected water from any angle with none subject, which the Z14I did. The Z14I additionally claims that it may resist a drop from as much as 6 ft—this additionally held as much as scrutiny, however whereas the Durabook nonetheless labored as supposed after surviving each a 6-foot drop and a waist-high drop, the chassis did present some seen scarring, with a small hairline crack growing on the underside after the upper drop. That stated, sheer working survival close to the restrict of its rated drop peak to a tough floor is all any person can ask for.

On the Durabook’s backside, you will discover an enlargement slot that may be outfitted with varied modules to supply further storage enlargement, a VGA port for legacy shows, and even customized military-grade connectors that may rework the laptop computer right into a server to suit any variety of particular conditions. 

Durabook Z14I left angle

As for safety choices, you can also make use of a TPM 2.0 trusted platform module that gives hardware-based key creation for encryption. You will additionally discover lockable latches on the doorways protecting the I/O ports, a Kensington lock slot, and non-compulsory fingerprint assist for quick and safe logins.

A Panoply of Ports

The Z14I comes outfitted with a 14-inch full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) contact display screen that provides loads of actual property, even when it is caught between large black bezels. A cumbersome privateness slot on the high of the display screen hides the 2-megapixel webcam. This Durabook will not win any magnificence pageants, but it surely nonetheless has a particular look that is not essentially disagreeable. The display screen additionally will get extremely shiny, promising to succeed in as much as 1,000 nits of brightness whereas sustaining readability. To my eyes, nevertheless, the image high quality was by no means notably sharp, and the display screen total had a blurry high quality that washed out photos and video. (This might effectively be all the way down to the particular contact layer on the panel.)

The waterproof chiclet keyboard gives stable suggestions, although it feels a bit too small for my style. Keyboard area is probably going sacrificed to make room for all the ports. In any other case, the keyboard is pretty commonplace, with two programmable buttons sitting beside the ability button and standing indicators.

Durabook Z14I keyboard

The touchpad is small however responsive. Its buttons are clicky and satisfying as effectively. If the touchpad is not your factor, the 10-point multitouch display screen gives 4 contact modes (glove, finger, stylus, water) and comes with a stylus pen. South of the touchpad, you will discover two built-in audio system nestled beside the carrying deal with. The sound is loud, however not very clear. We had been additionally shocked to seek out that the chassis vibrates at excessive volumes.

Your typical 14-inch laptop computer comes with a couple of useful I/O ports on both sides, however as we stated the Z14I is something however typical. On the precise flank, you will discover an audio jack, a USB 2.0 port, USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2 Sort-A ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C port, and a Thunderbolt 4 port. You will additionally see the battery compartment right here.

Durabook Z14I right ports

On the left aspect are a SIM card slot for cell broadband; a flash card reader that helps SD (Safe Digital), SDXC, and Mini-SD (with adapter) units; a SmartCard reader; an RF sign change; and an optical disc drive. There’s additionally the storage compartment, which homes the system’s essential boot drive.

Durabook Z14I left ports

The rear panel hosts the remainder of the ports (sure, there are extra), together with HDMI and VGA video outputs, the AC adapter connector, the safety lock slot, twin Ethernet jacks, and RS-232 ports for serial peripherals.

Durabook Z14I rear ports

Testing the Z14I Durabook: Power First, Efficiency Second

To see how the Durabook stacked up towards the competitors, we ran the machine and 4 rivals via rigorous CPU, GPU, battery, and show assessments. For comparability, we selected the 14-inch Getac S410 G4 and two rugged 2-in-1s, the Panasonic Toughbook 55 Mk2 and the Panasonic Toughbook G2. Lastly, there’s the semi-rugged Acer Enduro City N3. All have comparable specs, proven under.

The primary take a look at in our benchmark suite is PCMark 10, a UL efficiency take a look at that simulates a wide range of Home windows duties to offer an total efficiency rating for workplace workflows. A rating above 4,000 factors signifies wonderful productiveness for apps like Microsoft Workplace. All of the laptops on this group carried out equally, however the Acer Enduro broke away from the pack to assert the highest prize, leaving the Z14I in fourth place.

PCMark 10 additionally has a Full System Drive storage take a look at that measures program load time and the throughput of a laptop computer’s boot drive. The Durabook trailed the sphere.

Subsequent up are three CPU-focused benchmarks. HandBrake 1.4 is an open-source instrument used to transform video information to completely different resolutions and codecs; we time programs as they convert a 12-minute clip of 4K video to 1080p decision. Cinebench is one other multi-core take a look at that workout routines all of a processor’s cores and threads whereas rendering an in depth picture. Geekbench 5.4 is a stress take a look at that simulates a wide range of real-world functions. The Acer and Panasonic Toughbook 55 did effectively right here, with the Durabook within the center rear of the pack.

In our last productiveness take a look at, we run workstation maker Puget Techniques’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which places Adobe Photoshop 22 via a sequence of workout routines to measure a PC’s content-creation and multimedia chops, utilizing each CPU- and GPU-accelerated features. The Z14I fell effectively behind as soon as once more.

General, the Z14I underperformed in our productiveness testing, noticeably trailing the Acer Enduro which makes use of the identical CPU. Its fanless design is a probable purpose; Durabook made a acutely aware choice to cut back efficiency by utilizing a passive cooling system as a substitute of an lively one.

Graphics Exams

Likelihood is, you will not purchase a rugged laptop computer to play video games, however that does not imply you should not think about its graphics capabilities. None of those machines has a devoted GPU; as a substitute, they depend on built-in graphics which might be suited largely for easy and informal video games at modest resolutions and body charges. To that finish, we take a look at all non-gaming laptops with two benchmarks, 3DMark and GFXBench 5.0. The primary is a DirectX 12 benchmark that provides a number of subtests; we use two, yet one more demanding than the opposite. The Z14I landed within the center once more, outperformed by the Getac and the Acer.

The second half of our graphics routine is GFXBench 5.0, a simulator that stress-tests each low- and high-level routines. We run two subtests, the 1440p Aztec Ruins and the 1080p Automotive Chase, rendered off-screen to accommodate completely different show resolutions. The Durabook was a poor performer in each, ending up in fourth place once more. Nonetheless, it did handle a mean of 68 frames per second within the Automotive Chase take a look at. (See our deeper dive into built-in graphics’ suitability for latest video games.)

Show and Battery Exams

In our last sequence of assessments, we flip our consideration to the show’s brightness and coloration protection and the laptop computer’s battery life. For the final, we totally cost the system, then disable Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting whereas looping a regionally saved 720p video with display screen brightness set to 50% and audio quantity to 100%. Durabook charges the Z14I’s unplugged life at 16 hours, however our system tapped out after 10 and 1 / 4, inserting behind each Panasonics.

We additionally make use of Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite show calibrator and software program to measure protection of three well-liked coloration areas or palettes, sRGB (web), Adobe RGB (pictures and design), and DCI-P3 (video and cinema), together with display screen brightness in nits. The muddy image high quality I discussed was mirrored right here, because the Z14I posted poor scores throughout all three coloration gamuts, although none of those rugged programs excelled (they are not content material creation workstations, in any case). It did get fairly shiny although, coming near 1,000 nits, which is in step with its supposed use within the nice outdoor, the place a dim display screen is well drowned out by daylight.

A Rugged Mannequin That Sticks the Touchdown

The Durabook Z14I is not a blazing performer, however a rugged laptop computer not often needs to be. Its efficiency is nice sufficient, and its plethora of customization and enlargement choices, in addition to its plentiful ports, add to its attraction. The Getac S410 is perhaps a greater choice for these in search of a rugged transportable with out spending an excessive amount of cash, and lovers can discover lighter choices amongst semi-rugged and convertible programs, however the Z14I fills an interesting area of interest.

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