How robust does a laptop for education have to be?

Imagine. You're designing a laptop specifically for use in education. How robust do you have to make it?


Is this robust enough? The engineers at RM took theirs into the car park, and then drove cars over one, to see how much abuse it could survive. Three cars later (and car number 2 definitely looks like the one that should inflict most damage) it is still up and running. And just to prove it isn't a trick, they take it back into the office and plug it into a monitor too, to show it's still alive and well.

Pretty impressive. Might also match up to some of the abuse a student might cause a laptop.

Perhaps their "laptop drop" game isn't just for fun!

I know this isn't just an overnight wonder either. In 2003, I took a career break and went around the world with my family (4 people, 3 backpacks, 2 grown ups, 1 year - and a Tablet PC). For a year I had a Tablet PC in my backpack, and it took some pretty bad treatment - I even dropped it on the street one day, when I was carrying it in my hands, without a case. Somehow it made it through all of that, allowing me to write a website about our trip for our relatives and friends, and (more importantly) for my children to use it to keep up to date with their school work.

The Tablet managed to make it round a dozen countries, travelled at least 1,000 miles strapped to the tops of buses in my rucksack, on some very bumpy and dusty Asian roads, and was hauled through inhospitable conditions. That Tablet was made by RM, so I know that they've been making pretty robust mobile PCs for quite a while now!


Comments (4)

  1. Art Vandelay says:

    Nice free advert for RM, but it doesn’t really reflect where the damage to laptops usually happens. We rarely allow the kids to bring laptops to the nearest multi-storey car park for instance.

    The damage we see is from pens being jabbed into the screen or keys being flicked off which, with some makes, do not pop back on easily.

  2. arichards says:

    I agree, its nice to see a robust laptop but our main gripe is keys that are so easily removed.

    The manufacturer that creates the laptop keyboard that is student proof will make a fortune.

    Having said that out of 250 we bought in the summer of last year we have only had about 2 damaged keyboards and we put that all down to good managemnt of the laptops in the classroom by the teachers.

  3. Ray Fleming says:

    I’ve just popped a note off to the RM Engineers, asking them what they’ve done about keyboard & screen. We’ll see what they say.

    (Of course, they made it as a shameless plug for their laptop, but it’s certainly more amusing than a laptop plug could have been!)

  4. Fi McLean says:

    Here is the answer to your question from RM.

    The RM Mobile One has a hard screen LCD – which is designed to be very robust!  We have strengthened the keyboard too – but just in case that doesn’t work we have also made replacing the keyboard easy – only a 2-screw process. And now replacing the keyboard doesn’t affect the warranty.

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