Tougher than leather: ruggedised computers and gadgets

  • Olympus Tough 1030SW
    Punishing photographers should take note of two new cameras from Olympus -- the Tough 1030SW, pictured above, and the Tough Lite 850SW in the next slide. The 1030SW is an everyday camera with a 10-megapixel sensor and a 3.6x zoom lens. Not only that, it's rated as being able to withstand drops from a height of 2m and it can go swimming with you down to a depth of 10m.
  • Corsair Flash Voyager
    Okay, while flash drives don't have any moving parts, it's still nice that manufacturers are going to great lengths to protect these little, massive data carriers. In the 32GB Flash Voyager, you can store up to 30GB of data (that's the formatted capacity), and yet have no fear of losing it if you accidentally submerge the drive in your beverage while at the pub. Furthermore, its rubberised exterior protects it from bumps during office-footy sessions -- drop it and watch it bounce!
  • TomTom RIDER
    Being a GPS unit that's specifically designed for motorcycle riders, the aptly named TomTom RIDER needs to be able to stand up to the elements, as well as get you where you need to go in an efficient manner. As such, it's a durable unit, which should survive accidental knocks, and is also waterproof.
  • NEC ShieldPro
    NEC's ShieldPro is the new kid on the block when it comes to ruggedised notebooks for extreme work environments. It's a 12.1in, super-sturdy tablet-convertible notebook that can operate even while being pelted by rain showers. NEC guarantees that it'll survive a drop from 90cm (when switched off) and claims that it can be used in conditions ranging from -20 to 50 degrees Celsius. It's well-suited to the factory floor and the outback.
  • LaCie Rugged hard drive
    Need an external hard drive for the road? If so, consider LaCie's Rugged 2.5in pocket drive. Rubber bumpers are attached to the corners of the hard drive inside the case, to absorb shocks, while an aluminium shell and a rubber sleeve add external protection against accidental drops. It's versatile (it comes with FireWire, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 ports) and it's available in capacities of 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 250GB.
  • ASUS VW192TG Glass LCD
    At 19in, this isn't the biggest widescreen LCD monitor on the market; but if you want to install a screen in an environment where it's likely to be accidentally knocked, or get things thrown at it (think childcare centres, or pretty much any environment with young kids) then the glass panel on the front of this monitor will serve to protect the sensitive LCD panel underneath. The hardness level of the glass is so high, it can only be cut by a diamond.
  • Olympus Tough Lite 850SW
    The 850SW is the 1030SW's little brother, but it can stand up for itself when the going gets rough. It's shockproof up to 1.5m and can wade in waters less than 3m deep. It has an 8-megapixel sensor, which will still take huge photos, but it costs about $200 less than the 1030SW. Both cameras are perfect for snorkelling, camping trips and other outdoor adventures.
  • Tougher than leather: ruggedised computers and gadgets
    For road warriors and outdoor adventurers, ruggedised gadgets and computers are a must. Weather-proof and shock-resistant computers, cameras, storage devices and GPS systems are some of the products we've highlighted in this slideshow, as well as an LCD monitor that'll fend off projectiles and withstand the hardest attempts to scratch it.
  • Panasonic Toughbook CF-W5
    Panasonic's high-end Toughbook has long been the workhorse of choice for law-enforcement officers and just about anyone else who works in harsh environments. For the rest of us who want a rugged, all-purpose, on-the-go notebook, the business-oriented Toughbook CF-W5 is a good choice. It's semi-rugged (it'll withstand everyday knocks, but nothing too harsh), very light (1.2kg) and can run for many hours while away from an outlet (it lasted almost three hours in our worst-case scenario test).
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