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Twinhead Durabook notebooks: Good?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Joerg, Dec 26, 2006.

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  1. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Hello Friends,

    Does anyone use a Twinhead Durabook notebook? There is a special on the
    D14RA, about $800 at CircuitCity (only via mail order AFAIK). It's
    probably not Vista capable but I don't care about that. The tough metal
    enclosure looks enticing, especially after I had an otherwise great
    Compaq notebook slowly crumble from too much flying.

    The downside is that it's those dreaded mail-in rebates. I hate those.
  2. Somebody recently reviewed on (including doing drop-tests).
    There's a link on Slashdot.
  3. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Thanks, Grant, I just read that test and the forum responses. Seems
    those notebooks are pretty good for someone who needs toughness more
    than CPU horsepower. Ok, it doesn't live up to the umpteen drops but
    considering that one single drop off a table is death for most other
    laptops it looks good. It almost happened to me recently before a
    presentation at a client. Someone moved a chair and snagged a cable to
    my laptop. Most conference rooms are poorly wired without an outlet
    under the table.

    If anyone else is interested I found that review here:
  4. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    As Grant notes, on Christmas Day Slashdot had an article
    which pointed to a disappointing review on that brand's ruggedness:

    If you go to the referenced (original) article,
    I hope you have AdBlock well tweaked and in full force:
    Don't gp feeling like you're the Lone Ranger on that one.
  5. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Well, I wouldn't call that disappointing. Probably any normal laptop
    would have croaked after the first drop.

    Mail-ins just don't make any sense to me.
  6. Buddy Smith

    Buddy Smith Guest

    Sounds like someone needs to invent breakaway ethernet cables / power
    supplies! (Patent not pending)

    I'm sure someone has come up with and patented it already...


  7. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    You obviously aren't in the direct-mail business.
    Suckers lists are valuable.[1]
    If you're gullible enough to SEND someone your name/stats on a rebate,
    that makes you a PRIME target.
    [1] Note how many idiots buy email addy lists to spew their spam.
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    It won't help much. Look at the typical conference table: 5-10 laptops
    with cables everywhere. A speaker-phone gizmo in the middle that has
    umpteen satellite mikes, all connected via some more cable. All this has
    the appearance and adhesiveness of spaghetti after a rolling boil. When
    someone bumps into a chair usually a whole slew of gear goes sailing.

    If there was something that worked it would be in production ;-)
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yabbut, I usually do not mention my email address on there. If it's
    mandatory all they get is a disposable one. Then there is the
    do-not-call list and I doubt this would qualify as "prior contact" for
    the one who bought that list. Actually we never got any calls or junk
    mail after mail-in rebates.

    Secondly, they've already got all that info via the warranty
    registration anyhow.

    The mail-in gives them a very tiny interest advantage but I doubt that
    it offsets all the minutes some clerk has to spend on each filing.
  10. It is in production. Apple laptops have magnetic breakaway power
    connectors and use 802.11whatever so the ethernet cables are ethereal.
  11. Isn't the breakaway power cord connection for laptops one of
    Apple's claims to fame?
  12. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Cool. I didn't know that, never used an Apple.
  13. larwe

    larwe Guest

    Someone already did, at least for power, and started shipping it to the
    masses: go to <> and search
    for "MagSafe". My wife has the MacBook; this feature works extremely
  14. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Whatever you do: get a notebook build for professional use. There is a
    reason notebook vendors have sections for business notebooks and
    consumer crap. The cheap ones just won't work fine (lots of weird
    behavior, crappy drivers, often need a re-install of the OS).
  15. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    This one actually is. Not very powerful in terms of CPU or VGA speed but
    for heavy duty usage with lots of banging around in trucks and cargo
    holds. Supposedly you can even use it in the rain. That's what really
    counts in my biz. The two notebooks in use so far over here are actually
    rather low end, selected from Dell's home & home office section. They do
    everything I want and fast. Haven't noticed any shortcomings except for
    their enclosures which are a bit wimpy. But I have seen the expensive
    business editions and IMHO their enclosures were not better.

    My best notebook (early 90's) was a Compaq Contura. Great machine but
    because it had that dreaded plastics enclosure it developed a
    progressing crack line all around the perimeter after few 100k miles of
    flying. Then one day a wee turbulence happened and the battery just fell
    out of it :-(
  16. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest

    Some guy suggested the Panasonic Toughbook. That looks a lot more
    I used to work with a Dell 8100 (with a magnesium casing) and it never
    broke down despite some drops, rides in trunks of taxis with no shock
    absorbers and about 120k km of flying.
  17. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Yes, but 3-6dB higher in price. Usually around $3k-$4k. Also, these
    things are easier targets for "growing legs".
    Well, with a mag case that had to be an expensive one in the first
    place. Those are good laptops. But also very desired by the more shady
    figures of society :-(

    Some of it depends on where you fly. In the northern parts of North
    America some pilots are pretty tough guys. They'll get you there but
    they may occasionally have to nail it to the runway.
  18. Zak

    Zak Guest

    For ethernet you could use a very short extension cable, and break the
    lip off the connector that you inser. The extension cable makes sure the
    pull always pulls in the right direction, and an RJ45 withhout clip
    easily pops out.

    Power is done by Apple.

  19. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Ok, guys, I've got it. A Durabook D14RA. Quite impressive. The CPU fan
    is rather loud and the touchpad buttons are way too small for large
    fingers. But: It has a serial port which wasn't even listed as a
    feature. Now that is nice.
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