The Twinhead Durabook D14RY meets military standard 810F for weathering drops and shocks, and the keyboard and touchpad area are spill resistant. I put these features to the test, and the D14RY performed impressively.

A lot of notebooks, however, can make this claim. What makes the Durabook such an impressive laptop is that it's tough and lightweight. It's not just for building inspectors or code enforcement officers working at construction sites and other "rugged" environments.

Because of its slim design, the D14RY is a desirable option for everyday professionals who want a machine that can withstand the traumas that users risk whenever they drag their notebooks on the subway and in airports, or throw them in the back seat of their cars.

At just under 6 pounds, the Durabook compares to other consumer notebooks on the market and is easy to pack away with paperwork. Users sacrifice nothing in the areas of reliability and power.

In the couple of months that I used the Durabook, it was decidedly unquirky. Only once did it fail to wake from sleep mode. I used the power button to restart, and the machine didn't suffer any further trouble.

Battery life allowed for ample work time away from a power source, and I really appreciated the advance warning when the battery was low. I've had the unfortunate experience of losing data on laptops that shut down with little or no warning of a looming battery shortage.

The D14RY also adapts to the desktop. Though the model I used did not come with a docking port, the notebook had many ports to easily attach home or office peripherals.

My one complaint: the touchpad. The touchpad offers a navigational feature I found to be annoying and virtually useless. Using a designated area on the right side of the touchpad, the user can quickly scroll up or down.

For me, this scrolling often occurred in the midst of typing -- which was quite disruptive -- since in the typing position this area of the touchpad falls under the base of the thumb.

I attempted to use the scroll feature and could never do it to my advantage because it moved too quickly and unpredictably. After contacting Twinhead, I discovered this feature won't work properly with Microsoft Vista until a driver is produced by a third-party vendor. As of press time, the driver had not yet been released.

Nevertheless, I found the occasional interruption was a small price to pay for the favorable features the Durabook offers.

Specs

  • Rubber protection surrounding LCD and hard disk drive area
  • Magnesium alloy case is 20 times stronger than ABS plastic
  • Compliant with military standard 810F
  • Spill-resistant C-face
  • Intel Centrino dual-core mobile technology
  • Windows Vista Business
  • 160 GB hard drive
  •  14.1-inch TFT panel Dura-Brite with XGA resolution
  • Standard six-cell smart li-ion battery pack
  • Price: $1,950 and up

Rating: 4.5 stars

Emily Montandon  |  Editor