Getac S410 Review

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The Pros

Lots of ports; Incredible battery life; Bright screen

The Cons

Uncomfortable to type on; Runs hot

Verdict

The Getac S410 sacrifices comfort and portability for rough-and-tumble ruggedness.

You know the briefcase that the Secret Service gives to the president to enter the nuclear codes — the one they call “the football”? That’s what the Getac S410 looks and feels like. It’s a $3,830, 6.2-pound rugged laptop targeted to police officers, construction workers and other professionals who need protection from nature. It can withstand 3-foot drops and light splashes, as well as dirt and dust, and as a bonus, you can carry it like a briefcase. Plus, an incredibly bright screen lets you work in direct sunlight. While you’ll pay a hefty premium for its durability, the S410 is the laptop to buy if you need to use your notebook extensively outdoors and the fate of your business — or the world — depends on it.

Design

Made of a proprietary plastic Getac calls “KryptoShell 2.0,” the S410 looks like a small tank. The lid looks like a Getac-branded plate of armor with 15 screws that connect it to the computer it protects. An attached clasp makes sure the laptop stays closed.

Unsnapping the hinge and opening the laptop reveals a 14-inch touch screen surrounded by a chunky black bezel, an island-style keyboard and a large, black deck that extends out to a rubberized handle for easy carrying.

All of this material makes for a big, heavy notebook. The Getac S410 is 11.5 x 3.8 x 1.4 inches and 6.2 pounds. Nonruggedized business notebooks, including the 3.4-pound Dell Latitude E7470 (9.1 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches) and the 3.8-pound Lenovo ThinkPad T460 (13.3 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches), are lighter, smaller and far more portable.

There’s a veritable smorgasbord of ports on the sides of the S410, all of which are protected by dust-proof covers (which make the S410 IP51-certified against debris). The right side includes a swappable battery, a USB 2.0 port, a headphone/mic jack, SIM card and SD card slots, and a USB 3.0 port. The left side is home to another swappable battery and a hard drive bay. On the back are two more USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, an Ethernet jack, DVI and VGA ports. The bottom of the laptop has connectors for specialized vehicle docks to drive around with the S410 in place. 

Durability and Security

The S410 looks like it can take a licking, and Getac promises that it can take one, too. The company claims that the notebook is MIL-STD 810G tested to withstand shocks, vibrations and extreme temperatures. Getac also specifies that you can drop the S410 from 3 feet without the laptop incurring damage, which is a claim that standard business laptops usually don’t make. However, the nonruggedized Acer Chromebook 14 for Work can withstand drops from 4 feet and starts at only $349.

We tested these claims in our labs. Our Dropbot 5000 let the S410 plunge 3 feet onto wood, and the S410 came out unscathed. When I poured a cup of water onto the keyboard, I had no problem typing once I dried it off.

The S410 can also be locked down like Fort Knox. It integrates Intel’s TPM technology to protect sensitive and encrypted data; vPro for remote management; a fingerprint reader to use with Windows Hello; and an NFC card reader to verify your identity through an ID card.

Display

The S410 has the brightest display I’ve ever seen on a notebook, but it does have some trade-offs. When I watched the trailer for Suicide Squad, everything was washed out and lacked vividness. Harley Quinn’s pink and blue pigtails barely popped, Deadshot’s red suit was nowhere near its usual bright crimson and the hues of Killer Croc’s scales had little or no green in them at all.

The screen has an astounding average brightness of 958 nits, which is far brighter than the mainstream category average of 260 nits. The Latitude E7470 (338 nits) and the ThinkPad T460 (242 nits) aren’t nearly as bright, but they aren’t designed for frequent outdoor use.

When I took the S410 up to the roof of our office, I could read and navigate Windows 10 with the brightness up all the way. The screen had a little bit of a glare, but I was able to mitigate that by moving the screen forward a bit. In comparison, I could never see the screen on my company-issued laptop an old Dell Latitude 6430Uwhile on the roof, no matter the angle or brightness level.

The S410’s panel was less impressive when it came to color, however: In our tests, the display covered only 59.6 percent of the sRGB color gamut (the average is 88 percent). In comparison, the ThinkPad T460 showed off 67 percent of the gamut, while the E7470 was the best in this group, at an amazing 118 percent. 

The colors on the S410’s display aren’t particularly accurate, either, delivering a Delta-E score of 3.1 (0 is best). That’s better than the average of 4.4, but nowhere near as good as the Latitude E7470 (0.5) or the ThinkPad T460 (0.2).

Keyboard and Touchpad

I hated typing on the Getac S410, and my arms were tired when I was done. The carrying handle protrudes out of the palm rest, which left me with small red marks on my arms when I finished using the device. I reached over the handle to take the 10fastfingers.com typing test and reached 96 words per minute, which is lower than my average range of 100 to 110 words per minute; however, my standard 2 percent error rate remained steady. Even worse, the keyboard had severe flex, with its base buckling under my fingers as I typed.

The Synaptics touchpad is small, measuring just 3.2 x 1.6 inches. I would often have to pick up my finger and reposition it to move the mouse all the way across the screen. The touchpad recognizes Synaptics gestures, including pinch to zoom and two-finger scrolling, but not Windows 10 gestures, such as minimizing windows with a four-finger swipe. To make matters worse, the two click buttons beneath the touchpad were stiff.

Stylus

A stylus is housed on the left side of the laptop and is attached with an optional tether. To get it to work, I had to go into the G-Manager app and switch the touch screen to Pen Mode. (The default, Touch Mode, only works with fingers.) The stylus isn’t fancy; it doesn’t have any pressure sensitivity, but it works.

In addition to Pen Mode and Touch Mode, you can access an option to use the touch screen with gloves on.

Audio

There are two speakers on the S410 — one on each side of its handle. They’re big, and they’re loud. When I played O.A.R.’s “This Town” in our labs, the speakers filled the room with loud, clear sound; the vocals and upbeat guitar riffs sounded particularly good. The only downside was the bass, which was lacking.

Performance

The Getac S410 we tested included a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6600U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. That was more than enough for heavy web browsing; it didn’t lag even when I had 15 tabs open, one of which was streaming 1080p video from YouTube.

On Geekbench, a synthetic overall performance benchmark, the S410 notched a score of 6,791, just edging out the E7470 (Core i5-6200U; 6,059) and ThinkPad T460 (Core i5-6300U; 6,708). However, it fell short of the mainstream notebook average of 7,610.

It took 46 seconds for the S410 to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, for a rate of 109.3 megabytes per second. That’s slower than the category average of 129.7 MBps, as well as the E7470 (132.3 MBps) and the ThinkPad T460 (175.5 MBps).

But the S410 came out ahead on our OpenOffice spreadsheet macro test, which pairs 20,000 names and addresses. It completed the task in 3 minutes and 42 seconds, beating the average of 5:04 as well as the E7470 (4:30) and the ThinkPad T460 (4:13).

The S410’s integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 isn’t strong enough for intense games such as Overwatch or Doom. On the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited gaming benchmark, Getac’s laptop earned a score of 58,508 — far less than the average of 73,476 (though that includes some workstations and gaming laptops). You won’t be doing heavy gaming on the E7470 or ThinkPad T460, which got scores of 59,801 and 65,981, respectively. You will, however, be able to play browser-based games such as Cut the Rope and Words with Friends without issue on any of these laptops.

Battery Life

The S410 lasted 14 hours and 33 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuously browsing the web over Wi-Fi. That result is more than double the mainstream category average (6:32) and also beats the E7470 (9:16) and ThinkPad T460’s standard battery. With an extended battery, the T460 endured for a whopping 17:04.

Our model included two separate hot-swappable batteries (one on each side of the laptop), which ensure you’ll never run out of juice. 

Heat

It gets a little toasty inside the S410’s suit of armor. After the laptop streamed HD video for 15 minutes on Hulu, the bottom of the notebook measured 107 degrees Fahrenheit, surpassing our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad reached 101 degrees, while the center of the keyboard stayed cool, at 88 degrees.

Webcam

The 1080p webcam on the S410 took detailed photos, albeit with some visual noise. In a selfie, it was easy to make out my dimple and the stitching on my shirt. The wall behind me was exactly the shade of red as it appears in real life.

Software and Warranty

There’s not much in the way of software on the S410, besides a few traces of bloatware, such as Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard and Twitter. However, there are a few utilities, such as Getac’s Skylight, which lets users configure their SIM card and wireless status. You also get  G-Manager, which provides battery information, system monitoring, GPS status and the aforementioned touch-screen options.

Getac offers a three-year warranty with the S410.

Configuration Options

The Getac S410 that we reviewed costs $3,830 and includes a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6600U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a backlit keyboard, two batteries, a 128GB SSD and numerous security features. This is the only version that supports vPro.

For $1,349, you can get a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i3-6100U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD, no backlight behind the keyboard and a single battery minus the fingerprint scanner or NFC.

On its website, Getac offers other processors, including an Intel Core i7-6500U, a Core i5-6300U and a Core i5-6200U, as well as RAM options between 4GB and 16GB.

Bottom Line

Lots of laptops (especially business notebooks), make promises about MIL-STD 810G-tested and spill-proof keyboards, but the S410 takes protection a step further, with 3-foot-drop protection, dust-proof port covers, and a screen bright enough to use in direct sunlight.

If you don’t need something so extreme (or you want a laptop that’s a bit more portable), consider the Lenovo ThinkPad T460, which has even longer battery life and a full 1080p display, for $1,390.

But if you’re working outdoors for long hours and need a laptop that can survive getting knocked off of your car hood, the S410 is the way to go. It’s a specialized system for police officers, construction workers and others who need a heavy-duty computer, and it will serve those niche users well.

(laptopmag.com, http://goo.gl/MLWLm2)

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