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Housing : March 2009
Product Review HIA member Sam Langford-Jones of Langford-Jones Homes in Victoria tested the NEC ShieldPRO laptop for just under two weeks. While in Sam’s care, the computer was exposed to the various conditions of a worksite environment such as sun and heat, and dusty, dirty conditions. Taking such a versatile computer into the depths of a worksite meant, among other things, that variations to projects could be drawn on the screen, on site, and then relayed back and into the standard plans. ‘Rather than trying to remember three minutes at the rate of 12.5L per minute. When tested for dust resistance, the pressure on the ShieldPRO in operation was reduced to 2kPa and left in a powder environment for eight hours. As well as this, the wide temperature range model can be used without incident at temperatures between ¯20ºC to 50ºC, no doubt long after the user has packed it away and gone home themselves. NEC guarantees the computer will survive a drop when switched off and dropped from no higher than three feet with the screen folded down While dropping a standard notebook computer from most heights would render it useless, this is not the case with NEC’s ShieldPRO. Turned off, the ShieldPRO passes the drop test from waist-height and heights up to 90cm. During testing the ShieldPRO was dropped 26 times from a height of 90cm onto plywood on each of its sides, faces and corners. In fact, NEC guarantees the computer will survive a drop when switched off and dropped from no higher than three feet with the screen folded down. The stability evident through drop tests also means the ShieldPRO is vibration- and shock-resistant, which makes it ideal for in-vehicle use. 72 information later in the office, after discussing projects I could draw something on site and then show the draftsmen internally or over the internet so we were all on the same page,’ says Sam. ‘The screen is a very good size, it was big enough for all the practical reasons, you could clearly read plans on the screen. The bigger screen is much more practical for a building nature. And being able to turn the screen around or put it flat so that two people can look at it without clashing heads trying to both see the screen is another useful feature.’ As for the durability of the SheildPRO notebook, Sam appreciates the freedom of being able to take it anywhere. ‘We haven’t had any mishaps to date with our current laptops, but in saying that we try and make sure we keep them in our cars because we know that once they get taken out of the cars and dropped their longevity is reduced or they break,’ says Sam. ‘With something like this it can give us the option of saying to the guys “Yes, you can take them on site, take them up ladders and so on”, whereas we’re quite hesitant to do that now on a lot of worksites. ‘Wear and tear is a big thing with laptops. The ShieldPRO has all of the features of a standard laptop so you’re only adding to its potential use by being able to carry it anywhere and accidentally knock it and not have to worry about the conditions you are working in.’ As well as the unique benefits for use on worksites and in harsh conditions, the NEC ShieldPRO features a highperformance, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor U75000 CPU, a 12.1 inch, Notebook specs Dimensions: 290mm (w) x 255mm (d) x 47mm (h) (excludes protruding and bumper sections) Mass: Approx 2.5kg (including standard battery) Temperature: During operation: 5ºC to +45ºC (Standard Model), -20ºC to +50ºC (Wide Temperature Model). Non-operation: -40ºC to +70ºC Altitude: During operation: 15,000ft (4,572m) non-operation: 40,000ft (12,190m) Dust-proof: IP55 Water-proof: IP55 Battery life: Standard Temperature Battery – approx. eight hours Extended Life Battery – approx. 12 hours CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Ultra Low Voltage U7500 [1.06GHz] Chip set: Mobile Intel GME965 Express Chip set, ICH8-M Memory: 512MB/1GB/2GB/Max 4GB HDD: 80GB (Standard Model) or 40GB (Wide Temperature Model) Display device: 12.1 inch, TFT LCD (XGA), LCD: Max 1024x768 pixels Operating system: Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2) USB: Three ports, including one port enhanced plug life, all ports USB 2.0 compatible Built-in LAN: 1 port RJ45 (1000BASE-T/100BASETX/10BASE-T) LAN connector Wireless LAN: Internal triple wireless LAN, IEEE802. 11a/b/g compliant Bluetooth: Internal Bluetooth Ver.2.0+EDR compliant (Class 2) Audio-related: Built-in PCM record/replay feature and monaural speaker (front-side), microphone input (stereo, mini-jack) and ouput common to headphone/line (stereo, mini-jack). bright LCD screen and a high-capacity battery of up to 12 hours life. By flipping around and folding down the screen it can also be converted to a tablet PC for greater versatility. For more information visit www.nec.com.au/computers/ shieldpro.htm or call 13 16 32. H HOUSING MARCH 2009