After repeatedly dropping the Durabook R11, and then throwing dirt all over it and spraying it with a hose for three minutes, we put the rugged tablet to the real test: attaching it to a keyboard and doing some aggressive typing.
The R11 tablet, made by Fremont, Calif.-based GammaTech, recently was upgraded to serve as a 2-in-1 with the addition of a detachable keyboard—which, naturally, is pretty heavy-duty itself.
Even without the keyboard, GammaTech says the 11.6-inch Durabook R11 is one of its most popular offerings.
That's no doubt because--while it’s still very beefy--the R11 is actually considered thin and light by rugged tablet standards (at 0.79 of an inch thick and 2.73 pounds).
We still found it to be a bit much to hold the tablet with just one hand while typing away with the other for long time periods.
[Related: Review: Dell Precision 3510 Laptop]
On the plus side, if you do attempt one-handed operation for a long time and end up dropping it, chances are the R11 will fare just fine.
We liked the high-brightness LCD display on the tablet a lot—it’s also readable in sunlight--and the touch screen performed well for us when navigating between apps and windows. The R11 was also pretty fast, though it does use the previous generation of Intel processors; ours was outfitted with a fifth-gen Core i5 processor.
Attaching the tablet to the keyboard did take a bit of effort—the tablet must be fit tightly into a holder on the keyboard and then screwed in, just so, in order to connect. Not exactly the easy convertibility that most 2-in-1s are touting these days. The upside is that the tablet and keyboard are held very sturdily in place once you’ve taken the effort to connect them.