GCN Lab Review: GD Itronix VR-2
- By John Breeden II
- Nov 11, 2008
Semitough: The VR-2 is more rugged than a normal laptop PC but less so than a fully ruggedized model.
YOU HAD TO hand it to Itronix a few years ago for being one of the first companies to begin to define the somewhat nebulous
vehicle-rugged or semirugged standards. The VR-2 is an advanced vehicle-rugged unit, and probably one of the best in the world in
The theory behind the vehicle-rugged specification is that it has a reduced drop standard and is not waterproof. But it is fully
rugged against humidity, temperature and altitude and can be dropped as far as 30 inches without taking internal damage. So you
end up getting a notebook that is pretty tough, but you save about $800 off the cost of a laptop that can comply with every
Mil-Std-810F standard. The government price of $2,640, or $3,500 list, reflects this.
As such, the VR-2 is certainly attractive to people who work from their vehicles or tend to be a little rough with their
equipment and want something tougher than standard plastic protecting their investment.
The VR-2 looks a lot like a regular laptop. It has a huge 13.3-inch screen and even loud stereo speakers. And one of its most
impressive features is its glare-killing screen. You can take the VR-2 outside on a bright day and still easily read what is on the
screen. Again, this would be perfect for anyone working in vehicles. It's even a touch screen in case you don't
want to fiddle with the keyboard as much.
In our drop testing, which was stopped at 30 inches because of the reduced specification, the VR-2 suffered no damage other than a
few scratches. At 30 inches, the battery's connection to the unit was twice momentarily severed from the unit, causing the
system to reset, though no damage was recorded. Several times the DVD drive also popped open during a drop, even at lower levels. Perhaps we were just lucky, but no damage was sustained.
At least you don't have to worry about the hinges on the LCD. They hold the laptop's screen firmly, either open or closed, despite the conditions.
In temperature tests, the VR- 2 was a real champ. Able to withstand temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours, it could also brave our 20-degree freezer.
With a score of 527 on our Passmark Performance Test benchmarks, this laptop can run just about any business application with its Intel T7500 Core 2 Duo Processor. If you are looking for a
vehicle-rugged laptop for an almost normal price, the VR-2 is ready to ride shotgun.
General Dynamics Itronix, 800-441- 1309,
John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.