HP has made a laptop that it says stands up to military standards of toughness, a feat that it claims is necessary for another tough environment: schools.
Its new laptop is called the ProBook x360 Education Edition. It essentially takes what would otherwise be a low-end convertible laptop and turns it into a device for schools by adding in a few of helpful hardware and software features and a rugged build.
Gus Schmedlen, HP’s head of education, says the the laptop is “tested to military field standards,” specifically the MIL-STD-810G standard. There’s no organization certifying that the ProBook x360 does in fact meet the standard’s requirements, but HP says it’s been pushing these laptops off of desk-height tables and onto concrete and steel floors to ensure that it built something that won’t immediately fall apart.
The laptop’s keys are also supposed to be resistant to being picked at, and the keyboard is meant to withstand spills of about 12 ounces of liquid.
Schmedlen says a laptop’s ability to withstand mishandling is critical to schools. “Middle school students can be as tough as active duty” members on laptops, he says.
Rugged devices usually end up being bigger and heavier than typical consumer devices — that’s true here, too, to a point. The ProBook x360 has an 11-inch display, but it has a size and weight closer to what you’d expect from a 13-inch laptop.
That said, HP is still claiming that it’ll be the “thinnest rugged convertible” out there. There isn’t necessarily a huge field of those, but what’s out there right now isn’t very good.
The laptop comes preloaded with classroom management software, and it’s been designed with a pair of other features that HP says were made from educators’ feedback. The first is an LED on the back lid of the laptop that lights up when Wi-Fi is enabled, letting teachers know if kids are browsing the web when they shouldn’t be. The second is an optional camera built into the keyboard’s palm rest, which is meant to be used for filming while the laptop is folded around in tablet mode.
Pricing details aren’t immediately available. The laptop is meant to be sold directly to schools, though there’s a possibility that third-party retailers could offer it to consumers, too.