Dell Latitude 12 Rugged tablet – Screen
Image quality wise, this tablet’s screen is pretty basic but gets the job done for the sort of tasks it’ll be used for. Its 1,366 x 768 resolution is enough to not look too pixelated while mostly keeping everything on screen large and easy to read. The low resolution also means there’s little strain put on the graphics processor which in turn improves battery life.
A high maximum brightness is a key criteria for a device designed for regular use outdoors, and the Latitude 12 Rugged doesn’t disappoint. I measured its maximum as 667nits, which is about double the brightness of most typical laptops and tablets.
It also offers good contrast so doesn’t look washed out when the brightness is turned up. Any measured contrast of over 1000:1 is good and the Latitude 12 Rugged hit 1291:1. I also like that the minimum brightness setting turns the display off completely.
Elsewhere the screen is less impressive with only 59% of the sRGB colour space covered, while white balance is too blue, measuring 7469K. Viewing angles are also not great, with colours and contrast shifting around, though notably text remains readable.
Dell Latitude 12 Rugged tablet – Stylus and touch input
The overall sensitivity of the touchscreen is impressive. It’s a resistive panel, where touch is sensed by pressure, not just touch alone. That means it works through gloves and even when wet, though under running water it does get confused.
Windows 8 is still a bit clunky for operating with your fingers but Windows 10 is slightly better and it should be a free upgrade with these machines.
Using the stylus it’s even easier to click round the Windows interface and I was reasonably impressed by how well it worked for scrawling signatures. By no means is this going to compete with the Apple Pencil – this is no sketching device – but for data entry and navigation it’s up to the job.
My main concern about the stylus is that it’s rather lovely little old-fashioned-phone-style curly cable works wonderfully but probably won’t last all that long. Hopefully replacements will prove cheap and easy to find.
As for the few buttons ranged along the front. In typical waterproof fashion they’re more rubbery in feel than the nice clicky action you’ll get on more typical tablets and phones but they’re responsive and easy to operate with gloved or bare fingers.
Dell Latitude 12 Rugged tablet – Cameras
Both cameras on this tablet are very basic, with the front one offering a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and no flash and the rear offering 1280 x 720 pixels and an LED flash. They’re good enough for basic mugshots or capturing an impression of a scene but detail is very lacking and in low light both cameras struggle.
They’ll do at a pinch but you’ll want a separate camera if you’re recording anything that matters.