<h2>Technology That's Tougher Than You Are</h2><br><br>You know that you should guard your expensive electronic equipment. You don't use your cell phone in the shower, you dive to catch a falling hard drive before it hits the ground, and you never leave a laptop in a hot car. And you certainly don't toss your phone into a pool, run over your hard drive with a truck, or throw your laptop into a freezer. Right?<br><br>Well, sometimes accidents happen. They don't always have to be fatal to your gadgets, though--thanks to rugged technology. <br><br>This type of tech used to be exclusive to the military, which has long developed ruggedized devices for use in the field. The [[xref:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIL-STD-810|MIL-STD-810|MIL-STD-810] military testing standard sets guidelines. MIL-STD-108 tests show whether a product can withstand drops, spills, rain, pressure, dust, extreme temperatures, temperature shock, or various other harsh conditions. <br><br>(<b>NOTE:</b> PC World does not advise or advocate that you ever try any such experiments with your own hardware.) <br><br>The products that can withstand such rigorous testing are "MIL-STD-810 Certified," and are deemed rugged enough for use by the military, as well as in other dangerous professions such as construction, firefighting, and extreme sports. <br><br>"Ruggedized" doesn't mean the same thing for each class of hardware, however. For example, a laptop has to endure being dropped just 3 feet, while functioning, to meet MIL-STD-810 standards, whereas a cell phone typically has to survive being dropped over 6 feet, while functioning, to pass (the difference depends on how and where an average user operates the device). <br><br>Fortunately for the average consumer, rugged products aren't just for the military anymore; plenty of consumer-level products comply with the military standards. So if you need a laptop that you can shove off of a table or a phone that you can shower with, look no further--rugged tech is in the house. <br><br>Now, let's soak--and drop--some laptops.