Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Tough S15

Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Tough S15
  • Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Tough S15
  • Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Tough S15
  • Pioneer Computers Australia DreamBook Tough S15
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Retains a reasonably stylish look despite its rugged design, magnesium alloy chassis and acrylic screen cover, optical drive lock

Cons

  • Costs ruggedised prices but is not as rugged as they come; optical drive lock is manual, not automatic

Bottom Line

It's not the toughest of the tough, but it at least looks like a normal notebook while including some tougher features. Unfortunately you're going to pay a premium for the tough part of this notebook, even if it isn't quite as sturdy as more specialised models from vendors like Panasonic.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 3,299.00 (AUD)

Ruggedised notebooks were once the domain of just a handful of specialised manufacturers, but recently they've become more popular. Today it's not uncommon for long-time manufacturers of business and consumer-style notebooks to produce toughened notebook models, as well as other devices and peripherals.

Check out our slideshow of ruggedised products here

One such vendor is Pioneer Computers, which has released the Pioneer DreamBook Tough S15, a consumer-orientated ruggedised notebook. It's not a full blown industrial quality notebook for use in extremely harsh environments, but it does have tougher skin than your average machine.

The most obvious and prominent of the tough features is its magnesium alloy chassis, providing a harder shell to protect against physical damage when dropped. An acrylic screen covers the 15.4in (1280x800) LCD panel, which helps protect the screen from any unforseen bumps that would otherwise severely damage it. The screen itself shows reasonable brightness and contrast levels, but the cover does seem to dim it just a little.

For shock protection there's an optical drive lock, which prevents the optical drive from accidentally ejecting when the notebook is dropped. This is actually a physical switch, rather than a gyro-sensor, so you'll have to pre-empt potential drops, such as in a busy area, and lock it manually. There is also hard drive shock protection and a spill resistant keyboard, but these features aren't uncommon in regular notebooks. Dust covers for all the ports are missing, suggesting the DreamBook Tough S15 is not as well protected against dusty environments, so bare this in mind if you're planning on using it in a dusty work environment.

Outside the tough features, it's a fairly normal notebook with good performance up its sleeve. It's built on Intel's latest Centrino platform, initially codenamed Santa Rosa, and uses one of Intel's latest pre-Penryn CPUs, the Core 2 Duo T7250, with an 800MHz front side bus and a 2MB L2 cache. It has 2GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM installed and runs off the onboard Intel X3100 graphics chip, rather than a dedicated graphics solution.

Unlike many ruggedised notebooks, the DreamBook Tough S15 doesn't really look the part. Often ruggedised notebooks look like airplane black boxes or transport cases for large quantities of hard cash (once again we recommend checking out our slideshow), but instead the DreamBook Tough S15 looks like a fairly normal notebook, so you won't be embarrassed about taking it out in public. Regardless of its consumer-like design it is primarily aimed at the workplace and is installed with Windows Vista Business.

Our model includes support for Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g and draft-n standards, gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0, but doesn't have 3G wireless Internet, though this is an optional inclusion for an additional cost. A webcam is built into the top of the screen as is a microphone, so you'll be able to make business or personal video calls over the Internet.

In our benchmarks this notebook did fairly well. It's not at the top of the list but it wasn't scraping the bottom of the barrel either. In WorldBench 6 it scored a total of 79, an above average score indicating it's capable of running most common applications and will even handle some video or photo editing, as long as it's not too heavy. In our MP3 encoding tests we saw results fairly indicative of the CPU. Converting 53 minutes worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3 files in iTunes took 83sec then 127sec using Cdex.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?