Tech Gear for Hard Traveling

Here's some rough-and-tumble hardware for the rugged business traveler.

Toughbook laptop
$2,500
panasonic.com

Upside: Lightweight and tough
Downside: It's a bit pricy

The Panasonic Y5 Toughbook is light as a feather (3.7 pounds) and tough enough for even the most clumsy business traveler.

How many drinks, peanuts and food trays have hit your laptop on a flight? You hover over the keyboard hoping that nothing will spill on it to fry the hard drive. No worries, if any of that stuff makes its way down because the Y5 has a spill-through keyboard.

The magnesium alloy case provides a lighter yet tougher shell. The $2,500 price for the Y5 includes: Intel Core Duo LV L2400 1.66 Ghz (Centrino), 14.1 inch SXGA, 1.5 GB memory, 60 GB hard drive, DVD/CDRW, Intel 802.11 a/b/g, Win XP Pro SP2 (or Vista Business), TPM 1.2, Bluetooth, Verizon EVDO Rev A.

Of particular note is the battery life (about 10 hours) per charge and the temperature of the battery while in use. The Y5 is not going to fry your lap while it's in use. There is only one minimal downside, and that's the price. But what price would you have to pay to replace a couple of wimpier laptops?

Otterbox 3000 waterproof hard case
$22.49
otterbox.com

Upside: 100% waterproof/crushproof
Downside: Color choices

Otterboxes come in a number of sizes, but what is unique about these hard-shell cases is that they are 100% waterproof and crushproof. The 3000 model is approximately 8" x 5" and would nicely hold a GPS device, PDA, cellphone or a portable hard drive.

If you are traveling to tough terrain or Toledo, these cases are great protection from the elements. The sides clamp down snug and this particular model comes with a 1/8" foam lining for extra snug protection. These cases are waterproof up to 100 feet deep. Because they are airtight, dust, dirt and sand also are not a problem.

Rugged, yes. Stylish, no, but then you probably won't be sporting these down the runways of Milan.

Aquapac waterproof soft case
$40/MP3 case
aquapac.net

Upside: 100% waterproof
Downside: Not crushproof

Unlike the Otterbox, the Aquapac is a soft, waterproof, case with a clear, front panel to see and access the click wheel on an iPod or the buttons on an MP3 player. It comes with an armband to strap your player on and is ultralight, weighing a mere 1.8 ounces.

This would be great for business travelers who jog or for anyone who plans to be anywhere near the water. These are waterproof up to 15 feet and there is a three-year warranty.

Site to See: Scrabulous.com

Scrabulous.com is fabulous. Especially if you're sick of Suduko and don't wantto mess with Mario anymore. Based on the board game, this one is online and you can play against fellow wordsmiths from all over the planet.

Tons of fun for the road.

Diana Forbes is a Los Angeles-based writer and media personality. Her "Gadget Grrl" reviews appear in various national print and online publications, and she demonstrates consumer products on national and local television shows. Click here to visit her Gadgetgrrl Web site.

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