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Amrel DB7 Rugged Handheld

Windows 7-powered rugged handheld military/ industrial computer gets a substantal tech update
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Based in El Monte, California, AMREL (AMerican RELiance) has a long history of offering value-added applications in vertical markets. The Rocky line of ruggedized computers was introduced in 1995 and has been updated, enhanced, and fine-tuned every since. AMREL also offers innovative rugged handhelds for both military and industrial applications. The Rocky DB7 rugged handheld, introduced December 2015, is a technologically updated version of the company's older Rocky DB6.

While the DB7 looks like a small handheld, it's actually a full-fledged computer running Windows 7 on a 1.33GHz Intel Atom E3825 and a speedy, invulnerable solid state disk. The wide-format sunlight-viewable display measured five inches diagonally and offers 800 x 480 pixel WVGA resolution. Operation is via resistive touch or stylus, and also via the dual layer keypad below the screen.

As is evident from the 5-inch size of the display, the AMREL DB7 is a bit larger than it looks on the pictures above. In fact, it measures 3.7 x 7.9 inches and is just under an inch and a half thick. That's considerably larger than even a modern super-size smartphone, but the DB6 is still pocketable and can be carried anywhere. It also weighs just a pound and a half, remarkably little for a super-touch full Windows device, and the low weight can be crucial for military applications where every ounce matters. The system is powered by a 29 watt-hour Li-Ion battery that's hot-swappable and quickly replaceable. The 5-7 hour battery life claim seems doable.

The pictures to the left show the side views of the device. A covered I/O port provides a USB 2.0 host connector, a SDHC card slot and also a SIM card slot for WWAN applications. The surface mount docking connector provides substantial extra connectivity via cradle (USB, serial, video, LAN, etc.).

Ruggedness specs are a bit sketchy, with references to MIL-STD-810G testing and MIL-STD-461F compliance (electromagnetic interference, etc.). There is IP65 sealing, where the "6" means the device is totally dust-proof and the "5" that it can handle low-pressure water jets from all directions (without, though, being totally waterproof; that would be IP67).

The AMREL DB7 remains an interesting product, and the tech updates should significantly boost performance. The dual-core Intel Atom E3825 CPU in the DB7, while nominally running at a lower clock speed, is a much more powerful chip than the Atom Z530 used in the older DB6. Windows, of course, wasn't exactly made for use with a stylus, and resistive digitizers have largely given way to the projected capacitive kind popularized by the iPhone and iPad. But those cannot be used with gloves, and for military deployment, resistive still might be best, especially with custom software.

In any case, a device as small and light as the AMREL DB7, packed full of advanced technology, can provide a wealth of intelligence, data collection, documentation, communication, mapping and situational awareness into the (battle)field.

Specifications Amrel DB6
Added/changed Added 12/2015
Form-factor Rugged military-spec handheld computer
Processor Dual-core Intel Atom E3825
CPU Speed 1.33GHz
Standard/Max RAM 4GB or 8GB DDR3L 1067MHz
OS 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 7 Professional
Disk/drive 64GB to 256GB SATA II SSD
Card slots 1 x SDHC, 1 x SIM
Display type Sunlight readable TFT with anti-glare treatment
Display size/res 5-inch/800 x 480 pixel
Digitizer/pens Resistive touchscreen
Keyboard/scale Keypad (text input, AP settings, power, volume, backlight, camera, etc)
Housing Magnesium alloy
Operating Temp MIL-STD 810G (inquire specifics)
Sealing IP65
Shock MIL-STD 810G (inquire specifics)
Salt Fog test MIL-STD 810G 509.5
Humidity test MIL-STD 810G 507.5
Vibration MIL-STD 810G 514.6
Certifications CE/FCC, WEEE, REACH, MIL-STD 461F
Size (WxHxD) 3.7 x 7.9 x 1.4 inches (94 x 200 x 36 mm)
Weight 1.5 lbs. with all wireless devices and battery
Power Hot-swappable 7.4V/3.900 mAH Li-Ion ("5 to 7 hours"); built-in 12-32V BVA, optional MIL-1275 DC Vehicle adapter
Interface 1 x USB 2.0, speaker, 1 x cradle POGO connector, optional top Hirose connector with 2 of sealed USB, audio, RJ45 LAN, SMA (WWAN, WiFi, BT, GPS)
Wireless Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 WiFi, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, uBlox GPS
List price Inquire
Product page Amrel Rocky DB7
Spec sheet Amrel DB7 datasheet
Contact computers.amrel.com