The Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 combines adequate processing capabilities and connectivity options with a rugged design.
The Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 is fairly ugly and it is often difficult to use but data stored in the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 can even survive a drop from a table.
The notebook, from Pioneer , has a rugged magnesium alloy casing that meets IP54 (Ingress Protection) standards, which means that the unit is protected against dust and splashing water. Due to all this protection, the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 weighs 2.2kg without the power supply and 2.75kg when it is included.
The review model came with a 320GB hard drive that spins up at 5400rpm and this will provide ample storage. The laptop also has a free-fall sensor that protects data from being lost by parking the hard drive's read/write heads.
With a 1.2GHz Intel Core Duo U2500 CPU and 2GB of DDR2 RAM running under the hood, the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 performance was good.
The Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 had a relatively snappy performance, with the Blender 3D benchmark returning a time of 3min 2sec. In the iTunes testing, where 53min of WAV files were converted into 192Kbps MP3s, the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 completed the task in 2min and 41sec.
While these results mean that hardware-intensive tasks such as video encoding and 3-D rendering will be slow and tedious, basic office tasks such as spreadsheet manipulation and multitasking will be easily executed.
Gamers hoping for a notebook that can handle a 1m drop (playing Counterstrike as they snowboard down the slopes?) will need to look elsewhere, as the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 only achieved a 3DMark06 score of 107.
But what the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 loses in processing speed, it makes up for with battery longevity and low heat emissions. After several hours of data-crunching, the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 never got uncomfortably hot and it lasted 3h 56min in battery rundown tests.
The Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 has a 10.4in, 180-degree rotatable display with a native resolution of 1024x768.
The touch-sensitive screen means fingers, bananas or anything else with a point can be used to move the cursor around the screen (although the Window XP operating system is not as intuitive as Vista for this).
Unfortunately, the keyboard is not as user-friendly as the screen. Important keys such as control, alt and backspace have been shrunk, which makes accessing them a time-consuming process that will take getting used to for touch typists.
The left- and right-click buttons below the touchpad have been rubberised. Although that increases their durability, it also increases the amount of effort needed to press them.
In terms of connectivity, the Pioneer Dreambook Tough V10 is good. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11 b/g wireless provide network connectivity; a 56Kbps modem is also present. For users wanting to use wireless peripherals such as headsets, Bluetooth connectivity is available.
The left side of the unit is where most of the ports live. Protected by plastic covers are two Type II PC card slots, a 56Kbps modem, Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 2.0 ports and the AC port.
On the back of the device is a male RS-232 port, a VGA port and a mic-in port. Firmly secured with latches on the right-hand side of the laptop is the 320GB hard drive and the battery.