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NEC's hard-case PC defies the elements

The FS-N21S is built to withstand a 90cm fall onto a hard surface

Any product with as macho a name as 'Shield Pro' had better be a fairly tough cookie if it's to cut the mustard, so it's fortunate NEC 's newest laptop PC is built like a brick outhouse.

The 2.5kg Shield Pro FC-N21S starts at ¥250,000 (£1,094) and is sufficiently rugged to remain undamaged by a 90cm fall onto a hard surface. NEC is so confident of this that it actually guarantees the PC against such damage as long as it is switched off and closed.

Aside from the anti-gravity protection, the Shield Pro is also water resistant and has been granted the international IP54 certification to prove it. It's pretty good in extreme temperatures too, operating successfully anywhere between -20 and 50 degrees Celsius.

In terms of computing features, there's a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo CPU, a hard drive of up to 60GB, a maximum of 2GB of RAM, a choice of Linux or Windows XP and a swivelling 12.1-inch touch-sensitive screen that turns through 180 degrees and folds flat against the keyboard. Japan sales start in January, although international plans have yet to be decided. J Mark Lytle