Clinical computers are still traditional PCs connected to separate monitors. All-in-one computers, like the Durabook P24 from GammaTech Computer Corporation reviewed here, combine a fully capable computer within the back of a large high resolution display and allow for easy transportation between rooms, take up less space, need fewer cords, and make life a little easier for clinicians that use them and tech support folks that maintain them. We spent a couple weeks using the Durabook P24, an all-in-one computer developed for clinical applications, and would like to share our findings about this interesting new product.
DESIGN: The P24 certainly looks slick, having nothing but a curved white bezel surrounding its 24-inch high-definition touchscreen. Besides an embedded webcam near the top and a small proximity sensor near the bottom, the front is visually sterile and doesn’t have any buttons, lights, jacks, or anything else to distract the user. Conveniently, the same design principle prevents any splashes or spills from damaging ports and dirty hands from accidentally touching the power button.
Instead, all the inputs are located on the back near the bottom of the computer and the power button with its accompanying blue status light resides on the left side of the screen. There’s also an SD card reader easily accessible near the power button.
The screen is flush with the bezel, making the front completely flat and therefore easy on the eyes and more importantly easy to clean. Not having any edges means there’s no room for pathogens to make home and hiding from a disinfecting wipe for them is a losing proposition.
There is a convenient handle in the back to carry the thing around if you need to move it between rooms. The rear leg is solid and has a pleasant feel when folding it in and out.
Under The Hood: The P24 can be setup as a speedy computer with processing options including Intel’s 4th Gen. iCore CPU M-series & Pentium & Celeron. It can also handle up to 16 GB of memory, which is easy to add-on to thanks to an easily accessible rear panel. The issue that did frustrate us is how low the cable ports are on the bottom of the computer. If you plan on having it sit on a desktop using the adjustable rear leg, the USB and HDMI cables that might be plugged in will be pinched because the ports are too close to the bottom of the unit. If the computer will be hanging on a wall, off a pole, or something else in the hospital, this shouldn’t be an issue. Of note, the HDMI port allows the computer to run a monitor in addition to the one built into the system.
There are separate audio input and output jacks instead of the all in one jacks now commonly found on consumer devices. This can be both a benefit or a hurdle, depending on the situation, but in any case, you can always plug in just about any pair of headphones to get the audio out. Of course there are speakers built in as well, which are not the best for music listening since they are hidden in the back to make sure the computer is splash resistant.
It can be a bit noisy when the cooling fans are running, but that’s kind of expected in an all-in-one where high heat components that require active cooling are crammed close together.
There is an option to have a uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in the form of a battery included into the unit, which will keep the system running even if the electricity in the building cuts out. We didn’t get a chance to test this since our trial unit didn’t have the UPS built in.
Summary: We enjoyed using the Durabook P24 and really like the clean design. Features like the anti-microbial coating, spill resistance, the handle in the back, and a proximity sensor on the front for automatically dimming the screen are a nice touch. Being relatively light is also a big plus if you plan on moving the computer from room to room.
The location of the plugs in the back of the P24 should have been higher, but won’t be a concern if it’s attached to a cart or wall. The unit may also be noticeably noisy in certain environments, but that shouldn’t be a big concern for most clinical areas where noise is a norm.
Overall this is a well built machine with a lot going for it. The all-in-one form factor and its light weight make it a convenient choice that can be used in different areas and situations. The clinically relevant features, such as easy cleaning, make it a winner for healthcare facilities compared to regular all-in-ones. We would recommend this PC with the only reservation that your wires will prefer that it hangs on something like a pole of a medical cart..
Product page: DURABOOK P24…