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Serial Port in laptops: 2024 guide

Olga Weis Olga Weis
Nov 23, 2021

Manufacturers of portable computers strive to make each new generation slimmer and lighter without loss of performance and battery life. And it comes at a price — they had to withdraw every piece of hardware that is unlikely to come in handy to a statistically average user.

notebook with serial port

How to add a serial port to a laptop?

For those who are unable or unwilling to invest a hard coin into rugged laptop with a COM port, there are two ways to add a COM port to their laptops.

With the specialized application, e.g. Virtual Serial Port Emulator you can create any number of virtual COM interfaces. Those virtual serial ports fully imitate all physical parameters of the real RS-232 ports so it’s a good fit for connecting all those serial interface equipment in your lab or workshop. Also, this app will be of great help to serial port software and hardware developers needing a powerful testing and debugging tool.

The main benefits of this solution are:

  • Stable and reliable connection;
  • Ultra-fast data transmission;
  • No extra hardware or cables required;
  • No limit on the number of virtual COM ports you can create;
Try Virtual Serial Port Emulator for laptops
14-day free trial

Step-by-step guide on virtual COM port emulation using Virtual Serial Port Driver

Click here to download Virtual Serial Port Driver from the official website, then install it on your computer.
Run the application and go to the "Pair" tab.
Click "Add a new pair" and choose the names for your new virtual COM ports from the dropdown list or manually type in any custom names of your choice.
Once you click the "Create" button, you’ll see two new serial ports in your system’s Device Manager.
The easiest way to add some serial ports to a laptop is software emulation.

USB to COM port adapter

USB to Serial Adapter

For those who prefer hardware solutions, there is a wide range of USB to serial adapters available on the market. But before you can start using one of those, you’ll have to download and install the appropriate driver (usually available from the official manufacturer’s website).

NOTE: Some of the latest generation low-cost adapters only have Windows 10 drivers.

According to the most popular retail platform, top 5 USB to COM port adapters are:

  1. Sabrent USB 2.0 to Serial (9-Pin) DB-9 RS-232 Converter Cable with Prolific Chipset

  2. Benfei USB to RS-232 Male (9-pin) DB9 Serial Cable with Prolific Chipset

  3. Tripp Lite Keyspan High-Speed USB to Serial Adapter

  4. DTECH 10 Feet USB 2.0 to RS232 DB9 Serial Port Adapter Cable with FTDI Chipset

  5. UGREEN USB 2.0 to RS232 DB9 Serial Cable Male A Converter Adapter with PL2303 Chipset

Best 10 laptops with Serial Ports in 2024

Laptops are designed for portability, reliability, and efficiency. Hence, numerous professionals (from many specializations) rely on them at one point or another. However, for some users whose profession demands durability, laptops that still have serial ports are a valuable asset.

What is a laptop/notebook with serial ports?

Serial ports are usually located on the back of a device, and connect to hardware like a mouse, modem, printer, or network. They’re a more durable connection-style than a modern USB, thus making them an ideal feature for those working in more extreme climates, weather conditions, or physically demanding professions.

When searching for a new laptop with serial ports, there are more options than you think. You don’t have to sacrifice power for durability, and this article will share our top 10 modern laptops that still have serial ports for 2024.

How to shop for a new laptop with serial ports

Even though serial ports are considered outdated hardware, shopping for a laptop with this feature can be overwhelming. There’s a large selection to choose from, with varying options ranging from “semi-rugged”, “ fully rugged”, to “business rugged”.

As always, the best way to choose the device that’s right for you is by getting crystal clear on your specific goals and needs.

  • Are you outside a lot?
  • Are you often exposed to harsh climates or environments?
  • Would you use this laptop regardless of weather conditions?
  • Do you need digital devices to survive a fall—if so, how far of a fall?

There are many factors and features to consider, but with such a wide variety to choose from, there is a device that will do everything (and usually more) that you need.

Our top 10 2024 notebooks with Serial Ports

Now it’s time to delve into our top 10 picks for laptops using serial ports. Each of these options have a variety of elements to consider, but we’ll cover the basics of price, pros, cons, and some specs.

Note: The laptops below are in no particular order of preference, as each tool has strengths and weaknesses that vary based on the use case.

For example, being that serial ports are not the most commonplace feature on the modern laptop, certain brands will show up more than others (HP laptop with serial ports are no longer manufactured, so the only way to get one is by buying it 2nd-hand—hence we won’t be including it on this list due to its scarcity.)

The Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme Tablet

This is a great Dell laptop with serial port 2024 option because Dell states it’s fantastic in all weather and light-conditions. Alongside its durability, it offers helpful features like a hot-swappable battery, and a luminous HD touch screen.

Classification: Rugged Extreme
Specs: Intel Core i5-7300U, Intel integrated graphics, SSD, 8GB RAM, and 256GB NVM
Price: $1,900.00+

Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extremer

icon pros Pros.

  • Great for users who prefer touch inputs;
  • VERY durable;
  • Offers many add-on options.

icon cons Cons.

  • Touchpad isn’t the most responsive (especially in wet conditions);
  • Slow HD video encoding.

The Dell Latitude 5424 Rugged

This semi-rugged machine is meant for outdoor work with a little less risk. While definitely way more durable than a civilian laptop, it trades some of it’s survivability for computing power, and convenient features like a face recognition webcam that is compatible with Windows Hello.

Classification: Semi-rugged
Specs: Intel® Core™ i5-8350U Processor, 8 GB, 2 x 4 GB, DDR4, 2400 MHz, 500 GB Storage, Windows 10 Pro, Dual Band Wireless, Bluetooth
Price: $1,400.00+

Dell Latitude 5424 Rugged

icon pros Pros.

  • Touchpad is very responsive;
  • Lightweight;
  • 3-year warranty.

icon cons Cons.

  • Only semi-rugged;
  • Not good in blowing rain or blowing sand.

The Rugged Dell Latitude 5420

Designed to be durable, this notebook offers an incredibly bright 1080p display, touchpad, and scored well in a variety of durability tests including a 3-ft drop.

Classification: Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-7300U 2.60GHz, 256GB SSD, 16GB (8+8), 13.1" XGA Touch Screen LCD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DVD Drive, Dual Pass, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $2,000.00+

icon pros Pros.

  • Ultra bright 1080p display;
  • Super long battery life;
  • Extremely durable against the elements;
  • Optional fingerprint reader.

icon cons Cons.

  • Very expensive;
  • Frustrating Stylus holder;
  • Heavy.

The Dell Latitude 7424 Rugged Extreme Laptop

A very durable laptop with a beautifully bright display but a poor-functioning touchpad. It’s excellent for both extreme weather exposure and rough and rumble driving.

Classification: Fully-Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-8350U 1.7GHz quad-core 7th-Gen, 512GB PCIe SSD, 16GB, 1920 x 1080 LCD WVA, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
Price: $3,000.00+

Dell Latitude 7424

icon pros Pros.

  • Bright screen;
  • Almost indestructible;
  • Long battery life;

icon cons Cons.

  • Not the best touchpad when using fingers instead of stylus;
  • Lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port;
  • Expensive.

The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® 31

What this notebook lacks in computing prowess, it all but makes up for with his ultra-rugged durability. Capable of surviving a 6-foot drop, it provides great computing power that can take a beating.

Classification: Fully-rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-7300U 2.60GHz, 256GB SSD, 16GB (8+8), 13.1" XGA Touch Screen LCD, DVD Drive Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Dual Pass, and Windows 10 Pro
Price: $2,800.00+

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® 31

icon pros Pros.

  • Extremely durable;
  • Locking port covers;
  • Very customizable;
  • Stylus included.

icon cons Cons.

  • Additional cost for accidental warranty coverage;
  • Not the best computing capabilities;
  • Very heavy.

The Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® 55

Super portable, this notebook offers a stunningly bright display, privacy cover, and tons of battery life. Beautifully designs, it’s an excellent option for a variety of rugged environments.

Classification: Semi-rugged
Specs: Intel® Core™ i5-8365U vPro™, 512GB SSD, 8GB, 14.0" HD LCD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $2,000.00+

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK® 55

icon pros Pros.

  • Privacy cover;
  • Bright monitor display;
  • Thin and lightweight;
  • 40-hr battery life (with the optional second battery).

icon cons Cons.

  • Not as rugged as other notebooks;
  • Expensive swap-in models.

The Panasonic Toughbook 33 (2021)

This laptop is a great option for those mainly using them in vehicular applications like law-enforcement. Durable, and does not limit visibility on a dashboard, it offers a great display and more than enough ports for any application.

Classification: Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-10310U, 1.7 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, SSD, 512 GB Boot drive, 12” display, 60 Hz, Intel UHD Graphics, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $3,300.00+

Panasonic Toughbook 33

icon pros Pros.

  • Bright screen;
  • Ultra rugged;
  • Long battery life;
  • Great for vehicle-centric applications.

icon cons Cons.

  • Very expensive;
  • Not lightweight;
  • Small touchpad.

The Durabook S15AB

A highly durable laptop with a bright and spacious display of 15.6”, it offers military-level certifications, a comfortable keyboard experience, and exceptional connectivity capabilities.

Classification: Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-8265U, 1.6 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, SSD, 256 GB Boot drive, 15.6” screen, 60 Hz, 4G, Bluetooth, 802.11ac, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $1,500.00+

Durabook S15AB

icon pros Pros.

  • Extra large screen;
  • Affordable;
  • 3-year warranty;

icon cons Cons.

  • No touch screen;
  • Lacks biometrics;
  • The fan is very loud.

The Durabook S14I

With excellent and efficient computing power, this notebook with serial ports offers a comfortable working surface that can handle practically anything you can throw at it.

Classification: Fully-Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i7-1165G7, 2.8 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, SSD, 512 GB Boot drive, 14” display, 60 Hz, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $3,000.00+

icon pros Pros.

  • Great security features;
  • Great performance;
  • Very durable;
  • Super affordable.

icon cons Cons.

  • Small wireless range;
  • Not very portable;
  • Bulky.

The Acer Enduro N3

A great, lightweight notebook for on-the-go use. While the display is not the best on our list, it’s very affordable, portable, and provides excellent battery life.

Classification: Business Rugged
Specs: Intel Core i5-10210U, 1.6 GHz processor, 8 GB RAM, SSD, 256GB Boot drive, 60 Hz, Bluetooth, WifFi, Windows 10 Pro
Price: $1,000.00+

Durabook S15AB

icon pros Pros.

  • Light and portable;
  • Affordable;
  • Great battery life.

icon cons Cons.

  • Not as durable as other options on our list;
  • Not the best display;
  • Dust can get into it.

What is a Refurbished Notebook with Serial Port

How to choose the right option for you?

Refurbished notebooks are computers returned (for any number of reasons) to their place of purchase. However, a refurbished machine and a used machine are not the same thing.

Whereas a used notebook is just that (a laptop used by someone else and being resold without any guarantees of it’s quality or condition), refurbished notebooks undergo a series of rigorous steps (most often by the original manufacturer) prior to being put back on the market.

Refurbished Notebooks are:

  • Scrubbed of the previous users data, files, etc
  • Carefully inspected for quality, condition, and damages
  • Thoroughly cleaned inside and out
  • Have hardware and/or software upgrades
  • Expertly repaired (if necessary)
  • Usually come with an extended warranty

When it comes to choosing a refurbished notebook with a serial port, here’s what you need to keep an eye out for:

  • Find refurbished notebooks with extended warranties
  • Check the reviews
  • Research the best deal (making sure you’re actually getting a great machine for a great price)
  • Thoroughly review the specs to ensure it has a serial port (and any other features you need)
  • Familiarize yourself with the return policy

So Many Options = Endless Opportunities

As you can see, the market for laptops with serial ports is vast and capable of fulfilling your specific needs. We hope this article has given you a healthy list of products to consider, as any of these choices are reliable, durable, and powerful.

You can have the convenience of a laptop without the fragility, ensuring your productivity is never hindered by weather or a less-than-gentle work environment.

From inside a busy warehouse to the dashboard of a police cruiser, notebooks with serial ports are a durable option with a surprising variety to choose from.

Top choice

Virtual Serial Port Driver

  • Rank 4.9 based on 367+ users
  • Requirements : Windows 7/8/8.1/10/11 (32/64-bit), Windows Server 2012/2016/2019/2022, Windows on ARM. 6.55MB of free space.
  • Version 11.0.1047. (4 Apr, 2023). Release notes
  • Demo Limitations: 14-day fully-functional trial
  • Languages: English
  • Pricing: Starts from $139.95
  • The registered users of the previous version can upgrade with a 50% discount. Learn more