Panasonic Toughbook: Not an ordinary laptop18 Sep 2010
Panasonic unveiled five new Toughbook laptops in India, earlier this week. The new Panasonic Toughbooks: CF-31, CF-19, CF-C1, CF-F9, and CF-S9, are tougher than regular business or consumer laptops, and run on Intel Core i5 vPro processors and Windows 7 operating system.
But Panasonic Toughbooks aren't for every business professional -- certainly not for predominant office use. You see, the Panasonic Toughbook range of laptops can't be compared with a Dell Vostro 3400, HP ProBook 4520s, Lenovo ThinkPad T400s or an Apple MacBook Pro, without putting the Panasonic Toughbook at an inherent disadvantage. Because in essence a Panasonic Toughbook isn't meant for extensive office desk work.
A Panasonic Toughbook laptop is a mobile computer mainly for outdoor use, reknowned for being subjected to and used in the most harsh outdoor conditions. Panasonic Toughbooks survive physical abuse that's unthinkable on a regular business laptop. Panasonic Toughbooks can withstand "vibration, drops, spills, extreme temperature and other rough handling," said Mr William See, General Manager, Toughbook Asia Group, while unveiling the five new CF-series Panasonic Toughbooks in India. And independent reviews in the past verify these claims to certain extent. What goes into making a Panasonic Toughbook is explained in detail on Panasonic Toughbook's website -- possibly more than any other computer manufacturer -- where a Toughbook is claimed to withstand drops up to six feet, rain, oil, pressure, dust and extraordinary swings in temperature.
I personally haven't reviewed a Panasonic Toughbook yet, and for laptops with very good build quality and ruggedness, the unibody aluminum Apple MacBook Pro and Lenovo's Thinkpad X-series of laptops immediately come to mind. I have seen the Lenovo ThinkPad T400s fall off a desk -- when ON -- and survive the drop, with no visible damage. No problems, it worked just fine. But a Panasonic Toughbook is designed and engineered to withstand much more; for a start all Toughbooks have a magnesium-alloy case.
So who generally uses a Panasonic Toughbook? Workforce undertaking geological surveys, heavy industrial users, military personnel, etc., basically people who are out in the field (and not in the office) and who need a tough, ruggedized portable laptop computer to work with.
Due to their rugged, tough build quality, and capacity to withstand harsh environmental conditions, the Panasonic Toughbooks are costlier than your regular office laptop. Hence, if you're thinking of buying a Panasonic Toughbook for use in a confined office space, you would be wasting your money.
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