Panasonic’s Toughbooks are well known as super-rugged notebooks for specialised use. But there is a little more to the range than that, and the ‘business ruggedised’ line includes a number of machines aimed at the besuited business traveller who needs a little more solidity in their notebook than usual crop of machines can provide.
There are several options in the range, and I’ve been taking a look at the CF-T8.
The design is startling. The magnesium alloy casing can withstand 100kg/f of pressure and while I can feel some flex in the lid the outer casing is a long way removed from the display so there is plenty of protection as far as that is concerned. There are ridges on the outer casing which look distinctive and help disguise the overall thickness of the notebook.
Inside the keyboard and touchpad are spill resistant and feature a water drainage system. There is a carrying strap on the back of the shell which helps you balance the notebook in the crook of an arm when standing up. There is a touchscreen which you can use while standing – or sitting, of course. This is finger-responsive so there’s no need to fiddle with a stylus.
The notebook is surprisingly light at 1.3g, and quite small at 272mm x 214mm x 28-48mm. The thickness varies greatly with the deeper measurement at the back. This gives the CF-T8 a very sloping profile when on the desk.
There is no optical drive – but look around the CF range if you need one of these. The screen is relatively small at 12-1-inches, and a squarer shape than we are used to seeing these days. Its 1024 x 768 pixels seem somewhat behind the times.
The round touchpad looks distinctive and was not actually too tricky to get used to. You can equip the CF-T8 with mobile broadband, and Wi-Fi comes as standard. Windows Vista Business is pre installed and there’s a downgrade option to XP. There is no mention of Windows 7 at the Toughbook Web site yet.
The 160GB hard drive has shock proofing. Ports and connectors include three USB ports, Ethernet and modem, PC Card and SD and compatible card reader, monitor connector, headphones and microphone jacks and a port replicator connector. There is a manual toggle switch for wireless on the front edge of the casing.
There’s more about the Toughbooks here.