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Panasonic says there is a demand for tougher notebooks for business travellers, and so have released the CF-52 as an offing in this space. With a 15.4-inch display and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the CF-52 is touted as a desktop replacement. The CF-52 also features Intel's Centrino 2 platform, including the ShirleyPeak 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi technology.
Alex Serpo travelled to central Australia as a guest of Panasonic.
Panasonic's new ToughBooks were launched amongst the rugged outback of central Australia, where dangers abound.
Panasonic is the market leader in the fully rugged notebook space, with customers including, Telstra, Sydney Water, National Foods, Coca-Cola Amatil, Bluescope steel, Mitsubishi Motors, and Ambulance Victoria.
This is the CF-W7, the more portable of Panasonic's two new semi-rugged business notebooks. The CF-W7 weights 1.4kg, and includes an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, a 120GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. It appears to be a piecemeal upgrade from its predecessor, and its price reflects the premium cost that comes with a hardened laptop.
The CF-W7 is available with an RRP of $3,600. Unlike the CF-52, it is based on Intel's first Centrino platform.
Locals in central Australia are friendly, and generally more comfortable around wildlife compared to city folk.
The Panasonic CF-52 and CF-W7 are not new laptops, but rather updates to Panasonic's previous offerings. ZDNet.com.au's sister site CNET.com found the previous incarnation of the CF-52 to be a solid offering.
The updated CF-52 includes a faster processor, improved wireless capability, a larger hard drive, and Windows Vista Business. The CF-W7 seems to include some small internal upgrades, but remains largely the same as its predecessor.
This image, along with the previous wildlife image, were taken using Panasonic's new CF-U1 ToughBook, which takes photos at a 640x480 resolution. See the next image for more details.
The CF-U1 is a newcomer to the ToughBook range, and can be likened to an armoured netbook. Running on an Intel Atom processor, the CF-U1 includes 1GB of RAM and a 5.6-inch LED backlit display. It also includes a couple of unusual and exciting features: a solid state drive and dual Li-ion batteries which are hot swappable.
The CF-U1's screen is very bright, and its large QWERTY keypad is easy to use once you become used to the key layout. The CF-U1 is available for an RRP of $3,500.
Along with its business range, Panasonic has also updated its range of fully rugged tablets for utilities and vehicle mounts. This is the smaller of the two tablets, the CF-19, with a 10.4-inch screen.
Performance on the CF-19 wouldn't be spectacular; its specifications are fairly low, including a 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. However, it does include a broad range of features such as a/b/g Wi-Fi, 3G, and a diverse range of inputs/outputs. Judging from its specifications, it would also have good battery life.
This is the second of Panasonic's fully rugged ToughBooks, the larger CF-30. Unlike its smaller sibling, the CF-30 cannot act as a tablet, working only as a regular laptop.
Specs on the CF-30 include an Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 1.6GHz processor, an 80GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM.
The term "fully rugged" refers to the ToughBook's IP54 certification, which protects against dust and "splashing water".