Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Panasonic’s Truly “ToughBook”

panasonic toughbookThis notebook is literally almost indestructible. It can withstand 70-mph winds, 6-inches of blowing rain per hour, and being dropped from a height of 6 feet over 25 times. This notebook is none other than Panasonic’s ToughBook CF-31.

This tank like piece of machinery looks very similar to is rugged predecessor, but the inside of the CF-31 shows exactly how Panasonic has made some changes. This ToughBook features a Intel Core i5 processor that almost doubles the performance and increases protection without having to sacrifice any battery life. This laptop that is generally meant for government agencies and police forces is listed at $3,799. This is about $1,000 less than the original ToughBook, which should make this much more available to those that need the notebook.

The ToughBook almost looks like a toolbox when it is closed up. The lid, bezel, and handle are all made of a magnesium alloy that is surrounded by a hard black plastic. The lid is held up by a pair of heavy duty hinges, and when you close the lid there is a spring-loaded latch that firmly secures it to the base.

The notebook measures 11.9 x 11.5 x 2.9 inches and weighs 8.8 pounds. This obviously is not the kind of notebook that you slide into your backpack and head to class with. However, it isn’t that difficult to get around with, because Panasonic designed the notebook to have an easy access handle to make carrying fairly simple.

Panasonic has also stepped up the protection with the CF-31. This incredible notebook is able to withstand temperatures ranging from -20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit while operating and -40 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit when turned off. As I mentioned previously, it can withstand incredible wind, water, and drops from heights. It can also survive up to 310 pounds of pressure on its lid as well.

Besides protecting against the environment that the notebook will be placed in, it also provides you with great security. It includes a Smart Card reader, fingerprint reader, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2. It also features a conceal mode that turns off or dims the screen, all LED lights, and sounds immediately with a single press of a button.

The keyboard on the CF-31 is a great size and is fairly responsive. It is also backlit which is an incredibly useful feature. The touchpad is a little on the small size, only measuring 2.3 x 1.6 inches, but it is pressure sensitive which means that it can be used even when wearing gloves. A stylus is also built in if you don’t want to deal with using your finger.

The ToughBook features a 13.3-inch screen with 1024 x 768 resolution. This might seem kind of low compared to most other laptops, but it works great for the touchscreen applications.

The CF-31 has a variety of different buttons and ports including: four USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI ports with a SIM Card slot beneath, a power switch, fingerprint reader, SD Card slot, ExpressCard/34/54 slots, Wi-Fi switch, VGA, and DVD drive. A webcam is not included, but it is available as an option.

Performance wise, the CF-31 operates on a Windows XP operating system, has the latest 2.53-GHz Intel Core i5-540M CPU, and has 2 GB of RAM. The battery life was pretty good, lasting for 6 hours and 32 minutes.

Overall, the ToughBook CF-31 is quite an impressive notebook. I was first intrigued by the indestructible exterior of the laptop, but when looking at the inside, I was even more amazed. Yes, it is very pricey, but it is an almost unbreakable piece of machinery. Although it may not be practical for everyday use, I think that this is definitely great for someone in a line of work like the police force. This notebook is really interesting to read up on. It has so many different features that you don’t find in a regular notebook. Although its not for everyone, it is an extremely cool laptop that definitely deserves some recognition.

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