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One area where the CF-19 really excels is battery life. Running Mobile Mark 2005 resulted in a battery life of over seven hours, which should mean that an engineer could take the CF-19 out with him/her in the morning and not have to worry about finding a power socket all day. It’s also worth noting that the battery life on the CF-19 is over an hour better than the outgoing CF-18.
Likewise the PCMark score jumped significantly from what I saw on the CF-18 at 2173 over 1863. Obviously the newer dual core CPU will account for much of this, but even the hard disk and graphics portions of the test showed marked improvement. I didn’t manage to get SYSmark to run on the CF-18, but the CF-19 certainly didn’t let itself down with a score of 190, although that could easily be improved upon with more system memory.
Of course it’s worth remembering that even though the CF-19 has improved on the benchmark set by the CF-18, the notebook game has moved on considerably since then. The CF-19 compares favourably to its outgoing sibling, but it’s a way behind the scores turned in by average Core 2 Duo notebooks these days. But as I’ve always said, a ToughBook isn’t about system performance, it’s about a package that you can rely on, no matter how harsh the environment you use it in.
Price wise, the CF-19 actually comes in slightly cheaper than the CF-18, although at £2,325 including VAT it’s still far from cheap. If you want the integrated HSDPA module, the whole bundle will set you back £2,843 including VAT. Those numbers may look scary, but what you’ve got to remember is that you only buy a fully rugged ToughBook if no other notebook will take the abuse you’re likely to throw at it, and that’s what you’re buying into, durability.
Panasonic invests a lot into R&D and testing into the ToughBook range, and much of the technology used inside these machines was developed by Panasonic’s own engineers. I’ve been curious for a while as to just how tortuous the testing regime is at Panasonic’s ToughBook facility in Japan. So, to satisfy my curiosity I’ll be flying out to Japan at the end of the month to meet Panasonic’s ToughBook designers and engineers, and see just what they put each model through before signing off on it. Of course I’ll be writing a full report when I get back.
If you want a reasonably small and light notebook that will stand up to almost anything you’re likely to throw at it, the ToughBook CF-19 is just what you’re looking for. The keyboard doesn’t lend itself to writing long reports or essays, but this machine is more likely to be used with bespoke applications for data entry out in the field. With the option of an HSDPA module, engineers and field workers will now be able to communicate and send data back to the office even faster.
If however you’re looking for something that is tough as nails and can be used to write long documents just like any other notebook, you’re probably better off waiting for the forthcoming ToughBook CF-30, which I’ll be reviewing soon. Ultimately, the CF-19 makes a few ergonomic sacrifices for the sake of weight and size, while throwing the tablet style operation into the mix, and if that’s what you need, look no further.
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