Panasonic ToughBook CF-U1 Rugged UMPC - Verdict

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic ToughBook CF-U1 Rugged UMPC

Summary

Our Score:

9

I've never been fully convinced of the merit of a UMPC. The problem with the platform has always been that a general purpose PC simply doesn't work in this form factor. However, Panasonic has taken the right approach, by creating a device that can be targeted at specific tasks, and has the potential to excel in the right environment.

If you're a field worker that needs a fully rugged machine, but doesn't need a fully featured notebook, the CF-U1 will make a perfect companion. The Atom platform gives this device a decent amount of grunt, while the dual battery setup makes for impressive operation times. The hot swap battery is the icing on the cake, meaning that you won't have to shut down in the middle of something important when you run out of juice.

The fully configurable nature also means that you can spec the CF-U1 with exactly what you need to get the job done. Ultimately, if you've been put off rolling out fully rugged ToughBooks to your team because of the high cost and heavy, bulky form factor, the CF-U1 is what you've been waiting for.

***Update***

Panasonic contacted me today to say that I had been given the wrong pricing for the CF-U1. Instead of the simply staggering base price of £900 ex VAT that I had initially been quoted, has now risen to £1,330 ex VAT, which is just short of a 50 per cent increase!

With this in mind I have lowered the value score by two points, but the rest of the scores still stand. The new, or should I say correct pricing, has actually placed the CF-U1 in the price bracket that I had expected it to occupy in the first place.

Whether the significant price increase affects your decision to buy the CF-U1 is debatable. As I've always said, you either need a fully rugged device or you don't, and price is usually a secondary consideration at best. However, it does mean that anyone who was considering kitting their field workers out with CF-U1s instead of CF-19s on the basis of price differential, may think twice.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 7
  • Features 9
  • Design 10

lams 007

July 9, 2008, 7:19 am

I´d like to have on. But i don´t need it.It's impressive. I think Panasonic ToughBook are also made for the army that have to be totally rugged.

Hans Gruber

July 9, 2008, 4:09 pm

"The Atom platform gives this device a decent amount of grunt, while the dual battery setup makes for impressive operation times," how long exactly?





Where's the DVD drive? ;)

Riyad

July 9, 2008, 4:24 pm

Try reading page three which mentions the dual two cell batteries and nine hour battery life - you tend to miss a lot of the detail if you just read the verdict and nothing else :)

ilovethemonkeyhead

July 9, 2008, 9:07 pm

hot swappable batteries are a brilliant idea - i find it incredible nobody else had thought of implementing it. i feel like going for one of these over an asus eee pc ;)

Hans Gruber

July 10, 2008, 12:58 am

I did actually read the whole article but clearly missed that bit. Typical I should miss the important bit. Thanks anyway.

Yakuzah

July 10, 2008, 7:39 am

Hey


No Word about the GPS? , i know its optional but i dont see it on any web site the review or sell them.

Riyad

July 10, 2008, 1:53 pm

I know that Panasonic offers GPS as an option on most of its ToughBooks, but I didn't see the option listed for the CF-U1. That said, Andy is attending the official launch of the U1 tonight, so he can ask about the GPS module there.

Yakuzah

July 10, 2008, 5:41 pm

Hey Riyad


take a look on this pathetic video make by panasonic about the new U1.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...


i was asking about the gps because i saw it on the video.

Riyad

August 1, 2008, 7:45 pm

They showed that video at the launch - it's hilarious :)





Yep, there's definitely a GPS module available, but I don't know how much it costs. Hopefully all this info will be up on the Panasonic site soon.





However, Panasonic informed me today that the pricing they originally gave me was wrong, and the device is actually 50% more expensive, which is annoying to say the least. I'm not convinced that the price increase will put off the target market, but Panasonic definitely needs to get it's pricing right in the first place, especially since I made a point of how affordable it was in the review!

Max Clifford

August 27, 2008, 1:50 pm

Warning, the lead time for first units has already slipped to END of September. Only orders placed early this month stand any chance of being fulfilled then too.


Useful guy at www.toughnrugged.com for any UK buyers. Prices and options all listed.

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