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It therefore comes as no surprise that the CF-Y5 sports an old school 4:3 aspect ratio screen, but it’s not so much of an issue here because of the increase in screen resolution. The screen is also a very good example with even lighting across the entire surface and not a dead pixel in sight. The viewing angle is also impressive on all planes. Unlike most notebooks that pass through the TrustedReviews lab, the screen on the CF-Y5 doesn’t sport a high contrast glossy coating, but since the ToughBooks are aimed at business users this isn’t surprising. Despite the fact that I quite like glossy screens, they can tend to be harder to work with in office lighting conditions, and if you’re not planning on watching any video on your notebook, a standard TFT may be a better option.
They keyboard has a very solid feel to it no matter how hard you strike the keys. Although there were some keyboard flex issues with early ToughBook Light models, the CF-Y5 exhibits no such problems. Each key feels completely separate from the adjacent ones, with a significant amount of travel and strong break. Panasonic has got the feel just about perfect with this keyboard and my only real complaint is the overly small Return key. The Spacebar is also small, but I can’t say that I ever missed striking it, even when typing at high speed.
But the best thing about the keyboard on the CF-Y5 is its resilience to liquid spills. Inside the chassis, the circuit board is completely sealed against water ingress, so if you happen to spill a glass of water over the keyboard while the machine is on, the liquid will simply drain through the bottom of the case. Having seen an Apple MacBook come out second best in a fight with a cup of coffee, I know how impressive this actually is. Of course if you happened to spill coffee or Coke over the CF-Y5 you’d still end up with very sticky keys, but if you’re smart you’ll rinse it through with water straight away, safe in the knowledge that more liquid won’t make matters worse.
Below the keyboard is Panasonic’s trademark round touchpad. Despite the odd shape, this touchpad works very well and it’s quite cool being able to scroll through documents and web pages by circling the touchpad. The touchpad is surrounded by a silver ring with left and right buttons along with indicator lights for hard disk activity, Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock.
Trusted Reviews is part of the Time Inc. (UK) Ltd Technology Network