Many people may not consider Panasonic to be synonymous with notebooks, but if you look a bit more carefully you’ll find that in the world of rugged and durable notebooks, Panasonic is very well known indeed.
The Toughbook range has been very successful for Panasonic in the past, and if you ever see any British Telecom engineers at work, there’s a good chance that they’ll be tapping away at a Panasonic Toughbook.
But it’s not just field engineers who want rugged notebooks. Anyone who uses a computer on the move regularly will know that it’s all too easy to bash it by accident. To this end Panasonic is producing some new Toughbooks that are semi-rugged but retain an air of light-weight and small form factor.
This is a great looking notebook and even if it wasn’t more rugged than other ultra-portables it would probably still earn many fans.
The entire body is constructed from magnesium alloy, allowing the unit to withstand drops from up to 30cm. The hard disk and screen have also been shock dampened to withstand bumps and knocks on the move.
The CF-W2 uses Intel’s Centrino technology which means a low voltage Pentium M CPU and integrated 802.11b wireless networking. The processor runs at 900MHz and helps to turn in a stunning estimated battery life of 7.5 hours. The screen is a 12.1in TFT affair with a native 1,024 x 768 resolution.
With a weight of 1.3kg and dimensions of 268 x 41.5 x 210mm (WxHxD) it’s quite amazing that the CF-W2 has a DVD/CD-RW combo drive inside it. Don’t expect a standard tray mechanism though. Sliding a switch on the left of chassis makes the left palm rest flip open revealing the optical drive. This can only be described as extremely cool.
The RRP is just over £1,900 inc VAT, but you’ll probably find it for less on the street. Even at the RRP though it’s not massively more expensive than the branded competition, and you won’t be quite so scared every time you accidentally knock it.