The last generation of Panasonic's ToughBook CF-52 proved its worth back in 2007. Having finally seen an update, we should rightly expect to be similarly impressed by its successor and on paper it looks like we should be.
The major addition makes the configuration options for the CF-52 rather odd, though. The standard screen choices for the CF-52 are either a 1,280 x 800 or 1,920 x 1,200 15.4in panel. However, there is also a 13.3in 1,024 x 768 touch-sensitive screen available which begs the question: does that display share the same chassis as the 15.4in alternative, or is it a different system altogether.
Internally things are easier to grasp - so to speak. Along with an update to the chipset inside the come a choice of two CPUs, either the 2.4GHz P8600 or 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo, with that choice tied to the screen selection; the faster processor coming with the higher resolution panel. Additionally, the slower chip also settles for integrated GMA4500MHD graphics, rather than the dedicated AMD ATI Radeon Mobility HD 3650 GPU coupled with the P8600 and 4GB of RAM and a 160GB shock-mounted hard drive round things off. Battery life is claimed at eight hours with the touch-screen, seven with the P8400 or four with the P8600.
Prices in the USstart at $1,700 rising to $2,550 with a touchscreen configuration. As ever with ToughBooks, though, if you need it, price probably isn't the determining factor in a purchase decision anyway.
Our friendly local Panasonic PR reps were kind enough to let us know that the CF-52 will be available in Europe from mid-February with prices starting at 1,851 (ex VAT). So now you know.