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Panasonic Toughbook CF-19: Battery Life, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 - Battery Life

If you’re looking for a rugged and powerful laptop/convertible that will last you all day and then some, the Toughbook CF-19 is where it’s at. In fact, Panasonic’s claim of 10 hours is pretty much spot-on, as in our test it managed nine and a half hours.

Battery

(40 percent screen brightness, wireless radios disabled, mixed productivity)

573 minutes

Of course, it’s easier to provide this kind of battery life when you have a chassis as large as this to work with, and do keep in mind that using Wi-Fi and/or 3G will drain the battery quicker. The battery is a total piece of cake to swap out for a charged spare though. Simply unlock the protective flap and you can pull the battery out smoothly and insert another one just as easily.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 - Value

This is where the going gets tough, so to speak. The cheapest we could find the Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 at time of writing was around £2,700 inclusive of VAT, with a previous-generation ‘Sandy Bridge’ Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. Insane? Only if you don’t need it.

For comparison, a similarly rugged Dell Latitude laptop with similar specs and touch will set you back around £2,550, but that’s without a Wacom stylus or 3G – and of course that’s for a regular laptop too, as Dell doesn’t offer a rugged convertible.

Interestingly, Getac has a very similar convertible laptop to the Panasonic CF-19 in its line-up with its V100. Unfortunately, they’re also priced in the same ball park, though you can find the Getac V100 for about £300 cheaper.

As such, the CF-19 with its Panasonic brand reputation actually represents decent value. The one fly in the ointment really is that low 1,024 x 768 screen resolution, which can be a pretty severe limitation especially when working with modern software – frankly, we’re not sure it’s worth the advantages that the transflexiveness of this display brings.

Panasonic offers a less rugged 12-inch convertible which overcomes this limitation in the £1,700 CF-C1, but you’re giving up on some of that legendary durability. Getac seems to be a good alternative once again, as its V200 maintains fully rugged status with a 12-inch 1,280 x 800 screen. However, it also comes with a £3,300 minimum price tag…

Verdict

Fully rugged devices obviously occupy a niche in the market, intended for those who face potentially hostile working environments. Emergency and military services, field workers, those into extreme sports and the like are obvious markets, but this kind of device is also great for people who want to be able to work in harsh weather conditions or simply be sure that, no matter how clumsy they are with their laptop, it (and its data) will remain intact.

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It’s tough as nails and built like a brick. It’s absolutely stuffed with connectivity and features while offering superb battery life. And it has very little competition as it’s the one of a very few big-brand, fully rugged convertible tablet/laptops that’s widely available. However, its low screen quality and resolution are disappointing in a device this expensive.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 10
  • Design 9
  • Features 10
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 6
  • Value 7

AlecGold

February 3, 2013, 6:23 pm

I think you need to evaluate this laptop more like an engineer in the factory/gas&oil platform/in the field, or a maintenance/service guy.

Did you test this laptop outside on a sunny day? If you're doing repairs and want to look at a manual or drawing, the display is the best I've ever seen. Every other laptop I’ve used is rendered utterly useless with some sun.
If you use it in a car with a docking station, you'll like the big pixels, because it doesn't matter how nice Retina displays look, you'll want big letters and big touch-buttons to use it.

So it's really not looking very good, but there is good reason behind this madness. I went through a laptop every year or less (averaging 10 months) but this laptop has worked 15 months now and there has not been one problem with it. I expect and trust it to work at least another 3 years, after which I might replace it because I want a faster processor, but not because it has failed me.

Jason Hardie

October 22, 2013, 4:41 am

Yeah my collegue and I were talking about these computers. (the semi-rugged)
They are so much more expensive that by the time they paid themleves off they would be outdated.
I spoke to a guy at a PLC Hardware (www.plchardware.com.au) and he said that theyre really only good for use in factories and other similar environments. Not just becuase they are tough, but they have serial comm and they can easily plug into other HMI units. You can get them with XP Pro too which is a big factor these days for alot of engineering software.

cool computers though

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