Executive Toughbooks Updated

7-Series Toughbooks Unveiled - the perfect notebooks for clumsy people? Now Core 2 Duo powered.

Earlier this week Panasonic had the dubious pleasure of my company as it unveiled its new 7-Series range of semi-rugged Toughbooks at an launch event in Cologne, Germany. We’ve long been a fan of Panasonic’s Toughbook range and have had much fun trying our hardest to catch them out with various torture tests, such as pouring water over them, dropping them, and even driving over them.

These notebooks however are not of the fully rugggedised type, but are merely semi-rugged, which still means that they should be able to survive the assaults of even the clumsiest executive. Panasonic revealed that when it comes to damage, over 50 per cent of laptops are dropped, while liquid is the next cause of problems. These notebooks should take all of these things in its stride, being able to survice a fall of 76cm unharmed and having a specialist drainage system to keep liquid well away from the keyboard.

Panasonic chose to demonstrate this by first having two Parkour artists, leap about the stage while flinging the Toughbook about, and then moved on to dropping the notebook and then giving it a good soaking. All in a day’s work for a Toughbook.

(centre)”’The Panasonic Exec looks worried as he realises that if it breaks after he drops the Toughbook, it’s coming out of his pay packet. It didn’t break”’.

With a name like the 7-Series the notebooks might sound like BMW cars, but in fact they do offer plenty of performance, with notebooks now offering Core 2 Duo processors, due to the fact that all three notebooks are based on Intel’s Santa Rosa platform. All models now come with Windows Vista Business installed, though if required a Windows XP downgrade is available as an option. All three models also have integrated HSDPA modules for near ubiquitous conectivity. While all three have 80GB of hard disk as standard, as this is a drive that meets Panasonic’s strict vibration impact requirements, but 16GB and 32GD SSD’s are available as options on a project basis.

The CF-W7 features an Ultra Low Voltage, 1.06GHz Core 2 Duo on a 533MHz bus on the GM965 chipset, and up to 2Gb of DDR memory. It sports an 80GB hard disk, a DVD Multi drive and a 12.1in screen with a 1,024 x 768 resolution. It weighs in a 1.28Kg and Panasonic claims seven hours of battery life taken from the from Mobile Mark 2007 benchmark.

The nifty CF-T7 has similar specs, but has a touch-screen and a hand strap for use is aimed at field services and sales staff. It’s a touch heavier than the W7 at 1.39Kg and has the same seven hour battery life.

Both the CF-T7 and the CF-W7 will have a list price of £1,550 inc, VAT.

Finally, the top-of-the-range CF-Y7 has a more powerful 1.6Ghz L7500 Core 2 Duo CPU with a more substantial 4MB of Level 2 cache on a 800Mhz front-side bus. The 14.1in screen has an anti-glare coating and a 1,400 x 1,050 resolution. It weighs 1.55Kg and has five hours of staying power. It will be priced at £1,680 inc VAT.

We hope to get the CF-Y7 in to the labs soon, so look forward to the full review.