So, what is it that makes the CF-29 so tough? Well to start with the entire shell of this machine is constructed from magnesium alloy, making it shock proof, knock proof and downright clumsy idiot proof. The hard drive is encased in foam cladding and secured inside an aluminium frame for ultimate shock resistance. The result is that that CF-29 can be dropped from a height of 90cm and remain intact. To test this claim I took the CF-29 out into the TrustedReviews car park and proceded to drop it, repeatedly from different angles. The only concession I made was to lay a piece of old (and very thin) carpet on the ground to save it from undue scratches – after all, I had to send it back to Panasonic at some point!
As you can see from the animated gif, the CF-29 drops hard onto its corner and then bounces to the side before coming to a rest on its base. Despite all the drops the ToughBook continued to work faultlessly – in fact I’m writing this review on it right now. Now, you may not think that 90cm is very high, but in the majority of cases, it’s unlikely that a notebook will fall from any greater height. If it happens to slip out of your hands, off your lap or get knocked off a table, the CF-29 should have no problem surviving and carrying on as if nothing had happened. If you wondering why Panasonic has guaranteed drop resistance to 90cm, it’s because that’s what is required by the US military.
While on the subject of the US military, I may as well mention the fact that a semi-rugged Panasonic ToughBook managed to stop a bullet during a fire fight in Iraq. Apparently when the fighting broke out a US soldier held up his ToughBook to protect himself – obviously raising his rifle and firing back was too much trouble – and a bullet struck the notebook and lodged in the hard drive. Of course there’s no word on the calibre of the round, or the distance that it had travelled before impact, but I imagine that the solid construction could have saved his life. Maybe the British troops should carry ToughBooks to protect them from friendly fire!