The screen is a superb example sporting an impressive 1,600 x 1,200 resolution. This is more desktop real estate than the majority of desktop monitors provide and certainly makes for a very pleasant working environment. This is only the second notebook that I’ve ever seen with a 1,600 x 1,200 display, the other being an IBM ThinkPad, but I wish that other manufacturers would follow suit. There’s no fancy high-contrast coating on this screen, but then a ToughBook isn’t really meant to be used for gaming or movie watching. As notebook screens go, this is one of the best I’ve seen, coming second only to the handful of 1,920 x 1,200 widescreen examples that I’ve encountered.
Inside the CF-51 is a 2GHz Pentium M CPU backed up by 512MB of memory. As already mentioned there’s a free SO-DIMM slot, so you can augment the memory post purchase without the need to discard any modules. There’s an 80GB hard drive which should keep you happy for a good while.
Being a Centrino branded machine there’s obviously an Intel branded WiFi adapter thrown in, and it’s good to see that Panasonic has gone for the top end card that supports 802.11a, b and g. This complements the integrated Gigabit Ethernet adapter that will give you lightning fast network connectivity, if you have a Gigabit switch in your office of course. Bluetooth is conspicuous by its absence however.
Taking a look around the chassis you’ll see that the right side is dominated by the DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive. I don’t often see these anymore, with pretty much every notebook I come across fitted with a DVD writer these days. The front is adorned only by the headphone and mic sockets, battery and charge indicator lights and the modular hard disk caddy.