The CF-74 is the first dual core ToughBook to make it into the TrustedReviews lab. There’s an Intel Core Duo T2400 nestling inside the CF-74 – this chip runs at 1.83GHz and is more than capable of handling pretty much anything you care to throw at it. If there’s a disappointing side to the specification, it’s the somewhat stingy 512MB of RAM. My advice would be to specify at least 1GB of RAM at the point of purchase, saving you the trouble of upgrading later.
The 80GB hard disk is encased in a shock resistant caddy, and Panasonic claims that it can withstand the force of a 90cm drop – I can assure you that this claim is well founded, having dropped this very notebook multiple times from that height. Graphics duties are handled by the integrated Intel 945GMA chipset, so you won’t be playing games on this machine, but then that’s not what it was designed for.
Considering the weight of an average desktop replacement notebook, the CF-74 isn’t that heavy. In fact, with a weight of 2.7kg, it’s relatively light considering how robust it is. The dimensions of 303 x 60 x 293mm definitely make it larger than your average machine, but the fact that the carrying handle negates the need for a case more than makes up for its size.
When it comes to performance you have to remember that the components inside a ToughBook are chosen for their reliability, not their speed. That said, the Core Duo in the CF-74 definitely gives a good account of itself and if it had been coupled with more system memory, it would have produced an even faster score. The SYSMark 2002 score of 275 isn’t that impressive when compared to similarly specced mainstream notebooks, but when you consider that the CF-29 only managed 192 with it’s single core 1.6GHz Pentium M, it’s clear that Panasonic has moved the game on.