Panasonic ToughBook CF-W4 Review - Panasonic ToughBook CF-W4 Review

Below the keyboard is a round touchpad. Now, I’m not usually a fan of strangely shaped touchpads since they often make pointer manipulation a pain, but this is one of the best examples I’ve ever used. Despite the unusual shape it’s easy to move the pointer to anywhere on the screen simply and quickly. Although most notebook touchpads are pretty good these days, this one just feels that bit more sensitive and accurate. Surrounding the touchpad is a silver ring which houses the left and right selector buttons and four indicator lights – hard disk activity, NumLk, CapsLock and ScrLk.

The ToughBook CF-W4 is Centrino branded, but it doesn’t have one of the new dual core chips in it. What you do get is a 1.2GHz ultra low voltage Pentium M backed up by 512MB of DDR2 memory. The 40GB hard disk could be bigger, although it’s unlikely that an ultra-portable notebook user will need more than this.

The Centrino branding means that you’ve got an integrated Intel wireless adapter, in this case the Pro/Wireless 2915ABG, which provides 802.11a,b and g support. There’s also a 10/100Mbit Ethernet adapter and a 56K modem thrown in for good measure, but Bluetooth is conspicuous by its absence.

Graphics come courtesy of the Intel integrated chipset, which will grab some of your system memory. With this in mind, you might want to factor in a memory upgrade at purchase – there is a spare SO-DIMM socket allowing for an increase to 1GB of RAM.

On the right side of the chassis you’ll find the Ethernet port and modem socket hiding behind a rubber bung, along with two USB 2.0 ports. At the front is the power/open switch for the optical drive, a hard switch for the wireless adapter, a headphone socket, a microphone socket and finally the power switch. The power switch glows bright green, which is a pleasant change to blue.

At the left is a PC Card slot, an SD card slot, the power connector, a D-SUB port and a port replicator socket. The rear is completely barren, since half of the back is taken up by the battery.

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