Like the CF-Y5 before it, the CF-Y7 is an incredibly light machine – not by ultra-portable notebook standards, but compared to other similarly sized notebooks, the CF-Y7 is an absolute feather weight. Take for example Apple’s MacBook which is a 13.3in laptop that weighs 2.3kg, but bizarrely has a reputation for being a thin and light machine – the CF-Y7 is a larger notebook than the MacBook, with a higher resolution screen, but weighs only 1.55kg! This makes the CF-Y7 a great mobile companion all day, every day.
Panasonic has managed to make the CF-Y7 so light because this is a company that takes its R&D very seriously. Last year I flew over to Japan to see Panasonic’s notebook R&D and manufacturing facilities, and it was very impressive how much time goes into the development of the ToughBooks. In fact it’s worth remembering that Panasonic is the only “big brand” notebook vendor that actually manufacturers its own machines from start to finish. The vast majority of notebooks out there are made by a handful of Taiwanese or Chinese ODMs, regardless of the badge on the outside.
The CF-Y7 chassis is constructed from a very light magnesium alloy, that’s also very strong. Despite the thin and light nature of this machine, it can withstand 100kg of pressure on its lid – this is a minimum requirement that Panasonic instituted into its ToughBooks to survive commuting on the Japanese underground systems.
The design of the optical drive also aids weight saving. Yes, it looks very cool when the right side of the wrist rest flips open to reveal the integrated DVD writer, but the lack of tray and loading mechanism means that this drive is significantly lighter than anything you’ll find in a competing notebook.
Aesthetically I’ve always liked the ToughBook Executive line, although it’s not quite as sleek, slim and svelte as some thin and light machines out there. If you’re wondering about the bulges on the lid, they’re there to allow for that 100kg of pressure without the screen breaking. The synonymous matte silver finish has a timeless elegance about it, much like the matte black finish favoured by ThinkPads. There’s a central catch for the lid making it easy to open with one hand, and although many notebooks forego a lid catch altogether these days, Panasonic wants to be sure that the CF-Y7 closes securely – this is a ToughBook after all.