This morning, TrustedReviews published their review (along with some amazing videos/animation) of the Panasonic ToughBook CF-74. The Panasonic ToughBook is exactly what it sounds like, a semi-rugged laptop.
The CF-74 they reviewed is the updated version of the CF-74, based on Intel’s Santa Rosa platform (the CF-74 was introduced over a year and a half ago, but has been updated to Santa Rosa, with new CPUs, with all other features remaining the same).
Among the features of the ToughBook CF-74:
– Durable case, made out of Magnesium Alloy
– Liquid/spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad
– Communications options include CDMA, EVDO, or EDGE, with an external SIM slot for other carriers.
– Shock-mounted Hard Drive
– 13.3″ non-widescreen daylight-readable, touchscreen.
While this weighs almost twice as much as some laptops with 13″ displays (and costs twice as much or more), people aren’t buying these for their offices, they are buying these because they have certain requirements for a laptop – to quote the review:
Although the CF-74 is only classed as semi-rugged, it can still survive its fair share of knocks, bumps and drops. In fact the last ToughBook CF-74 that I looked at didn’t seem to have any problem with being dropped from around a metre, as the image below highlights. Panasonic states that the data on the hard disk will remain safe even if the unit is dropped from 90cm, so it’s good to see that there’s a little headroom in there, in case your desk is a little bit higher than that.
The CF-74 also has doors protecting the majority of ports and connectors, while the keyboard is spill resistant. That doesn’t mean that you should use this machine out in the pouring rain, as you would a CF-30, but it does mean that you won’t have to worry about spilling the odd glass of water on it, or using it in a dusty environment. On the whole, this notebook is close to perfect for the majority of field workers, unless you absolutely, positively need your computer to keep working, no matter how extreme the conditions.
To get any more durable/rugged, you have to pay quite a bit more and add quite a bit more weight.