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Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 Review: Rough-and-Tumble Laptop

Panasonic Toughbook CF-52
You might think that sturdy and consumer friendly are mutually exclusive qualities in a laptop. Panasonic has proven that notion wrong with its Toughbook CF-52. This semi-rugged notebook keeps the tough-as-nails qualities of its predecessors while adding features like discrete graphics and cutting-edge processing power. But keep in mind, the add-ons add up fast, and a fully equipped laptop could set you back quite a bit.

The CF-52’s thick magnesium alloy chassis qualifies it as semi-rugged. Panasonic claim it can withstand a one-foot drop onto plywood. The unit has a spill-through keyboard with a porthole that drains through the bottom of the laptop. (At Panasonic’s request we didn’t test these features, so you’ll have to take their word for it.) Plastic snap-on covers shield the CF-52’s four USB ports and Express Card 34 and PC Card slots from water and dust. The hard drive and dual-layer DVD burner are easily removable to protect data in a pinch. All these precautions add up weight-wise, but the CF-52’s briefcase handle makes it a little easier to lug around the 7.4-pound load.

The CF-52 also offers plenty of consumer friendly features. Its 15.4-inch widescreen features 1,920-by-1,200 resolution: overkill for that size but a godsend for multimedia tasks. Panasonic didn’t cut corners, opting for a discrete ATI graphics card, the newest Centrino Duo parts, and 1GB of RAM. Battery life is fantastic, lasting 5 hours 15 minutes on MobileMark 2007. My review system came with an optional fingerprint reader and smart-card slot module. An internal EV-DO Rev A cellular modern is another great add-on.

The CF-52 integrates some nifty media aspects into a sturdy laptop. If you’re willing to pay a premium, this notebook promises to see you through some tough times.

Specs: 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T700 processor; 1GB DDR2 SDRAM; 120GB, 5.400-rpm hard drive; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 HD graphics card; 15,4-inch 1,920-by-1,200 widescreen; 7,4 pounds system weight (9.2 pounds travel weight); 85-Wh, 7.65-Ah, lithium ion battery, Windows XP professional.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 Review
Price range: $3,300 street

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Comments on "Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 Review: Rough-and-Tumble Laptop"

 

Anonymous Rugged said ... (13 janar 2009 në 5:42 e pasdites) : 

Panasonic toughbook cf52, even though it may be on the more expensive end it's one of the more durable...if I had the coin I would totally pick one up

 

Anonymous Rugged laptop said ... (13 janar 2009 në 5:44 e pasdites) : 

Panasonic toughbook cf52, even though it may be on the more expensive end it's one of the more durable...if I had the coin I would totally pick one up

 

Anonymous Anonim said ... (13 qershor 2009 në 3:52 e pasdites) : 

I started using a CF-52 about 9 months ago. I came across this review while surfing another issue, and decided to post my experience. Which has been much better than I expected.

My day job is IT Planning. I was agains the Panasonic when we were deciding on notebooks, and really liked the new Dell E6400 instead.

After the project we kept our demo units, because we didn't get around to selling them for IT Beer money. (You IT guys know how it works!)

So I loved my new Dell when I first got it, but two issues became _very_ disapointing. After 2 months the Battery life dropped. It was terrible. Way worse than we expected, despite what the review say. And the embedded cellular Internet coverage was pathetic. So bad that lots of users can't stay connected to the VPN. (These problems plus some build quality issues have caused big problems with our sales team, but Dell has started to work with us to address the problems.)

Anytway I was traveling and accidentally left my E6400 at a regional office. I needed something to use while they sent it back so I took one of the demo CF-52s. I don't mind saying that it changed my mind.

It's a really excellent computer. We bought 20 test units for a trial, so since then and now they've all been claimed by other guys on my team. Even to the point of buying two extras when we added headcount.

Remember that they really are expensive machines, so buy the Dell if you need cheap. But I had to say that the battery life on my CF-52 is still great after a year. And the embedded Internet cellular is always solid. My GF uses it when we go skiing in the mountains and phones barely work. I also carry it by the handle, and people are always asking about it. I don't know why Toughbook doesn't advertise this computer more, because its a well designed machine. I also don't think that you can buy them unless you get them through a company which is why you'll never see one at Best Buy.

 

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