Panasonic ToughBook CF-C1 review

Reviews 7 Dec, 2010

Panasonic's latest ToughBook laptop is not only more rugged than other laptops, it also has a touchscreen. Is this enough to justify its high price? Read our review to find out.

3
Price: 
£1,684
ex VAT
Verdict: 
The ToughBook CF-C1 is very much a nice product. If you want a touchscreen computer but don't need to run Windows applications, an iPad would be a better choice. If you want a rugged computer but don't need a touchscreen, one of Panasonic's non-touchscreen ToughBooks would be better value. Even if you want a rugged touchscreen Windows computer, you'll have to put up with some peculiar hardware design choices, such as the cramped keyboard and touchpad. You'll also want to invest in the second battery to get the most out of it.

With all the fuss about tablets such as the iPad, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about convertible laptops such as the ToughBook CF-C1 that can turn into a tablet thanks to a twist-round and fold-back display. The ToughBook is also a ruggedised laptop so it can withstand more abuse than a standard notebook.

The CF-C1 is part of Panasonic's 'business ruggedised' range, so it can't survive dust and extreme temperature changes like Panasonic's 'fully ruggedised' models. Nonetheless, Panasonic claims the CF-C1 has been designed to protect the most vulnerable components – the hard disk, screen and keyboard. According to the Japanese electronics giant, the hard disk can withstand falls from a height of 76cm, the screen lid can withstand an evenly distributed weight of 100kg and up to 200ml of liquid can be spilled onto the keyboard.

Although we wouldn't want to abuse any laptop, the CF-C1 certainly survived our rough treatment unscathed. It continued to work after being pushed off the side of a desk onto a carpeted floor and after a 75kg man stood on it while the lid was closed. We also poured a glass of water over the keyboard and the CF-C1 continued to work, as the water was safely channelled away from the internal components and out of the laptop via two outlet holes on the bottom of the laptop. The screen flickered on and off until all the water was drained out, after which it worked normally.

Despite the robustness of the ToughBook, Panasonic's standard three year collect and return warranty doesn't cover accidental damage. The company does sell three, four and five year extended warranties though which do cover accidental damage, although these must be purchased at the same time as the ToughBook.

Specifications: 

Processor: Intel Core-i5 520M, 2.4GHz

Memory: 2GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics

Hard disk: 250GB hard disk

Display: 12.1in 1,280 x 800, LED-backlit touchscreen

Features: TPM 1.2, microphone, stereo speakers

Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Ports: 3 x USB2, VGA output, CardBus slot, 3.5mm headphone and microphone audio sockets

Dimensions: 298x223x57mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 1.5kg with one battery; 1.73kg with two batteries

Warranty: three years C&R warranty

OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit

BENCHMARK RESULTS

Image editing 121

Video encoding 95

Multiple apps 66

Overall 90

Light usage battery life - one battery 4h24m; two batteries 10h27m

Heavy usage battery life – one battery 1h31m; two batteries 3h03m

POWER CONSUMPTION

Idle 15W

Active 41W