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Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 semi-rugged notebook

The Captain Scarlet of mobile PCs?

Performance-wise, the CF-51 turned in some pretty good numbers. Running MobileMark turned in a battery life of over three and a half hours - not the best I've seen but definitely respectable. Running a DVD movie turned in a time of just over three hours, but I doubt that too many Toughbooks would be used for such duties.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 MobileMark Battery

Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 MobileMark DVD

Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 MobileMark

The overall SYSmark 2002 score of 225 isn't too far off the 241 scored by the similarly specified Samsung X50, which isn't a semi-rugged device. Ultimately, the CF-51 will handle pretty much anything you're likely to throw at it, which it good since the high resolution screen lends itself to multi-tasking.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-51 SysMark

This version of the CF-51 is so new that it's not actually on sale yet, but Panasonic quoted me a street price of £1551. That's not bad considering what you're getting, but it's obviously more expensive than a similarly specified non-rugged notebook. With a machine like the CF-51 you've really got to ask yourself if you're willing to pay for the comfort of knowing that your notebook can withstand the odd knock, or even drop. If you are worried about both your investment and your data security, then the CF-51 will look attractive.

Verdict

If you're worried that you might damage your notebook, the idea of a semi-rugged device makes sense. The Toughbook CF-51 has a lot going for it, especially the excellent 1600 x 1200 display, although the bizarre shrunken Return and Backspace keys are a concern. And the absence of Bluetooth is a real disappointment. Of course, you can find a regular notebook with a better specification for less money, but it comes down to your priorities - and how clumsy you are, I guess.

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Panasonic Toughbook CF-51
 
Rating 70%
 
Price £1551 inc. VAT
 
More info The Toughbook CF-51 site

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