Panasonic CF-Y5 Toughbook laptop
A Navy SEAL of notebooks... a lumberjack of laptops
Review The CF-Y5 sits at the executive end of its Toughbook range, which if you're actually a stubble-sporting, rugged type, is realistically nearer the bottom of any table of toughness. So you won't be able to drop it down a crevice in the Antarctic and still expect to send an email.
But if you fancy yourself as one among the more extreme of the executive elite, you'll be able to safely throw it on the back seat of your Ford Mondeo with careless abandon and still successfully send an email.
As the Toughbook is the only brand of laptop Panasonic makes, you'll find the rugged bits developed for the top-end titles soon trickle down to the lighter, less reinforced models. Thus making the executive range of the Toughbook series considerably more resilient in comparison to most other laptops: you can drop it from about 15 inches or spill a glass of water over the keyboard without voiding your warranty.
And it can withstand about 100kg of force - roughly the weight of a middle-aged sales executive...as long as he distributes his weight evenly. (However, the manufacturer recommends that if you do want to stand on your Toughbook, you should place a book on it first.)
There is actually a quite unusual reason why the Y5 and Panasonic's other executive Toughbooks (the T5 and W5) were built to withstand 100kg. Apparently, Japanese customers were complaining that the Tokyo underground trains were so packed full of passengers that their laptops were literally buckling under the pressure. So engineers went to investigate armed with a pressure gauge in a shoulder bag and discovered that on a typical journey they were getting their noses pressed against the window with about 70kg of rush-hour force. Thus it was set as the benchmark. True story.
Twice, I have seen a Thinkpad hit the floor. These were open, in use, and somebody caught the power cable while walking past. Meeting room table, concrete floor coated in thin office carpet.
In both cases, the owner picked up the machine, confirmed it wasn't damaged, and carried on working. The smart hard-drive protection has a lot to do with it, but the stiff screen casing and flexible sytem case helps too.
If it was my money, I'd buy one.
"I envisage a company out there that makes 386-based laptops out of granite, that can withstand a nuclear blast and dunking in acid"
That company exists - or existed - and it was Panasonic! The old ToughBooks were invincible. Feller I know used to have one. Wasn't massively powerful, but he once demonstrated its toughness to me by dropping it on the floor, kicking it across the room, smacking it off the worktop a few times and running a tap over it. He then opened it up and went right back to his letter. Needless to say, I was impressed.
For a ToughBook, or at least the ToughBooks I know and love, this sucker looks rather weedy.
This is a bottom of the range model
Panasonic do make some really tough notebooks, but you'll pay 4 or 5 grand for them.
Check it out
Yes, I know the IBM gimmick, and I've seen it too.
And when our (60? kg) team leader tried it, she cracked the screen. Needless to say, IBM replaced the machine FOC.
Yes, just like with the toughbook, you *can* do it if you position your feet over the edge of the machine. But in the middle, they're still pretty 'bendy', which I assume Panasonic has dealt with.
Out of curiousity, who makes real ruggedised laptops? These "toughbooks" have the air of a sports utility vehicle. I envisage a company out there that makes 386-based laptops out of granite, that can withstand a nuclear blast and dunking in acid - the kind of company we never, ever heard about, but that exists and sells to the government.