The rough with the smooth
The PCMark 7 and 3DMark06 scores of 2173 and 4120 respectively were wholly unremarkable and in the case of the latter, wholly irrelevant because this clearly is not a machine you buy to play Crysis 2 on. The flip side of those lightweight numbers is that the CF-53 Toughbook is both very quiet and very cool even when running under load.
PCMark 7 Results
Longer bars are better
Panasonic reckons the battery is good for 10 hours and it is not far wrong. With the screen brightness set at 60 per cent and the Wi-Fi radio on, I easily managed to get to the 7hrs 30m mark, even when three of those hours were spent watching HD video. Run Futuremark's new Powermark battery benchmark and you get a result of 3hrs 42m but that’s the power-use equivalent of taking hold of someone’s goolies and squeezing very, very hard.
Made for the long haul
Built like Hadrian’s Wall and likely to last just as long, the Panasonic CF-53 Toughbook is perfect for anyone who wants a laptop for use beyond the office and domestic bliss. The bright non-reflective screen is ideal for outdoor use and the chunky battery means you won’t be forever searching for a power socket. For the price though, I’d really like to have seen a standard-fit webcam, a backlit keyboard and maybe even a 3G modem. ®
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Panasonic CF-53 Toughbook
For that money I'd also want an SSD, which considering how suitable they are to rugged applications is a surprising omission.
For the price though, I’d really like to have seen a standard-fit webcam
I wouldn't. The reason why a webcam is not standard is probably that a major part of Toughbook customers are in the defense/security sector where webcams are a simple no-go.
I do agree with the backlit keyboard, though, this should be standard on such a device. And there really should have been enough room budget-wise for a SSD instead of a hard drive.
Personally I also miss the availability of a keyboard with trackpoint. Unfortunately Panasonic doesn't offer this (GE has some rugged laptops with it, though).
Why don't normal laptops have handles?
Why? It seems to make sense and even Apple did it once.