Panasonic's Toughbooks make for popular notebook PCs among military and business users for obvious reasons, but most consumers who desire a notebook with bleeding-edge hardware usually tend to shy away from them because of their last-gen specifications. However, this is all set to change with Panasonic's newest addition to the Toughbook family, the semi-rugged CF-53, which is powered by…yep, Intel's Sandy Bridge platform. Looks like good things really do come to those who have the patience to wait, after all.
Most of us are slaves to our notebooks when it comes to being productive while on the move, but more often that not, the cheap notebooks which most of us use as our primary mobile workhorse are seldom, if ever designed to handle the abuses of the outside world. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to claim that an 'accidental' mishap that involves physical trauma is more than sufficient to see screen, body and battery part company from the device that was previously called a 'notebook'. In fact, such mishaps are the main reason rugged notebooks like the Panasonic Toughbook are in such high demand among careless professionals, and leave it to Panasonic to delight Toughbook fans with its latest addition to the lineup – the semi-rugged CF-53.
Acording to the press release issued by Panasonic, the 14-inch Toughbook CF-53 is packs a multitouch-capable touchpad that is 25% larger than the ones found on previous versions of the Toughbook and an "adjustable backlit keyboard" that is meant to assist users who often use their notebooks under poor lighting conditions. Additional features present on the CF-53 include the use of a spill-resistant keyboard, a "high-definition LED display" and the ability to survive 30-inch drops on six faces unscathed, due to it passing nine MIL-STD-810G tests. Finally, the CF-53 will come standard with USB 3.0, VGA and HDMI ports and an SDXC card reader, along with an integrated 3G modem from Qualcomm.
However, the CF-53's real draw stems from the fact that it is powered by Intel's Sandy Bridge platform, and Panasonic has confirmed that the CF-53 will be available in three different configurations. The US$1,599 model is due for shipment in August and will feature an Intel Core i3-2310M processor clocked at 2.1GHz, a 320GB mechanical hard disk with a platter speed of 5400rpm along with 2GB of memory.
The i5 model, on the other hand, costs US$1,899 and is expected to start shipping in June. It will pack an Intel Core i5-2520M vPro processor clocked at 2.5Ghz (3.2Ghz on TurboBoost), a high-performance mechanical hard disk with a platter speed of 7200rpm and 320GB of storage and 4GB of memory. In addition, a touchscreen-capable version of the i5 model is available, although it will only start shipping in July and will set consumers back by US$2,449.