When purchasing a laptop for the family, a college student, or for a business, the choice is fairly broad. Consumers who are more Apple inclined, will most likely go for the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or, for something in between, a 12 inch MacBook Retina.
PC users, on the other hand, have also some interesting, and very attractive choices, when in the market for a new portable computer. With Microsoft having released its brand new flagship Surface Book, alongside the fourth iteration of its Surface Pro tablet PC, consumers have two more cool devices to keep in mind, as well as the vast array of touch-enabled ultraportable, hybrid and tablet PCs from other manufacturers, such as Sony, Samsung, and more.
The specs available swing broadly, from entry-level devices, to powerful, high-end desktop replacements, and gaming laptops, such as MSI’s recently unveiled Skylake-powered G-series gaming laptops.
Meet the beast: Panasonic CF-20 Windows laptop
With that said, customers who are in the market for something a bit more rugged, are in for a treat, with Panasonic’s latest Toughbook CF-20 Windows 10 laptop.
While it’s true that fully-rugged laptops have a reputation of being tough as nails, but low on performance, the CF-20 brings about a refreshing change, with specs that are certainly impressive for a product within this category.
The CF-20 is powered by a 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y57, but don’t let the low clock speed fool you, as the CPU, like the rest of the internal hardware, is passively cooled, and optimized to operate smoothly and efficiently in extreme conditions, with an IP65 dust and water resistance rating. In plain English, you can literally spray this laptop with a high-powered water hose, and then continue working on your Excel spreadsheet afterwards.
By the same token, this rugged beast can also be dropped onto concrete, from waist height. The detachable tablet component can also withstand a fall from a height below the shoulder, also over concrete.
The connectors available offer quite a range: USB3, SDXC, HDMI, VGA, Serial and Ethernet, as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The detachable tablet portion comes with a stylus, as an additional input method besides fingertips.
The touchscreen display on the CF-20 features a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels. The screen’s maximum brightness goes up to an eye-searing 800cd/m2.
As a comparison, the typical HDTV features a maximum brightness of 350cd/m2, most laptops can reach up to 400cd/m2. Only a handful of big screen televisions can brighten up a room up to 1000cd/m2. This means that the CF-20’s display is visible in virtually all lighting conditions, including in direct sunlight.
Don’t expect a discrete GPU on this laptop, as it would be, if anything, a hindrance on the battery life, however the integrated graphics chip embedded in the Intel Core m5 is quite sufficient for most intensive tasks, within the purpose of a rugged laptop.
Panasonic claims all-day battery life for the CF-20, which is not hard to imagine, since the laptop has barely any moving parts, however, cranking up the brightness will considerably eat through the battery. With that said, this rugged monster has an ace up its sleeve, which is a secondary battery pack that kicks in when the main one is depleted, adding 8 more hours of usage. Still, when setting the brightness all the way up, Windows 10 estimated usage still drops down to only 3 hours.
The CF-20, much like its predecessor, the CF-19, is a laptop that is designed to deliver high performance, in extreme environments, where battery-life ranks high in the list of priorities. For instance, engineers and architects can edit and examine building plans and electrical wiring blueprints, as CAD drawings, while standing in a construction zone.
The most common uses range from law enforcement and other types of first responders, to expeditions crews in extreme, or inhospitable environments.