PANASONIC HAS revealed its latest heat-beating, weather-ignoring rugged device to be the Toughbook CF-20, a hardened 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid set for release in January 2016.
Built from magnesium alloy, with polymer and elastomer edge protectors, the detachable has been designed to meet the MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STD-461F military specifications as well as the IP65 standard for dust- and water-proofing, to prevent damage in dangerous or inhospitable work environments. Its SSD drive is also fitted with a heater, to keep it running in the cold, and all of its ports are sealed with rubber plugs.
The removable 10.1in touchscreen can be used with gloves, and houses the device's Intel Core m5-6Y57 vPro Skylake processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and 2600mAh battery. The screen itself is of the IPS variety, which makes for wider viewing angles and runs at 1920x1080 resolution. For the operating system, a choice of Windows 10 Pro or Windows 7 Professional will be available.
The Panasonic Toughbook CF-20 is brimming with ports, including one USB 3.0 port, one microSDXC card reader, an HDMI connector, an Ethernet port and a micro SIM slot on the tablet, plus two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a full-size SDXC card reader, another HDMI connector, a VGA port, another Ethernet port and a nine-pin serial connector on the keyboard dock.
Naturally, all the added armour bulks up the Toughbook CF-20 when compared to traditional un-rugged convertibles; it measures 272x234x33mm and weighs 408g. Still, having picked up and played around with it at a launch event, we were surprised at how portable it is, especially with the integrated carry handle.
It can also be fitted with a vast array of optional extras, from additional 256GB or 512GB SSDs, a fingerprint sensor, a stylus, insertable or contactless smart card readers, 4G LTE, a secondary battery inside the keyboard dock and even a "bridge battery", which would allow the main battery to be hot-swapped without the device losing power.
These would, however, bump up an already fairly steep starting price of £2,218 plus VAT. That's a lot of coin for something with a 1.1GHz dual-core CPU, though for hard-hatted members of the construction, excavation or demolition businesses, this could be just the thing. µ
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