Should a "toughened" laptop find a place in your truck?

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Should a "toughened" laptop find a place in your truck?

For someone working on building sites where there's dust, moisture and bumps, we'd suggest looking at a "rugged" laptop. So what do you get for your money?

Ruggedised notebooks aren't just for the military. The right device can find a place in your truck or ute and provide access to email and the web as well as the applications you use for designing and planning your work and running your business.

Who needs a ruggedised notebook?
  • builders
  • surveyors
  • tradespeople
  • engineers
What do you look for?
  • strong construction
  • drop tested
  • water and dust resistant
  • covered ports to prevent contamination

Panasonic's ToughBook name is a synonym for toughened notebooks. Not everyone needs a notebook that can handle being run over by a tank so it's important to make a decision about how ruggedised a device you need. The tougher the device, the more you pay. For a tradesperson working on building sites where there's dust, moisture and the chance that the device will be dropped the we'd suggest that the Toughbook CF-53 is a good fit.

You can read our review of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 here. The machine starts at $2,200. So what do you get for this sort of money?

The specifications are solid without being near the bleeding edge with Core i5 processor running at 2.5GHz, 4GB of RAM (which can be doubled), a 320GB hard drive and Windows 7. None of this sets the world on fire but it's good enough for common office-type tasks. The screen is 14-inches (measured diagonally from corner to corner) and there's an option for a daylight-viewable display designed for use in bright sunlight.


Panasonic's CF-53: designed to pass drop and pressure tests

The CF-53 is described as semi-ruggedised. It can withstand a drop from 76cm and up to 100kg of downward foot pressure. The keyboard is spill resistant and it has been tested to nine MIL-STD-810G standards. The Magnesium Alloy case is solid and you need a bag for the CF-53 as it has an integrated carry handle.

In the real world, the CF-53 works well, as our review confirmed. As well as WiFi and Bluetooth, the CF-53 can also work on 3G networks as it has a SIM card slot. That means it can stay connected just about anywhere. We didn't have any trouble connecting to wireless networks. Performance was solid. If you use any complex apps like CAD tools then we'd suggest bumping the RAM up to maximum of 8GB. What really impressed us in our earlier testing was battery life.

Panasonic's Toughbook CF-53 is a solid performer with a strong body that will survive the rigours of many environments that would leave tablets and other notebooks in tatters.


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