Panasonic will announce tomorrow the upcoming January launch of the Toughbook CF-20, the worlds first fully rugged detachable laptop. I was lucky enough to get to see one at Panasonic’s event in London this evening.
The world is changing and whilst tablets are taking away market share from laptops, there’s not much that can replace a standard keyboard. That’s why every tablet from Microsoft’s Surface to Apple’s iPad have all made keyboards available for their devices.
It’s not just a keyboard that business users want however, it’s VGA and or HDMI ports, it’s battery life and cases. The Toughbook 20 comes with all that and more and best of all you don’t even need a case to keep it in, with it’s built in carrying handle and IP65 water proof and dust proof construction it is in effect it’s own laptop case.
The Toughbook 20 is surprisingly light weighing in at just 1.76kg, it looks and feels like it should much heavier. The detachable tablet is just 950g.
Without a ton of accessories to carry around, this is one tough baby and it’s designed to withstand knocks. The laptop can happily survive a 1.2m drop, but detach the screen to use as a tablet and it’s even more hardy, the tablet can be dropped 1.8m onto a concrete floor and it’ll happily bounce and carry on working – Think of doing those stock checks and dropping it from the racking and that’s a guaranteed broken tablet from other vendors but it’s what Toughbooks are built for.
The Toughbook CF-20 is no slouch when it comes to computing power either, boosting the 6th Generation Intel core vPro processor technology, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD and shipping with Windows 10 (with the option to downgrade to Windows 7 if you really must!)
One of the ever present problems with tablets and laptops is battery life and Panasonic have this covered. When detached, the tablet has a battery and you can add an optional battery to the keyboard base. Even better you can hot swap the batteries (without turning the tablet off) during the day so you’ll never have a flat tablet when you need it most.
The 10.1″ 10-finger multi-touch 1920×1200 pixel screen is designed to operate in all conditions. If you’re working outside the latest IPS panel technology is designed for everything from bright sunlight to heavy rain. In fact the laptop will survive water jets from all angles so knocking your coffee over it won’t leave you buying a replacement. More importantly if you’re checking off deliveries and the winter storms arrive, a bit of snow or rain will just wipe off – this device is designed for all weathers.
6 Modes of operation
The CF-20 is designed for versatility. Rebecca May from Panasonic’s Toughbook Group explained it can be a tablet, a regular notebook, flipped for presentation mode. Using the inbuilt handle it can be hung on a wall, be carried by the handle, or there’s even a vehicle mode to allow full use whilst on the move. Add the optional 4G LTE and U-Blox 8 GPS modules and it’s a fully functioning sat nav as well.
Price and availability
If you’re in the market for a rugged device that’s both a notebook and a tablet hang on until January 2016 when the Toughbook 20 will be released (if you are based in Europe it’ll be February before you can get your hands on one). Cost will start at £2218 plus VAT including a 3 year standard warranty. The chances are you won’t need the warranty though, this is one tough baby.