Panasonic launch ‘Sexy’ CF-XZ6 Business Rugged Laptop

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Panasonic have launched their latest Toughbook – the business rugged 2 in 1 CF-XZ6 and it’s a device that once you’ve tried it you’ll fall in love with it’s lightweight, slim, stylish design and yet still appreciate it’s toughness.

The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t just a notebook, it is a detachable so can operate equally as a tablet as it can your daily laptop. I’ve held an early demo of the product and at just 1.18 kg it’s incredibly light. The tablet once detached is is super-light, weighing just 640 grams yet its business rugged design means Panasonic’s traditional low failure rates with the device designed to withstand drops of up to 76cm.

Who is it for?

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-XZ6 notebook is ideal for white collar workers that need computing power on the move. It brings the flexibility of a lightweight tablet with notebook functionality in a single device that can take the knocks and drops of business life. It is ideal for sales workforces across any industry, health professionals, market researchers, and those in government agencies.

The specifications

The CF-XZ6 comes with a 12 inch Quad High Definition display, which if you’re used to a 15.6″ widescreen sounds a bit small. Don’t be fooled though, for business use your widescreen will largely be wasted when your working on the typical landscape document and the CF-XZ6 12 inch screen, rather than being 16:9 ratio is a 3:2 with 2160×1440 pixels. The 1366×768 screen laptop I’m writing this on has 1,049,088 pixels but the CF-XZ6 boasts 3,110,400 pixels.

The tablet, has its own 4 cell battery and can operate standalone for up to 6.5 hours. The keyboard area has an additional, user replaceable, hot swappable, 4 cell battery delivering up to 14 hours in notebook mode. The device has an 8GB memory and 256GB of storage.

Another differentiator is the processor which is the latest 7th generation Intel Core i5-7300U vPro processor and the laptop comes with Windows 10 Professional. Don’t make comparisons with machines shipping the less powerful M processors especially when combined with the long battery life – Panasonic really have crammed the power and performance into this machine.

Panasonic never skimp on usability so the CF-XZ6 is designed for business use with LAN, HDMI, USB 3.1(Gen 1) Type C and USB 3.0. It is Bluetooth v4.1 and WLAN Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 equipped with a 4G LTE option. A Full HD Windows Hello capable webcam and 8MP rear camera are standard. You’ll also find the all important VGA port to complement the HDMI – this is a business machine so there a high probability that one day you’ll want to connect it to a projector and many of these older devices still sport VGA ports – with Panasonic you don’t have to mess about hunting for a converter cable at the last minute.

What makes the CF-XZ6 stand out from the competition?

You may well compare the CF-XZ6 with other devices on the market. Why for instance would you consider it in favour of a Microsoft Surface or similar machine? Well it depends what you want to use it for and don’t forget this is a rugged device.

What makes the device rugged is that it’s designed that way from the inside out. Consider your mobile phone or tablet – many people buy cases for them as they know they’ll be dropped so they try to protect their devices.

Panasonic Toughbooks don’t simply have a protection case (which is why you’ll see so many iPhones with cracked screens), inside everything is designed for toughness from the screen which floats in shock absorbing mounts so that the impact forces of a drop aren’t directly transferred to the screen. Internal components (especially heavy ones like the battery) aren’t directly connected to other components such as the motherboard – they are all electronically linked with ribbon cables which flex. The business rugged devices are built to withstand a drop of 76cm because that’s the average height of a desk and so the most likely height the notebook is likely to fall.

Attention to detail is an obsession at Panasonic when it comes to making their devices rugged, so much so that even the keys are laser etched which means the letters will never wear off your keyboard!

Is it a looker?

This is a business machine and, as Jon Tucker, Head of Product Marketing for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions, said it’s sexy. In fact it’s the sexiest product that Panasonic have ever brought to market.

That’s important because the last time you probably encountered a Panasonic Toughbook was perhaps when you broke down and the rescue mechanic dragged a Toughbook out of his van to diagnose what was wrong with your car. Toughbooks are traditionally rufty tufty devices and definitely not sexy, but this one is different.

Holding the Panasonic Toughbook CF-XZ6 detachable notebook for the first time said one thing to me… and that was ‘Apple’. It’s sophisticated, stylish and yet understated at the same time. The product shots don’t do it justice, this really is a stylish device worthy of the board room and yet rugged enough to stand the rigours of the work place. The detachable Tablet floats in your hand, but even when attached the entire notebook really is light enough to effortlessly hold one handed.

Should you buy the Panasonic Toughbook CF-XZ6?

Available to buy in July 2017, the CF-XZ6 will be priced at £1539 plus vat pitting it squarely in the Microsoft Surface price range. If you’re considering a Surface (which to be fair is a great product) think about how you might want to use it. Will the lack of physical ports annoy you? Would you prefer a superb keyboard? Will you be humping the device from meeting to conference to warehouse to boardroom and is it really tough enough to stand up to the rigours of daily life?

The CF-XZ6 is built to be tough, filled with power and comes with a 3 year warranty as standard. Panasonic offer a pick up, repair and return service from their facility in Cardiff compared with the 1 year warranty you’ll find on consumer spec products in the same price bracket.

My advice would be, if you’re in the market for a stylish but rugged laptop that’s going to last a good few years then before you buy a new device, get your hands on the Panasonic Toughbook CF-XZ6 and you’ll instantly see the attraction. Pictures don’t do it justice and this is a device that I really do want for myself once they are available to buy.



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