Panasonic ToughBook CF33 Review: It is rugged and strictly meant for rough usage
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Most high-end notebooks or 2-in-1s are robust only to an extent and are not meant for rugged use. Panasonic’s Toughbook and Dell’s Latitude Rugged are better equipped in this regard and can survive a few accidental drops or splashes of water without stressing out. Panasonic is taking the Toughbook series to the next level with the new CF-33, a 2-in-1 notebook which can double up as tablet when required. Priced at Rs2,70,000, the CF-33 is ideal for users who require a genuinely rugged laptop, such as those working at construction sites, industrial units and in law enforcement.
Here are the key highlights before you decide to splurge on it.
■ The CF-33 is a clunky notebook with a thick magnesium chassis, which can survive drops form a height of 1.2 metres and weight of 100kg. It comes with IP65 rating which makes it splash-resistant as long as all the ports are closed. Panasonic has provided thick plastic covers for all the ports on the keyboard and the display. This will not win any beauty awards, is not meant for anyone wanting a slim laptop, and the thickness is there for the purpose of ruggedness.
■ It tips the scales at 2.7kg, which is very high by the standards of a 12-inch screen notebook. Even without the keyboard, it weighs 1.53kg and is not the lightest computing device to carry around. The tablet is heavier than the keyword. As a result, every time we tilted the screen back, the notebook also toppled backwards.
■ Panasonic has added a stretchable handle at the side of the keyboard base so one can carry the notebook comfortably in one hand, something akin to a case.
■ In terms of connectivity, the notebook ticks most boxes and offers separate HDMI, USB 3.0, LAN ports and memory card slot on both the keyboard and the tablet, so one can access them any time.
■ The CF-33 runs Windows 10 and is powered by Intel Core i5 (7th Gen) chipset with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. There is no HDD storage option, but storage can be expanded with microSD and SD cards. The notebook is powerful enough for most customised apps that users in different professions might require, but due to lack of discreet graphics, you can’t run graphic-intensive apps on it.
■ Battery back-up is impressive. The dual batteries are packed inside the screen, which explains why it weighs more than the keyboard. Together they can muster 9 to 10 hours of backup on one charge on non-stop use.
■ The 12-inch screen looks bright and has a resolution of 2,560x1,440p. The viewing angles are good, but the screen is a bit reflective.
■ Keyboard is a mixed bag. The keys look big, well-spaced and are slightly bulged, resulting in comfortable typing experience. However, they are not backlit and the touchpad underneath it is too small and difficult to use.
Toughbook CF-33 belongs to a rare breed of truly rugged notebooks which can be used in rough conditions. The fact that it can be used as tablet when required makes it even more viable for field workers.