Panasonic introduces the world’s first rugged detachable notebook, the Toughbook CF-20

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The Panasonic CF20: A rugged notebook intended for outdoor use
The Panasonic CF20: A rugged notebook intended for outdoor use

Last night saw the UK launch of the latest Panasonic Toughbook at the Shangri-La Hotel on the 34th floor of London’s iconic Shard skyscraper. I went along for the great views over the city of course (it was a beautifully clear evening), but also to get my grubby mitts on what the company bills as the world’s first fully rugged detachable notebook, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-20.

First impressions are very favourable. Although it’s unlikely to survive being dropped off the 34th floor (in fact it would probably kill someone if it landed on them from this height), it’s perfect for many companies who need computing power out in the field. Everyone in fact from car breakdown services such as the AA and RAC to railway workers on the tracks to those working for water utility companies – though it’s water resistant rather than completely waterproof so don’t go dropping it in reservoirs and hoping it will survive!

Featuring a 10.1inch WUXGA (1920x 1200 pixels) touchscreen and running Microsoft Windows 10 Pro with Intel Core Processor (4Mb cache, 1.1GHz up to 2.8GHz with Intel Turbo Boost), the new Toughbook can be used in various configurations and is even suitable for workers who need to operate touchscreens wearing gloves.

Using the built-in handle, the device can operate hanging on a wall, on the arm or while being carried. It can also operate as a regular notebook or in presentation mode. The only thing we struggled with is getting the stylus pen out of a slot on the side of the device!

Panasonic CF20: The handle makes it very easy for carrying around.
Panasonic CF20: The handle makes it very easy for carrying around.

To ensure up to 14 hours of use there’s a battery powering the tablet and another optional battery that can be inserted into the keyboard to double the capacity. What’s more, the batteries can be also be swapped over while in operation without losing what you are working on.

Tipping the scales at 1.76Kg in notebook mode (the detachable tablet weighs 950g), it’s not exactly the lightest device around, but then it’s not meant to be. The CF20 will be available in January with a price tag of £2218 + VAT (with three year warranty).

In the YouTube video below, Paul Davidson, Panasonic Toughbook’s Corporate Sales Manager, talks about the features of the world’s first fully rugged detachable notebook. Apologies about the sound – it was quite noisy with several launches going on at The Shard last night!

Chris Price