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Panasonic's Toughbook Series of Computers - An Overview

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/3/2011

Not all business is handled in an office environment, so you need a computer that can work where you do.

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    You won't find a Tougher line of computers...

    Not all business is handled in an office, and that’s why you need a computer that can hold up to ‘field work’ and still keep running. Panasonic makes a line of ruggedized notebook computers called Toughbooks, and they are designed with specifications far beyond anything you’d find in some plastic-cased laptop. These notebooks truly are tough, hence their very appropriate name.

    There are currently five different classifications of Panasonic Toughbook computers: Business-Rugged, Semi-Rugged, Fully-Rugged, Vehicle-Mounted-Rugged, and Ultramobile-Rugged. Depending on your needs, one of these machines should be the right match for you. Even the semi-rugged model is many times tougher than the average laptop computer.

    All of these computers are housed in magnesium alloy cases that protect them from heat and help with shock absorption. One of the big selling points in this line of machines is that you could knock one off a table while it was running and it would keep on running. Part of how that works is the hard drive is mounted inside a cushioned bracket that allows for plenty of moving around. This greatly helps keep the hard drive from harm’s way.

    The business-rugged line of Toughbooks are made for professionals who need a computer that can handle being moved around a lot, and would be a great choice for executives or salespeople who do a lot of travelling. A standard laptop in a plastic case tends to take a beating after a lot of travel, even if you keep it stored inside a bag. Panasonic offers three different versions of this class computer.

    The semi-rugged line of Toughbooks are made for people who need a tough machine that can handle rougher environments, like the outdoors, but don’t want all the weight and cost of the fully-rugged computers. At my work, we have dozens of these in use every day in police cars, and they hold up quite well even in all the southern Mississippi heat.

    The fully-rugged series of Toughbooks are designed for combat. I’m not joking. These things are quite simply the toughest notebook computer you will ever encounter. They are quite heavy because of all the hardware inside, but they are practically indestructible. I’ve seen one survive a high speed collision from inside a police car. They are designed to work in desert heat or cold mountain air, and can take all kinds of abuse and keep working.

    The vehicle-mounted-rugged series are mainly a camera system integrated into a PC to provide video in areas where video is not easily attained. The Toughbook Arbitrator incorporates infrared technology, wide angle viewing, and a powerful zoom lens. You can’t hide from this thing.

    The ultramobile-rugged line features one Toughbook PDA that puts an incredible amount of power right in the palm of your hand. It features fingerprint scanning, a camera, and a GPS, plus it’s fully ruggedized to handle drops, rain, or whatever kind of abuse you might put it through.

    The Panasonic Toughbook series of computers may not be cheap, but they will last a long time and not wear out like a standard laptop. If you need a computer in an environment that normally is not friendly to PC’s, then you should seriously consider investing in one of these truly tough machines.