back to article Think you’re hard? Check out the frozen Panasonic CF-54 Toughbook

Thinner, lighter, harder. Pick any two right? Not according to the flacks from Panasonic who reckon the new CF-54 Toughbook is all three and more. In fact, they are suggesting that the CF-54 is the first semi-rugged laptop you may just want to splash out for, even if you are just a regular consumer. Albeit one with deep …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The old one was tough as old boots..

    Still, cheaper than replacing a broken lappy every two weeks...

  2. PerspexAvenger


    Nothing says "confidence in one's product" like not allowing (or at least showing) demos of the protective features it's designed-for...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge


      When you compare that to the abuse El Reg has subjected the so called tough phones:

      And the traditional Xperia dunking:

    2. SolidSquid

      You might have a point, reminds me of the cleaning product sales folk in Scotland who do their best to ignore queries about whether it gets out Irn Bru (it doesn't. Nothing does without also removing the colour out of whatever it was spilled on)

      1. Richard Taylor 2

        Yup, my hands are still a patchy yellow, and as for the dog....

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Ok being picky....

    but that freezer bit...

    A freezer should be around the -18 mark, yet it's rated at "only" -10....was there bit of sales fluffing going on perhaps?

    Always liked the Panasonic's, they can take a decent kicking.

    1. AIBailey

      Re: Ok being picky....

      I think they meant that the laptop will work in ambient temperatures down to -10. It will heat up the HDD/SSD should their temperature be considered too low (which in this case would be true).

      Note, the laptop wasn't switched on in the freezer. It was brought out of a cold environment (~ -18c) and then operated at room temperature.

  4. returnmyjedi

    Are witches' nips cold? I always assumed they'd be warm and/or prickly.

  5. John H Woods


    That sort of money buys half a dozen refurb 16GB i7 Thinkpads T410/T420s with SSDs.

    If you have to work in truly adverse conditions, something like this could well be worth it. But for nearly all other situations, having a more expendable device; a couple of spares; and keeping nearly a grand saved up in the bank would seem to be preferable.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      It depends what the downtime would cost you.

      Having a drill rig out of action for a couple of weeks while they fedex you a new macbook is a little pricey.

      We did have one customer who rejected our £1500 rugged palm devices and just bought boxes full of £50 Dell Axims. We had another that picked up our Toughbook and kicked it into a rock pile - it still worked so they were happy and bought the product.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ouch

      Agree with above. If you have a engineer in the field and you have to recall him because his laptop fell off the van seat, then that could cost you a lot more than the expense of the laptop.


    3. fruitoftheloon
      Thumb Down

      @John H Woods: Re: Ouch


      Not unless all of those 'spares' are ready to go 24/7, stored in the same base location as ALL of the field workers and can somehow be transported (Star Trek stylie) to the field the very second one of them dies.

      Hence 'tis not really a substitute in the target markets methinks...



      1. John H Woods

        Re: @John H Woods: Ouch

        I agree with everything you are all saying, but I was really contesting the perspective of the article which seemed to me to be epitomized by this:

        "In fact, they are suggesting that the CF-54 is the first semi-rugged laptop you may just want to splash out for, even if you are just a regular consumer. Albeit one with deep pockets."

        and this:

        "Still, at least you’ll be getting a laptop that you can safely let the kids loose on from time to time and even pass it on to them when the time comes"

        and this:

        "Probably the most useful feature to the man in the street is the swappable DVD drive and battery"

        So 'ouch' was a little dumb for a post title, because it looks like I'm saying there's no need for anyone to buy devices like this. But there's no way I'd buy something like this without having very specific requirements, and I didn't think that was really reflected in the write up. Possibly the reviewer was disadvantaged by the sales people being averse to allowing testing of many of the claims regarding impact, drop, and spillage - if Panasonic are as confident as they should be, this reluctance doesn't put the product in the best possible light.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: @John H Woods: Ouch

          Equipped a former CEO with a toughbook because he got quite "managerial" if he was on a world circling trip to dozens of customers and his laptop had an accident. Compared to the price of his 1st class tickets and hotels it was negligible.

          More recently I just get the sales people MacBook Pros, have all their work in the cloud and tell them to just go to the nearest Apple store and get it swapped if it goes wrong. If you compare a Macbook to a similar top end laptop and add instant repair service in most major cities it looks like a good deal.

    4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Ouch

      keeping nearly a grand saved up in the bank would seem to be preferable

      Not sure in what kind of fiat currency that kind of 1870-ish statement is still true.

    5. 100113.1537

      Re: Ouch

      With specific reference to Thinkpads vs Toughbooks, my sister-in-law works on mine sites in South America and did actually kill her Thinkpad pretty quickly (turned out to be dust and llama fur in the fan), but the Toughbook is still going strong. It might be correct to say that you can get many Thinkpads for one Toughbook in capital costs, but figure in the cost of downtime for non-working computers and it is a no-brainer. It is referred to as "horses for courses".

      I was happy as I got to play laptop surgeon and replaced the cooling system (quite an involved job, but cool when there is no pressure) and with a re-install the Thinkpad is now the heart of the home entertainment system, even if it doesn't get to go to Bolivia any more.

      As a side note, the carrying handle has serious utility in these situations as well as good cachet with mining engineers!

  6. Ketlan


    'Still, at least you’ll be getting a laptop that you can safely let the kids loose on from time to time and even pass it on to them when the time comes'

    Given the price I'd have to pay to get hold of one of these, my kids (or my grandsprogs) wouldn't get within a mile of it.

    1. yoganmahew

      Re: Kidproof?

      And if you tell them it's a frozen laptop...

      ... let it go, LET IT GO...

    2. Dave Bell

      Re: Kidproof?

      I have used a couple of earlier-generation Toughbooks. Heavy machines, near the end of their life, but reliable and good value. Plan ahead. Buy the Toughbook, get married, and the kids will be around to get it when you get a replacement.

  7. The Beard

    I wish Panasonic's Let's Note range were available in the UK. I have far too much geek lust for them.

  8. Johndoe888

    I would hope the heater kicks in to raise the temperature above the dew point, to prevent the wet stuff causing problems :)

    Flame icon for the heating :)

  9. 404

    Scared to death...

    ... since I recently 'upgraded' from a HP Elitebook 8440p to a Dell Inspiron i5447-6250sLV. Nice laptop, touchscreen, usb 3.0, yada yada* - jury is still out as far as durability in the different environments I work in, it's built decent but I won't be standing on it any time soon.

    That being said, had I $2k, I'd buy the full-boat Panasonic Toughbook in a heartbeat. I *still* might figure out something ;)

    *Deal I couldn't refuse: Price-matched Staple's $749 in-stock Dell with Amazon's $499 in-stock Dell and saved $250. Staple's ad this week is offering the same Dell for $599 right now lol.

  10. Benno

    Battery life?

    We've got a bunch of CF-53 Mk 2 & Mk 3 units at work (my choice, as the Tech. Manager). The older ones get at least 6 hours of life out of the standard battery, the newer ones over 10. They are a good unit, handling anything we throw or drop on them... I wonder how much life the '54 would have with the extra battery?

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Ok, so..

    1) Does it have ECC RAM?

    2) Can I get it with an Akademi logo?

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Ok, so..

      Probably won't happen. ECC SO-DIMMs and ECC-capable mobile chips are as rare as hen's teeth. And the excuse is - guess what - no market demand. Bugger.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    "Serial connector for the Nordic countries"...

    Ah... that may be so they do not need to upgrade those pesky Banking computers to usb 3.0, or USB at all! Perhaps especially in the Swedish region?

    As the dear old Mr Madoff would say, "Don't upgrade those computers!" ;)

    1. billse10

      Re: "Serial connector for the Nordic countries"...

      at least one large UK organisation has 9 pin serial port(s) on its requirements, and USB-serial converters are not used for the simple reason they typically dont meet the other parts of the requirement (fluid proofing, load, etc). Different industry - nothing to do with finance.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Serial connector for the Nordic countries"...

        Yes, I totally understand that. Perhaps the Madoff reference was not obvious enough and I should have used the joke icon?

  13. Dave Horn

    A few years ago I tried to start up a Toughbook which had been stored overnight in an unheated aircraft at -15C to be greeted by the message, "Too cold to start. Please wait".

    My own laptop didn't care (and didn't shred the HDD bearings in the cold either).

  14. idohavalife

    Tough? Tough to operate maybe

    As a Home Inspector who uses this item onsite every day, I bought a Toughbook. The Bluetooth did not work at all. They only have email support, they got back to me 19 days later. I said that was not acceptable so they responded 17 days later. All they came up with was "It does not seem to work".

    I went back to Dell. I had to get my lawyer to write them a letter to head office, they refunded my money a month later.

  15. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Drop height test is 75cm?

    If you are going to drop a laptop, surely it's likely to be from higher than that? Doesn't this rating say "Will survive a hazard to which it's never going to be expose"? Perhaps we can have magic-proofing as a new component of tests in future: "The new Acesung X65 continued to function despite being exposed to a full strength Expeliamus spell and Ebola virus applied directly into to the USB3 port.."

  16. RegGuy1 Silver badge


    I notice it's got a virus -- Windows 8.

    Can you put Linux on there or has the UEFI frozen you out?

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