LAP­TOPS

It’s fun putting a lap­top through its paces, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Nicholson

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Pana­sonic Tough­book lives up to name.

PEO­PLE do ter­ri­ble things to lap­tops. They drown, drop, freeze and cook them.

Most com­put­ers can­not han­dle the mis­treat­ment.

Pana­sonic Tough­books, how­ever, are de­signed to thrive de­spite at­tempts on their lives.

This Tough­book, the CF-C1, looks rugged. Its black metal ex­te­rior re­sem­bles con­struc­tion equip­ment and its body is thicker than most.

Pleas­antly, how­ever, it isn’t heavy. This model is the light­est 12.1-inch con­vert­ible tablet com­puter and, at 1.4kg, feels like its bat­tery is miss­ing.

But Tough­books aren’t pop­u­lar for their weight. Users want to know how much pun­ish­ment these lap­tops can take.

This model makes three bold claims. It prom­ises to with­stand up to 100kg of pres­sure, to stay run­ning even if you drop it from 76cm, and to laugh in the face of spilled bev­er­ages. So we pun­ished it. The first ex­per­i­ment was easy. Like Arthur Fon­zarelli in Happy Days, we sat on it.

It may not have been com­fort­able, it didn’t feel sen­si­ble and the pres­sure was not 100kg, but the CF-C1 took it. It emerged from sleep mode like a trooper.

The sec­ond ex­per­i­ment was more con­fronting. Drop­ping any com­puter seems un­wise, so a car­pet land­ing pad was cho­sen.

Mer­ci­fully, the Tough­book landed with a re­as­sur­ing thunk. It lived.

The third ex­per­i­ment was the most nerve-rack­ing. Pana­sonic doesn’t rec­om­mend users spill bev­er­ages on a Tough­book key­board; it sim­ply says this com­puter is bet­ter equipped to han­dle it.

The man­ual states ‘‘ re­pairs re­sult­ing from liq­uids be­ing spilled on the com­puter are not free of charge’’.

The Tough­book CF-C1 does fea­ture a drain un­der its keys and it col­lects spilled liq­uid and guides it through a hole in the un­der­car­riage.

In the case of a spill, users should keep the com­puter up­right and level and let the liq­uid drain.

This is what we did af­ter a gen­er­ous splash of water. At first the water pooled. Panic en­sued. Af­ter 10 ag­o­nis­ing sec­onds, the water trick­led from its hatch be­neath this lap­top. It turned on again like noth­ing had hap­pened.

While this lap­top passes the tough­ness test, it is also ca­pa­ble in reg­u­lar desk set­tings.

The Tough­book runs Win­dows 7 us­ing a 2.4GHz In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor, 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard drive.

Plenty of ports line its sides, in­clud­ing three USB ports, an Eth­er­net con­nec­tion, VGA port and space for a PC Card, though it omits an op­ti­cal drive.

It does fea­ture a 12.1-inch touch­screen, and this can be flipped around to trans­form it into a thick tablet. It’s a handy ad­di­tion and one that could be use­ful when edit­ing pho­tos or read­ing web­sites on the go.

Ul­ti­mately, this lap­top is on the bulky side, in the ex­pen­sive cat­e­gory and not de­signed for ev­ery­day but­terfin­gers.

Those who need a tough com­put­ing part­ner for a chal­leng­ing environment should ap­pre­ci­ate its dura­bil­ity, though, be­cause that comes with few com­pro­mises.

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