Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Panasonic rolls out stylish and light Toughbooks

Panasonic has introduced a pair of rugged laptops that are not only stylish, but also light. The sub-four pound Toughbook CF-T5 and CF-W5 have magnesium-alloy cases and can withstand shock, drops and compression. Company representatives showed off the laptops on video and even flipped open the very small optical drive.

The Toughbook CF-W5 is one of the world's thinnest and lightest laptops, weighing in at 3.1 pounds. Despite the small form factor, the computer sports a new optical drive that only weighs 49 grams. Panasonic representatives told us this is much light than the typical notebook optical drive which usually weighs 200 grams. Reps also told us the notebook can run up to eight hours on one battery charge.

According to the manufacturer, both notebooks are "business rugged" and can withstand a reasonable amount of abuse. The notebooks can survive a one-foot drop shock, while the hard drive itself can take a two and a half foot drop. Both computers can also withstand up to 200 pounds of compression.

The Toughbook CF-T5 has a unique hand strap so anyone can securely hold it in one hand. It also has a touch-sensitive LCD screen that can flip orientations. Wireless wide-area network cards are available for both notebooks. The computers will be available in October for $1900.

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