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Panasonic Toughbook W2 Review 307

Posted by michael
from the not-so-tough dept.
Anonymous Howard writes "For those of you who haven't heard about Panasonic's Toughbook W2, this hard to find laptop not only looks awesome but packs a serious punch for its size. Weighing in at 2.8 pounds with a 12.1" screen, this P4-M 900 Centrino based laptop is impressive. The drawback is its max memory support is only 512MB. However I think the laptop is absolutely gorgeous. Does anyone have any experience with one of these? Designtechnica gave it a 7 in their review. I tend to believe that 512MB of ram is a pretty limiting factor however."
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Panasonic Toughbook W2 Review

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  • 512 megs should be enough for anybody.
    • by Forge (2456)
      This is not such a limiting factor. 512 Megs of RAM is far more than I need for the kind of work I would want to do on an ultralight with a mear 12" screan. I.e. That's not where I play games or edit graphics or rip DVDs. A desktop is used for that. Or a true desktop replacment like the 9 lb Dell Inspiron 8200 I am typing this on.

      Playing videos, Listening to MP3s, Running a Web browser and most importantly; Terminal emulation software dosn't need 512 MB.

      That last one is the single most important r
    • Anybody normal. What if I have 2 instances of Visual Studio open with one in debug mode. Then I have 2 VMWare sessions running because I'm testing a client install that I don't want to pollute my development environment. Oh, and don't forget that I have Mozilla open, iTunes streaming music, SQL Enterprise Manager open, Outlook open, etc.

      This would be a great laptop for the sales person on the road or a college student primarily doing research and papers, but those of us with more stringent demands whine t
  • Personally 256MB is fine for a laptop if it really is just used as a portable. You should (if using 2k/XP) remove/disable as much junk as possible. Make sure as little as possible is started on boot up, it's possible to have Windows only use around 60MB of RAM after bootup if you do this.
    • In XP, how would you acomplish this?? I'd love to get XP to boot up in under 60 megs, even w/ extra RAM. (less windows mandatory swap=faster).
    • Just what I want to do when I get a new machine: engage in resource allocation games... A new machine should be fast enough, and equipped with enough memory, to run the latest application and operating system without bogging down.

      Financially, buying an obsolete machine rarely makes sense.
    • More RAM=better battery life (to a point)
      This is because the OS will cache the disk fairly agressivly if extra ram is present and refreshing ram is nothing compared to spinning up the HDD.
      • Not to mention the fact that the OS will need less swap/virtual memory, reducing disk access even more.

        I couldn't imagine ram taking much power at all, but I guess it must. Imagine a power saving system where the only ram modules being powered are the ones in use - and additional modules are powered up as memory is consumed. That would be interesting, though I don't know how beneficial. And to be useful, you'd have to spread your total ram over several modules - 512MB in 4x128MB, rather than 1x512MB or
  • by kewsh (655090)
    what makes this any more gorgeous than a powerbook?
    the price is way too much for what it is as well. I think panasonic is shooting themselves in the foot with this one
    • Re:uh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kenja (541830)
      Well, its a tough book. Last I checked powerbooks where not water proof and couldn't survive being driven over in a truck.
    • Re:uh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Drakon (414580) *


      what makes this any more gorgeous than a powerbook?

      you have no taste.


      the price is way too much for what it is as well. I think panasonic is shooting themselves in the foot with this one

      Panasonic does not sell these to consumers. Or even resellers. They're sold to institutions who need them. Like construction companies, and military units. They're certified to withstand shit that very little else can stand. They're NOT overpriced for what they are

  • Memory Limit? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by westyvw (653833) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:37PM (#7251147)
    512 Megs a limiting factor? Really? On a notebook I would think that would be more the sufficient. Unlike a desktop computer, a notebook is less likely to be left on as long or to be used in a multitasking fashion. Even making movies music seems unlikely.

    I am using a 1 gighz notebook right now with 512 megs or ram. I browse the web, do some music decompression (shn -> wav or vice versa) and cd burning, some light web work, and maybe some office apps.

    I am using Linux and KDE and I am have never even hit 256 megs in use at any time.

    • My linux notebook is a 500 celeron with 256MB of RAM. Even running X and performing a bunch of tasks, it has yet to reach full use of the 256MB. I don't even remember the last time I ended up touching the swap partition.

      Honestly, what notebook apps really need >512MB of RAM? I've seen servers run perfectly well with less than that. If it's simply a manifestation of a the-more-the-merrier philosophy, that's fine... we're all in touch with that.

      • Hey, I've got 640 Megs in my Powerbook and they are being used!

        Here's what I'm running right now: Finder, Mail, Safari, Bbedit, Transit, Toast, iPhoto, Virtual PC, Notepad, BitTorrent and Photoshop, and all without a hitch - <flame on> can't you do these things with Windows that you don't consider them?</flame off> :-)

        But seriously, I've seen 512MB notebook RAM for $80 yesterday - this Toughbook looks majorly limited to me...
      • Mine? I live in a college dorm, so space is an issue, and I need to take my computer to various rooms. At the same time, I need to use it as a desktop replacement. So a powerful laptop (Inspiron 8200) is ideal. Even at home, I'm tons more productive when I'm not stuck in one place at my desk.
        • I bought my laptop to do actual science on - I needed something with a big screen and reasonably powerful graphics. In my current lab, it turns out that I'm usually better off using my laptop than the lab computers; it's faster, and I don't have to compete with four other groups for CPU time. So, yeah, I need a lot of memory too; I can tear through 512 pretty quickly. My other computer is a relatively ancient SGI workstation, okay for web browsing/graphics/light coding, but not much for number crunching.
    • Even making movies music seems unlikely.

      Movies I can almost agree with. Audio recording, on the other hand, seems like a good application for a notebook computer. A laptop is quieter than a desktop computer, largely because its power supply is usually external and passively cooled, and its processor can usually be set to slow down and run under passive cooling (i.e. no fan). This leaves only a hard disk as a noise source, but with 512 MB of RAM, assuming the machine's desktop environment takes 1/4 of th

    • Another benefit of having lots of RAM is that the cache makes it so the hard drive doesn't need to be accessed as often, helping battery life.
    • I've had 1GB of RAM in my PowerBook G3 for a couple years. Typically I have 12-14 applications running (over 50 processes when you include system and background stuff). If I had 512MB of RAM there would be a fair bit of paging happening. Notebook drives are usually significantly slower than desktop drives which makes paging even slower. IMO lots of RAM is just as important in a notebook as it is in a desktop.

      Top:
      Processes: 53 total, 2 running, 51 sleeping... 231 threads 00:48:50
      Load Avg: 1.24,
    • Re:Memory Limit? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Odin's Raven (145278)

      512 Megs a limiting factor? Really? On a notebook I would think that would be more the sufficient. [...snip...] I am using a 1 gighz notebook right now with 512 megs or ram. I browse the web, do some music decompression (shn -> wav or vice versa) and cd burning, some light web work, and maybe some office apps.

      It really depends on what you use your notebook for. Yes, if you just check your email and run office apps, 512MB is probably more than enough.

      As a counterexample, I work with military s

      • I understand what you're saying. On the other hand, however, clients like you are not going to purchase a consumer-model laptop such as this one. This laptop is obviously geared towards college students and yuppies who would normally look at an iBook or Powerbook for their mobile computing needs. The low RAM amount and the low processor (i.e. more battery power) confirms it.

        You even stated that you're not a typical laptop user, so I would say that your "counter-example" is irrelevant.

    • Back in 1984, it took me 30 to 45 minutes to compile and link changes on a IBM PC/XT with 512k of ram.


      That type of cycle time forced me to patch the code in-line to test and be sure that the changes I made would be changes that worked. When you have a quick change/build/test cycle you tend to get sloppy, if you are not careful.

  • What are you RUNNING home boy? For christ sake, it's a laptop, not a web server. If you think 512M is a limitation for a laptop, maybe you need to sit in a dark corner and think about what you are doing wrong. Maybe you're just thinking of using WinXP?
    • On my laptop I run:

      - Gentoo: Lots of compiling, needs lots of RAM.
      - G++: Eats CPUs alive.
      - XSI : Ha ha --- Unlike Maya PLE, its available on Linux!
      - SolidEdge : in Winders :(

      • XSI and SolidEdge I don't know anything about, but I've run Gentoo on systems with much, much less ram than 512. I've never come even close to needing that much memory, even when emerging two or three things in parallel. I agree that G++ eats CPUs alive, but again, its footprint isn't _that_ large. That said, my workstation/server is using close almost 512 between main memory and tasks currently swapped out...
        • Lots of RAM helps immensely to improve compile time. Things will emerge on limited RAM, but they'll compile a lot faster if you have more RAM.
  • by RTPMatt (468649) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:39PM (#7251156) Homepage
    Spcifications:

    CPU

    Ultra Low Voltage Intel(R) Pentium(R) M Processor 900MHz

    1MB on-die L2 cache

    STORAGE & MEMORY

    256MB SDRAM (DDR) standard, expandable to 512MB (PC-2100 memory is required)

    40GB HDD

    Combo Drive (DVD-ROM*/CD-RW**) standard

    DISPLAY
    12.1" 1024 x 768 XGA anti-glare TFT Active Matrix Color LCD
    External video support up to 1600 x 1200 at 16 million colors
    Intel(R) 855GM integrated video controller max. 64MB (UMA) VRAM

    AUDIO
    SigmaTelTM STAC9753 AC-97 v.2.1 Compliant
    Integrated speaker
    Convenient keyboard volume controls (Fn+F5/F6 keys)

    EXPANSION SLOTS
    PC Card Type I or II x1
    Secure Digital (SD) Memory / Multimedia Card

    KEYBOARD & INPUT
    85-key with dedicated Windows(R) key
    Electrostatic touchpad with vertical scrolling support

    WIRLESS LAN
    Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2100 network connection 802.11b

    INTERFACE
    Network Interface Card
    -Integrated 10/100 ethernet
    Modem
    -Integrated 56Kbps
    External Video
    -D-sub 15 pin
    USB 2.0 (x2)
    -4 pin
    Headphones/Speaker
    -Mini-jack Stereo
    Microphone/Line In
    -Mini-jack Mono

    POWER SUPPLY
    Lithium Ion battery pack (7.4V, 6600mAh)
    Battery operation: up to 4 hours***
    Battery charging time: approximately 4.5 hours***
    AC Adapter: AC 100V-240V 50/60Hz, Auto-sensing/switching worldwide power supply
    Pop-up on-screen battery status reporting

    POWER MANAGEMENT
    Suspend/Resume Function, Hibernation, Standby, ACPI BIOS

    SOFTWARE
    Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Professional (Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000 Professional also available)
    Setup, Diagnostics, On-line Reference Manual, Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) Reader

    SECURITY FEATURES
    Password Security: Supervisor, User, Coffee Break
    Integrated Kensington Lock Slot

    WARRANTY
    3 year limited warranty, parts & labor

    DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT
    1.2"/1.6"(H) x 8.3"(D) x 10.6" (W)
    2.8 lbs., including battery

    ACCESSORIES
    Lithium Ion Battery Pack CF-VZSU27U
    Battery Charger CF-VCBRT1U
    AC Adapter CF-AA1623AM
    256MB Memory Card CF-BAT0256U
    External USB Floppy Drive
  • My laptop is a p150 thinkpad 560e, happily running the latest debian at an acceptable speed.

    Seriously, in a portable machine, what do you need serious power for?

    Surely how effective the ruggedizing methods are is just a touch more significant than having enough ram to play the newer pc games?
  • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:41PM (#7251162) Homepage
    Face it, you're not going to be rendering in Maya, encoding DVDs to XviD/OGM or editing 60,000x20,000 pixel images in Photoshop on a 900 MHz CPU; Unreal Tournament 2003 isn't going to suck up all that memory running at 12 FPS on the integrated Intel graphics. And given the screen size, your ability to multitask is limited, since only so much will fit at once, so unless you feel like leaving open 70 minimized windows for some reason, that won't be an issue either.

    With some services disabled, Windows XP will run fine on 96 MB of memory and Linux/BSD will do with the same or less depending on your WM du jour. I can't see why this much memory would be needed on a machine designed with productivity and groupware in mind. The default 256MB should be plenty.
    • Face it, you're not going to be rendering in Maya, encoding DVDs to XviD/OGM or editing 60,000x20,000 pixel images in Photoshop on a 900 MHz CPU; Unreal Tournament 2003 isn't going to suck up all that memory running at 12 FPS on the integrated Intel graphics. And given the screen size, your ability to multitask is limited, since only so much will fit at once, so unless you feel like leaving open 70 minimized windows for some reason, that won't be an issue either.

      Thank you!

      I have an HP laptop that I just
      • "If it wasn't for that kind of penis-substitute-mindset, we would have practical laptops with eight-plus hour battery life rather than ones with 2.8ghz P4s that can't make it to three hours."

        Apple tried it with the very first Mac Portable in 1989, and it was a valiant but flawed effort. Sure, it had an 8 hour battery life, but it also weighed 17lbs thanks to a huge lead-acid battery and had a monochrome non-backlit screen.

        The Li-Ion batteries these days are so small and light, they could easily double or
        • Apple tried it with the very first Mac Portable in 1989, and it was a valiant but flawed effort. Sure, it had an 8 hour battery life, but it also weighed 17lbs thanks to a huge lead-acid battery and had a monochrome non-backlit screen.

          You're missing the point. If people were to look at their actual processor horsepower, RAM, and hard drive needs, laptop manufacturers could make sub-ghz machines with low-power CPUs (like VIA C3s, Transmetas, etc.), slower 2.5" hard drives, no cooling fans, and use other t
      • I work on mine, every day, all day. Having a great big laptop is essential to what I do. (Besides act, that is.)
    • I've just upgraded from a Dell L400 (similar computer, about 1" thick, 12" screen), largely because the RAM was maxxed out at 256 megs. Not enough. It was OK for many things, and I'll still use it for word processing on the go, but as you can imagine VMware really bogged down the whole system. 1024x768 is no impediment to multitasking, I find it very convenient to have many tabs open in mozilla with various documentation (and of course slashdot :) and that can really gobble RAM, just wait until you see "
    • >With some services disabled, Windows XP will run fine on 96 MB of memory

      Umm, that must include the boot service.

      Let's face facts here, if you're reading slashdot you probably use a lot of free software.

      Mozilla tabs eat RAM like you wouldn't believe, and I for one am not going back to the old ways of only keeping a few windows/tabs open at a time. Sorry, but this feature changes the entire web experience for me and it uses RAM.

      You probably have cygwin doing something crazy in the background.

      You mig
  • For a 12.1" laptop, there's no real reason to have more than 512meg. It's not like it's going to be a desktop replacement or anything. I've had tons of experience w/ sub and 12" notebooks. Never have I actually needed that much RAM.. only if I were running a pig OS like Windows ;). Anyway, the W2 isn't going to be used playing games or runnign a webserver... or am I mistaken by this? :)
  • 512MB is no problem. The big problem is that it's not directly available outside of Japan, so it's essentially unsupported anywhere else, and you'd have a hard time getting any service or support.

    It's one thing to buy a new grey market trinket that's only available in Japan (digital cameras, DAT, etc), but not many people I know would consider purchasing a laptop with no support or warranty when they can get one at the electronics store down the road.
  • Someone I know just got the W2. It's a pretty good laptop. Feels sturdy, and is nice and small. However, it's a bit on the thick side for something that small (think the ThinkPad X31). He says the battery life is about 5 hours, and that's pretty believable given the specs. He hasn't tried killing it yet, but I'm actually not sure how much the outer case could take. I took a look at it, and it seems to be made of plastic, not magnesium (I don't know about the inner case). The only things I don't like about i
  • These things are tanks. I've seen them take punishment that would have killed lesser notebooks.

    PS: Panasonic specs on the W2 [panasonic.com]

  • I think [designtechnica.com] there may be some [designtechnica.com] links to Desgin Technica [designtechnica.com] somwhere in the submission.

    link [panasonic.com] to the Panasonic page for the laptop.

  • That's got to be the best knock off of the TiBook yet. The only difference is that it's more expensive, and slower! Really, if you want an Apple, buy an Apple; if you want a PC, buy a PC. Posers.
  • <petpeeve>
    why do companies still think it's acceptable to integrate things like 56k modems, when it's a centrino capable laptop, meaning it can be fully wireless. also noted is the lack of gigabit nic, as this is starting to make it's way into offices, however slowly.
    </petpeeve>

    beside that, it sounds like a great laptop, now if only i could afford it...
    • why do companies still think it's acceptable to integrate things like 56k modems, when it's a centrino capable laptop, meaning it can be fully wireless. also noted is the lack of gigabit nic, as this is starting to make it's way into offices, however slowly.

      Why, exactly, do you feel that integrating an 56k Modem is unacceptable? It's a laptop. It travels. It travels by plane, train, automobile and just being lugged around the great big world in a bag. Most of that great bit world has POTS telephone

    • Because of those with Internet in US somewhere between 60-70% of the folks use dial-up.

      Sure you can install a wireless system at home together with the dial-up, but most peolpe don't.

  • by deviator (92787) <<gro.aisenma> <ta> <pdb>> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @08:48PM (#7251199) Homepage
    If you want something that's almost as rugged but easier on the wallet, check out a product called the "iBook" (pronounced eye-book) by a company called "Apple Computer." Pretty rugged.
    • So the iBook has a shock mounted hard disk, is water proof and has a magnisiam shock resistant case? Since when?
    • I have something that's as rugged as the iBook (magnesium case), just a bit bigger, and $350 on eBay. Dell CSX. 500mhz PIII, 20GB HDD, 256M PC100, Windows 2000 Included, DVD/CD burner included.

      If you are on a budget, the $1000 iBook is a lame deal compared to the $350 CSX. The CSX is plenty fast to surf the net or run Word. Yes, the iBook is better. But is it 2.85x better? Probably not.

      (Sidenote: I'm not just criticizing the iBook - $1000 PC notebooks are too expensive as well)
      • uh, you're comparing an old computer off of fleaBay with a new one from the manufacturer? Talk about an unfair comparison, especially since you don't get a warranty with that unit.

        You can find prices on older iBooks here [lowendmac.com], including both used and refurbished. Still not the same price as that Dell - macs just don't depreciate the same way.

  • Look at the keyboard. See the space between the keys for stuff to fall through? Like most other laptops, this is designed to break in a few years. It even looks like the return key is already popping out of place in the photos.
    • RTFA: it's waterproof. If water falling in those "spaces" won't kill it, your pop-tart crumbs won't either.
      • Read the fucking article yourself and quote for me where is says that. Try Panasonic's page too, while you're at it. Oddly, they list two other models as being spill-proof and dust-proof, but not this one.

        Read it. Searched it. None of "water", "spill", or "proof" appeared in the text.

        What really matters is whether fine or particulate matter can get under the keys dislogding them or breaking their stems. If you can't type normally, it's broken. Water-proofing would only protect what's inside the box.
  • The "Centrino" label implies a Pentium-M processor. The P4-M is a completely different beast. The Pentium-M is the newer one with 1MB L2 cache, and is more like a P3 internally.
  • limiting for what? if you want a laptop to do high end video editing you wouldn't be getting a 'top with such a small screen anyway. I have a 12" 800Mhz iBook that is now maxed out with 640Megs RAM, but I don't consider that 'limited'. I'm running Linux as well, and opening terms, checking my mail and playing mp3s isn't taxing my memory.

    CB
  • Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Judg3 (88435) <jeremy@@@pavleck...com> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @09:00PM (#7251253) Homepage Journal
    Yet again another "review" by a site which has very little information.

    Basically it's the author's "feeling" about the notebook, a few pictures, some "testing" which means little to a typical laptop user and absolutely no "Print Article" button so I can bypass the "Hot Words" with advertising, side bar with advertising, top frame with advertising, and bottom frame with advertising.

    They manage to stretch out 2 paragraphs over 5 pages. Yuck.

    You'd get more information from Panasonic's website [panasonic.com] and their Toughbook W2 Datasheet (PDF) [panasonic.com] then you will at this site.
  • I will not be buying any such thing till Intel pulls their head out and releases Linux drivers for their wireless card. A wireless card w/o drivers does me absolutely no good...
  • I know someone who has used various Toughbook models in harsh environments (flight testing etc), and he recently commented that the things seemed virtually unbreakable.

    I would, of course, love to test that out myself, but if I can ever afford milspec anything, I'm getting a ruggedized iPod first.
  • There's a nice list of non-windows x86 laptop vendors at mcelrath.org/laptops.html [mcelrath.org]

    Don't pay the windows tax (or the Apple tax for that matter).

    I settled on a Sager 4060 from PCTorque. It's heavier than the toughbook but all its included devices are well supported under linux and it's got a lot of nice features for the price.

  • Okay, looks pretty good. Right now, I love my 15.4" widescreen Dell Inspiron 8500, but I'm looking for another laptop, something more transportable (5 pound range is fine, but that needs to include CD-RW/DVD driver, 6-7 pounds is really too much).

    This doesn't need to be a powerhouse, or a desktop replacement. But I don't want a 2 pound flimsy thing that requires an external CD/DVD drive and costs 2500 from Sony. This Panasonic looks mighty close to what I'm looking for, but I wish it weren't 2200 dolla

  • W2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by doogles (103478) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @09:26PM (#7251384)
    Got my Panny W2 on August 3rd, this is the best laptop I've ever had. It's the right mixture of horsepower, display, connectivity, and battery life. I do truly get 5 hours out of it, it's got a nice keyboard (with only a few quirks; particularly the arrow keys and tilde) and since the addition of the PCS Vision 1xRTT card .. totally connected.

    Don't be confused by the Toughbook name; it's got a shockmounted HDD, motherboard, and display, but it's goal is mobility, not toughness.

    I bought mine from Kevin Fawl at Bizco (www.toughonline.com) -- I'd buy another one if I needed another laptop tomorrow.
  • Wait a sec...

    Is this really a Toughbook? That's the ruggedized line. But the review says:

    While the plastic housing is convincing, it feels easy to scratch or crack. Our biggest annoyance was the placement of the eject and power buttons. Both are the same style, size, and located in adjacent sides of the front left corner. Nearly every other attempt to eject the CD resulted in the computer shutting down. Also, the ports appear to just be cut out of the case with no protection to keep pins from bendi

  • Ok, this post will be labelled as a troll, but who cares.
    I see a lot of "What do you need so much memory for?!", and "You're not running a web server, or playing games" and shit like that.

    A laptop is, for me and a lot of people I know, machine to take with you, to act as a complete replacement of your workstation. Therefore I demand that it be as fast and responsive as my workstation. That means, fast CPU, fast graphics adapter, reasonable harddisk space and a lot of RAM. Now the Toughbook has a reasonably
    • Ultra-ultra slim laptops are never good for desktop replacements. For one thing hard drives that small are never as fast and you just can't cool modern (even mobile) procs at speeds near the desktops that well.

      Thats why we've got a 900 mhz centrino there. Ev
  • Toughbook? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anethema (99553) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @09:48PM (#7251501) Homepage
    I dont get where the toughbook part comes in. Old toughbooks were built into briefcase style things, some (maybe aftermarket added, cant remember) had like honeycomb pattern stuff built into the case. You could run the damn things over. This thing, while pretty, doesnt look like it could withstand a 1 inch drop, nevermind a 5-6 foot drop like the old ones. If you operated that in harsh working conditions I really doubt it would stand up.

    Like look at this one, couple years old:

    Picture 1 [ebayimg.com]

    Picture 2 [ebayimg.com]

    It looks quite a bit tougher.
  • This thing is a $2000+ iBook, and it doesn't even look as cool. Though it does weigh two pounds less . . .
  • However I think the laptop is absolutely gorgeous.

    However so much I think it is gorgeous, I must admit that it has another quality as well. This is what some call "the X Factor." What does "X" stand for? You figure it out.

    What I'm saying is that, mmmmmmm, those lines, those curves--oh yeahhhh--they just do it for me.

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @10:46PM (#7251770) Homepage
    Panasonic makes two real Toughbooks, the Toughbook 28 [panasonic.com] and the Toughbook 34 [panasonic.com]. Those have the dust/dirt sealed case, keyboard, screen, and connectors. The Toughbook 28 has passed MIL-STD-810F ruggedization standards.

    Everything else is just another laptop.

  • by Karrade (137360) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @11:02PM (#7251827)
    If you want mobility check out Sharp UW32
    http://www.sharpsystems.com/products/datashe ets/PC -UM32W.PDF

    I'm not sure what the big deal is. The Panasonic doesn't seem significantly different from the Sharp UW32 minus the built in combo drive. I bought the Sharp UW32 a a few months ago for only $1200 and it is sweet!

    Its almost as light as the Panasonic (only 3.0 lbs), just as fast with same memory and HD size standard. Although it has external cdrom, it has built in wilress, USB (2), firewire and even a compact flash slot! The exterior styling is the same cool metallic.

    Whats best about the sharp is the depth. Its less than an inch thick (.77"). Unlike the VAIO though the keys on the keyboard have a great tactile feel because the whole keyboard pops up slightly when the lid is opened.

    And its only around $1300 or $1400 and available in the US. I've even seen it at Circuit City.
  • The laptop's processor is a Pentium-M, not a Pentium4-M. Pentium-M's are newer, pack a LOT more power for their clock speed (add 500Mhz to get the equivalent Pentium4-M), and have Centrino technology (that means a wireless card that's not supported by Linux).

    Yes, it's confusing, stupid, and backward. I didn't think up the name.

  • Lowest Price: $2,399.00

    For a 900Mhz, 256MB, 40 gig laptop, that's a bit steep. Dell's equivalent (300m) is around $1500, but the DVD/CDRW is external and it's probably not as pretty. Is this worth $900? I vote no.

  • ... fail to answer the most important question which is:-
    Will it run Linux supporting the modem and video?
  • let's look at some important issues...

    While the plastic housing is convincing, it feels easy to scratch or crack.
    for a laptop, that's pretty important.

    Nearly every other attempt to eject the CD resulted in the computer shutting down.
    that doesn't sound fun, but it's not a show stopper.

    Also, the ports appear to just be cut out of the case with no protection to keep pins from bending, which takes away from the overall aesthetics.
    for a portable machine, this is pretty important.

    Estimated battery life
  • It's not the ram that throughs me off. As most posters have said the ram is fine. I beleive that the name toughbook should not have been tacked onto the model. This is yet another laptop, it is not built tough in any way sort or form. Tough laptops are what we have standard issue in our ambulances.. they regularly get dropped and tossed and survive just fine...
  • Its called a thinkpad, IBM has been making rock solid laptops for years. The orginal toughbook series is a great concept, but this particular model is just a branding exercise. Seriously though, the X31 has a 1.4 centrino processor, 5400 rpm drive, 1 gig of memory, wifi, and ports galore in a 3.5 pound footprint.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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