Panasonic Toughbooks

Discussion in 'Gaming and Software' started by Macks, Nov 18, 2007.

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  1. Fellas,

    A quick question for a friend of mine who is off to warm and pleasant climates.
    He's looking at getting a new laptop, as he reckons his old banged-up Acer won't stand the rigours of Crab Air and the sand.

    I suggested one of those rugged laptops, and came across these as what look like (to me) the best available. Link here: Toughbooks
    Only problem is the price.

    Have any of you bought/used one of these machines (fully rugged, not those semi- or business-rugged pansy ones ;)), and is it worth the money to have one while in the sandbox?

    Will pass on all comments.

    Cheers aye,

  2. Doesnt matter if it's a toughbook or a cheap PC world lappy, the sand will do for it if allowed to.
    A decent case for an acer, a decent cleaning regime and plenty of care as far as where you use it is all that's needed.

    Dont waste money where you dont need to.
  3. They're part of the Cormorant system (the CF-28 and CF-29 not the CF-30) and the ones the MOD have bought are crap. Slow as hell.
  4. My company uses Dell Latitude laptops on oilrigs from Russia to Nigeria, onshore and offshore with no real problems. The only addition we use is a keyboard cover (keyboard Condom) to guard against moisture (Usually spilt beer...)

    We use Panasonic Toughbooks in specific environments which involve high vibrations - which are not good for normal laptops.

    Personally, I'd take a normal laptop.
  5. I did Afghanistan with my 19 inch ACER laptop - like previous posters have said - keep it clean and no problems.

    Instead of forking out on a Panasonic Toughbook (I use one at work and they are not worth the money - too slow, and not that tough quite frankily), just buy a dozen compressed air dusters and post them out to yourself befoire you leave.
  6. We trialled some from various companies at an old workplace of mine with a view to buying ruggedised laptops for deployment. Some companies were happy for us to drop them, spill drinks on them etc Panasonic put their "toughbooks" back in a box and left saying they wouldnt pass the tests... The Army then bought a load of the Toughbooks because they were £300 cheaper each... but then they all broke... false economy yet again...

    You dont need a ruggedised laptop unless your planning on watching movies in the back of a warrior going Xcountry.... Just look after it and give it a good blow out with some compressed air, which you can get off your clerks in theatre anyway.

    dont spill drinks on laptops, most insurance companies wont cover you for it and secondly you will fry the entire motherboard and everything on it making any data almost impossible to retrieve...
  7. Why not spend a fraction of the money on a decent weather proof carry bag? Or am I correct in saying he doesn't need one, he just wants one anyway?

    If I were going somewhere hot and sandy, a ganz neue laptop would be the last thing I'd pack.
  8. Steer clear of the toughbook - You'd be better getting a neoprene padded bag for an ordinary laptop. Used a toughbook for 2 years, very slow, weight of a small country and still needed to be treated with kid-gloves.
  9. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    We issue our loss adjusters with toughbooks for very limited purposes only. they are very slow have limited peripherals and are good for only very specific tasks! Get a normal laptop and look after it well, as mentioned above!
  10. Sorry to go against the flow here but I have a toughbook. I work in the AA as a patrolman. My toughbook has been stepped on , dropped, rained on etc etc. Peeps who say they're slow, yes they are ESPECIALLY if you put the latest Windoze Bloatware on them.
    Bottom line if you want a tough computer, buy one of them or a Rock. They won't be specially fast or have whizzo lux graphics but will work.
    If you want a computer with all the bells and whistles, by all means buy a generic laptop, BUT spend a goodly sum on a decent (hardened,specialist) transit case etc to provide it the protection it will need.
  11. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Agree with that 100%.
  12. Ive got a CF30 on BT and it works a treat for work, couldnt take it home and use it for personal use as it is on the slower side but it does what it says on the tin. Mine has seen some abuse too, countless drops out the back of the van, rain, general dirt abd cr*p, trodden on again etc. Accidentally pulled keys off before by putting something on top of it but they just clip back on. Will hook up to broadband, dial up and GPRS. Pull up anywhere and jump on somebodys broadband !! Had the CF27 before the 30 and that was equally as robust, slower but it worked. Only had dial up and GSM access though. If I hadnt have reenlisted I would be getting the CF50 in January which from what I have seen is a great deal better than the 2 ive had previously, couple of guys im working with have them and they say they are excellent. One issue I did have with the 27 was the battery life, absolutely useless, 1 1/2 hours max, when working out your van this wasnt always a good thing as the fuc*er will drain your battery pretty quick. The 30 is better and not sure about the 50.


    Edit: I agree with Humph with the comment of you dump all the usual spyware, antivirus etc etc on it, it definitely slows it down. Trouble with the BT ones is that BT in its wisdom decided to remove the parts of windows it didnt require and that made the whole system really unstable, have spent some time rebooting it after it cant gets stuck trying to come out of standby mode !!
  13. I have used a Dell Lattitude in field at scene of fires, chemical spills and various scenes with bad weather conditions and other than one that got a damaged screen and had to be replaced (screens are too costly to replace).

    My friends in the fire service are using the Pansonic Toughbooks, The do get more ruggged treatments as theirs are always in response vehicles, using a bracket and running off trucks 12v power. The Pansonic is more rugged. They also have built in wireless that seems to pick up both open network and a secure public safety network quite well. Pansonic screens seem small to me and OK for text but not as nice for graphics. Text size factor could also involve middle aged eyes (the rest of me is young, no really, I mean it, at least I keep telling myself that)

    Graphics also seem slooooow. Also Pansonic batteries seem to run down faster but for fire guys they are often used in vehicles with power available. I am more likely to be using mine in a fixed command post where primary danger is tea on keyboard or cops, soldiers, emt's tripping on cables.

    Best I have used for battery life is my personal Mac G5 iBook. Pansonic might be somewhat tougher but if it was me I would buy the Dell and spend some money on a Pelican case (USD 100 to 200). Pelican cases are very sturdy, waterproof, meet US Milspec's and come in black, desert tan and olive drab. If you get one spend the extra USD 3.00 and get an extra o-ring.

    Hope this helps. If your friend is heading for the sandbox tell him he got a "Good Luck" from the septic side of the pond.

    PS One thing about the Pansonics. I think the fire service version is "intrinsically safe", and can be used in flammable atmospheres. If that matters be sure to check to be sure. Igniting a cloud of gas from inside the cloud could really fcuk up an otherwise sihtty day.
  14. The data is on the Hard Drive so is safe in this situation.

    If a drink is spilt and the laptop is under warranty then strip the machine and clean up the evidence of beer/coffee, call Dell and tell them that 'It just stopped working, theres no lights or anything' and they will change the MotherBoard under warranty.


    Edit; This may not work in Iraqistan as Dell engineers are rather short of Armoured vehicles and CBA.....
  15. Hi Guys,

    I am an ex Bootneck and I run a company that provides rugged IT kit, including alternatives to the Panasonic Range, they are cheaper and Tougher! (Bootneck Proof) have a look at

    I supply to the fellas at the seaside and the general MOD, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do !