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The computer you can feel good about abusing


Ever seen one of those YouTube videos of people making fun of hung PCs or faulty printers and proceeds to smash them in anger?

If you’re going to get mad at a computer – and I don’t recommend letting a machine get under your skin like that – at least get mad at a machine that can handle it. Although in this case, there is not much anger.

Panasonic has just arrived …

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Ever seen one of those YouTube videos of people making fun of hung PCs or faulty printers and proceeds to smash them in anger?

If you’re going to get mad at a computer – and I don’t recommend letting a machine get under your skin like that – at least get mad at a machine that can handle it. Although in this case, there is not much anger.

Panasonic just came out with a new version of its Toughbook, called the Toughbook 40. Related to the Toughbook 33, which I reviewed a few years ago, the new version sports Intel’s 11th generation V-PRO chipset, standard 4G modem with 5G future. this fall, faster I/O and a variety of accessories for its modular chassis. It includes an optical drive, a second battery, a second solid state drive, a smart card reader, a fingerprint reader and several I/O port combination modules. All ports and openings are behind rubber sealed doors to help prevent rain and coffee spillage. For a while, I had to find a slide-shut door that protected the charging port. If, like me, you like to keep your devices clean, there’s even a brush built into the Toughbook’s case for cleaning the fan grille.

Federal sales director James Poole said all the accessories make up more than 6,000 possible configurations.

At nearly 8 pounds and two inches tall, the Toughbook isn’t a svelte MacBook to fit in your backpack. It has an integrated handle to carry it like a briefcase. A protective slipcase is not required. In fact it can double as a defensive weapon in a New York subway. Its sturdy handle can be held by a large hand or when you’re wearing gloves.

I didn’t feel like dropping the machine six feet, but I let it fall from 3 or 4 feet high, lid open and programs running, onto the office carpet, meaning a thin carpet that glued to the cement. I also:

  • The Toughbook 40 was placed in one of the freezers in the guest café outside our newsroom for 90 minutes, while it was available and streaming. Federal Drive with Tom Temin. When I went to pick up I heard my own interview on the speakers before I opened the freezer. The engine collapsed in the cold but did not stop working.
  • Baked it all day in the recent DC-area heatwave, while streaming videos. It was hot to the touch, but didn’t stop.
  • Soaked it – re-opening, on and streaming videos – under my garden hose for a few minutes, then left it open with the overflowing water sitting all over the upper deck. It never batted an eyelash. Panasonic says the Toughbook can withstand rain and 70 mph winds.
  • It was left running with two batteries charged. Panasonic claims 36 possible hours of double battery life, and that claim isn’t far off.

As a computer geek, I find the Toughbook home. It’s 14-inch diagonal screen is very bright and crisp. I was watching a full screen video on YouTube, on Microsoft Edge, of the NBC telecast of Sydney McLaughlin breaking the world record in the 400-meter women’s hurdles. The image is sharp and the colors are rich, with only a slight burst in the closeups of Ms.’s lateral movements. McLaughlin after the race. But nothing interferes with using the machine for video analysis.

Additionally, the Toughbook display is a touch screen. I would recommend turning off the fussy touchpad at all. Although large and made of well-machined aluminum, it has the same semi-usability as almost all PC touchpads. The screen worked well when I squeezed and dragged while wearing a part of what has become the contemporary uniform: disposable latex gloves.

The images and especially the text pages are equally sharp. If anything, the screen will be too bright. In my studio I have to turn down the brightness of the screen so much that I don’t need sunglasses. On the other hand, in open-air, daylight situations the Toughbook’s screen is very readable.

I also like the sturdy, solid backlit keyboard. As a pounder who learned to type back in the manual typewriter days, I feel that the Toughbook keyboard will have no trouble standing up to heavy use.

A few quibbles aside from the trackpad. A handy pointer that can be used on the touch-sensitive screen is hidden in the recovery handle. Moving it in and out of its slot, it feels like the pointer can be more positively anchored, so that it doesn’t slip. The sound from the Toughbook’s speakers, while adequate, is below par for what you can get from the best sounding notebooks.

I didn’t test what Panasonic describes as a background-noise-reducing array of microphones built into the machine, but if that feature is available it will be useful when participating in video calls from outside.

So for all these tough and modular features, the Toughbook competes with any notebook computer, as a computer. Just more and heavier.

If you are sometimes in the office, sometimes fed by teleworking, such a hard machine can be good, especially with the module to plug in an external monitor. Just remember that all toughness comes at a price. The MSRP for the Toughbook 40 is $4,899, plus any snap-in accessories you can add. That tag may be slightly less than any of the many DoD and civilian multi-award contracts Panasonic has brought. But the premium pricing, even if justified, keeps the Toughbook 40 as a niche product for military, law enforcement and harsh environment applications.

However, if you really need a computer that licks and keeps ticking, this machine will give you both toughness and powerful performance.





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