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Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1 review

Verdict

With ultraportable weight, plenty of power and some splendid on-the-road features, it's worth the high price

Review Date: 22 Nov 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £1,879 (£2,208 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The convertible laptop concept isn't new, but there's something remarkable about the way the Panasonic Toughbook family combines its famous durability with surprising portability. Indeed, the family's newest member, the Toughbook CF-C1, lays claim to being the lightest convertible tablet on the market.

The CF-C1 is classed as business-rugged, so it doesn't boast the nigh-on indestructible physique of the fully-rugged models elsewhere in Panasonic's range. It still sits a chunky 58mm from the desk, which doesn't sound or feel like a step forward from its fully-rugged siblings. But appearances can be, and are, deceptive: at just 1.49kg it's not much heavier than the most featherlight ultraportables.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1

Yet the CF-C1 sticks to the usual Toughbook design brief. The thick-set magnesium alloy frame is hardly catwalk stuff, but it both looks and feels entirely utilitarian: its priority is practicality, and it doesn't care a jot about doing it with style. The oversized chassis leaves plenty of room around the vital components inside, so, in the event of an accidental drop or blow, it keeps working where other notebooks would give up the ghost.

Panasonic rates the CF-C1 to survive drops of 30in, and we can believe it. Press as hard as you like on the lid and, while the plastic gives, there's not the slightest hint of it breaking through to the TFT panel inside. In fact, despite the low weight, the whole chassis feels impressively resilient and flex-free. And if you're clumsy enough to pour a cup of tea across the keyboard you'll see it trickle harmlessly from drainage ports on the underside.

Our model came with the 12.1in 1,280 x 800 capacitive multitouch panel - although a resistive panel is available for applications where gloved usage is required. Spin the display round on its axis and flatten it into Tablet mode, and it works as well with the prod of a finger as it does the stylus, which neatly stows away on the right flank. Viewing angles aren't fantastic, and there's a little grain due to the touch layer above the LCD panel itself, but it's fine for business purposes and, crucially, the brightness is high enough for outdoor usage.

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User comments

"Convertible tablets are a niche category" I'm confused by that line.

By TimoGunt on 23 Nov 2010

missed the tablet bit, no photos. How does it convert to a tablet. The lid flips round?

By TimoGunt on 23 Nov 2010

Convertible

I've added a picture to the gallery - it's a standard central hinge.

Regards
David Bayon
Deputy reviews editor

By DavidBayon on 23 Nov 2010

PANASONIC CF C1 with SSD DRIVE kicks ass!!

just upgraded my hard disk to SSD DRIVE....
NOW its truely shock proof and just fantastic for mobile rough use.... nothing else comes close...

By CFC1FAN on 13 Jan 2011

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