Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 review
A refined and well-built industrial all-rounder that packs in a better feature set and higher performance than its price suggests
Review Date: 18 Oct 2011
Reviewed By: David Bayon
Price when reviewed: £1,184 (£1,421 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
We often talk about build quality when it comes to laptops, but Panasonic’s Toughbooks are a breed apart. Put simply, the semi-ruggedised CF-53 is the laptop equivalent of an army all-terrain vehicle: a 54mm magnesium-thickened chassis weighing 2.6kg; rubber seals over all interfaces; and a hard disk mounted in shock-absorbing polymers. You can drop it from up to 76cm and splash water over the keyboard, safe in the knowledge the Toughbook won’t even blink.
Using it feels like puzzling over a retro toy, with one flap on the right edge hiding a USB 2 and USB 3 port, and another masking ExpressCard/54, PC Card and SD slots, and a switch for the dual-band 802.11agn Wi-Fi. A third slides down to provide access to the removable battery – which we’ll come to later – while the rear has doors hiding two more USB 2 ports, Ethernet, HDMI and D-SUB outputs, and even a serial port.
A DVD drive sits on the left edge, with a 320GB hard disk in an easily removable SATA caddy; there's even a heated alternative available for use in extreme environments.
Then there’s the retractable carrying handle on the front edge, which minimises the impact of the weight, and the connector on the base that accepts Panasonic’s port replicator. Whether it's back at a desk or being slung around with its integrated carry handle, the CF-53 is ready for anything.
The 14in 1,366 x 768 display is matte and more than a bit grainy compared to the pin-sharp glossy screens we’re used to, but the screen is perfectly usable - we measured its brightness at 276cd/m2 - and it has a protective layer over it. If a traditional display just doesn't cut it, Panasonic also sells the CF-53 with a touchscreen.
Totally pointless for me...
....but i want want want. I could use it to clout muggers.
By creechitup on 18 Oct 2011
We use the older versions at work, absolutely vital for a lot of our field based trials.
By skarlock on 19 Oct 2011
A little heavy
It is too heavy to mobile work. I just use the dell vostro 1510 for work. See detail info here: http://www.laptopbattery4.co.uk/dell-vostro-1510-b
By luxl85 on 22 Dec 2011
I have one of these and I like it. The problem is that Panasonics customer support is exceptionally poor, forget writing on their website as they do not respond, forget them saying they'll call you back as they won't. As well as having problems buying it, please be careful where you order one as it appears Panasonic still support a dealer who cannot and will not supply them but will take your money. I recently only just needed a replacement charger and despite saying they have them in stock they will not release them and say you need to go through their re-sellers. The re-sellers say that Panasonic will not release them too. So I have no charger (the cheap ones you buy dont last long as I have had two that have gone pop !!)
Nice computer but rubbish customer sevice.
By dcrs6 on 10 Mar 2012
Panasonic (NON) Support
As the above post, Panansonic customer support is non existent. You want drivers? Good luck trying to find them on the website. They do offer to sort these out if you send it back with an order number to cover ANY works they need to do. DO NOT TOUCH THEM WITH A BARGEPOLE! I have overseen the elimination of 27 of these from our operation, all replaced by DELLS. My support costs have fallen and I get better kit. AVOID PANASONIC!
By Tricky4a on 31 Oct 2012
- Google reveals why it thinks we'll buy smartwatches
- Windows 8.2/Windows 9: release date, features and free cloud version
- Apple's top reasons for rejecting apps
- Raspberry Pi unveils HTML5-optimised browser
- Apple and FBI "actively investigating" celeb photo hack
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office