While many of the big tech firms out there try to expand into VR, AR, and AI (oh my!), Panasonic seems to have found a niche market, and is sticking with it. The electronics giant, who has made a name for itself as one of the leaders in rugged computing, just released the latest in its Toughbook line. This year, the 2-in-1 is finally getting an ultra-durable makeover with the introduction of the Toughbook CF-33, a nearly indestructible convertible laptop that’s no slouch when it comes to ports and power. According to Panasonic, this extreme hybrid is aimed at “police, emergency services, government agencies, defense, field service workers, maintenance and service technicians,” and has been built to endure all the spills, thrills, falls, bumps, and blasts you can imagine throwing at it.
In addition to being extremely durable, the Toughbook CF-33 is introducing a few firsts in the world of rugged computing. Most notably, Panasonic says that it is the world’s first rugged hybrid laptop with a 3:2 aspect ratio display. The 12-inch screen was obviously designed with the outdoors in mind, as the touchscreen can even be used while wearing gloves. Plus, the 2,160 x 1,440 QHD resolution features an impressively bright panel at 1200 nits, meaning it will still be relatively easy to view even in bright sunlight. A pair of super heavy-duty latches connects the tablet itself to its keyboard dock, which can easily be removed to standalone as a simple presentation device. The entire Toughbook is reinforced with a hardened magnesium chassis, IP65 rating for water resistance, and a drop resistance up to four feet while in operation. So again – this thing is nearly indestructible. Perhaps the most surprising aspect, though, is the high-level specs they managed to cram into this hybrid’s rugged exterior.
While the current trend in laptops and tablets seems to be moving away from port-rich devices, it doesn’t look like Panasonic got that memo. The Toughbook CF-33 features USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, microSD-XC, and audio ports – and that’s just on the tablet half. The keyboard dock offers an additional two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and even serial and VGA ports. In keeping with its rugged nature, each port is of course covered by a waterproof door. In order to keep everything running smoothly, it supports up to a 7th generation Intel Core processor and features twin hot swappable batteries, so you never have to power down your work flow to charge up your machine. Perhaps the coolest feature of all lies in the included IP-55 digitizer pen, a stylus that fully supports Windows Ink. One edge of the tablet component includes a unique little pop-out holder, which keeps the pen tucked away when not in use, and handily accessible when you need to use it. And speaking of handy, the entire rig folds up into an insanely portable little six-pound briefcase for maximum convenience on-the-go.
While no official U.S. release date or price are available yet, European prices seem to indicate that this sturdy little workhorse will have a starting price of around $3,000.
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