Panasonic Toughbook CF-18 £2000
30th Apr 2006 | 23:00
The Camel Man of Tablet PCs
Panasonic has clearly made a market for itself by releasing a Tablet PC for fieldworkers. The Toughbook CF-18 is a fully ruggedised device that meets the MIL-STD- 810F military standard. This means it can withstand almost any conditions.
As you would expect from a sealed unit, Panasonic has had to opt for an ultra-low voltage processor in the form of the Intel Pentium M 753(1.2GHz). This isn't the most powerful chip, but you'll find that it handles office tasks well. Where the Toughbook excels is in battery life, lasting, under test, for 366 minutes.
The chassis is a solidly cast piece of magnesium-alloy with rubber and plastic shocks to withstand any impact. As a sealed unit water can't get into the inner workings and all of the ports on the outside are sealed. The screen is a 10.4-inch digitised panel that is locked into place with a catch on the main body, allowing you to twist it round into slate mode.
The digitised pen is tethered to the screen. The keyboard is small but usable; the touchpad less so, as it is slow to respond. The Panasonic Toughbook CF- 18 isn't without its flaws - the touchpad slows navigation down and the keyboard is rather small. However, for use in any conditions, the screen is responsive and makes using this tablet easy out in the wilds.