14.1 in 1,280×1,024 display, 1.7kg, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9300, 3.00GB RAM, 160GB disk, Windows Vista Business (Windows XP Professional restore disc)
The Toughbook CF-F8 is a departure from Panasonic’s Executive range of semi-ruggedised laptops: it’s been designed to be stylish as well as tough.
From the black lid with its protective ridge to the practical carry-handle that locks tightly into position, this is a desirable Toughbook. Fortunately, making it attractive hasn’t compromised its reliability, and the CF-F8 can take a drop from 76cm when turned on, withstand 100kg of weight evenly distributed across its lid and take a glass or more of water over its keyboard.
The CF-F8 is also the first Toughbook to have an up-to-date specification, with a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo SP9300 and 3GB of RAM. Its results in our benchmark tests were impressive and hampered only slightly by the Vista Business installation, which lacks the DVD codec necessary to run all our TV and Movies benchmarks.
Previous Toughbooks have all had 4:3 screens, but the CF-F8 has a large 14.1in widescreen display. Its resolution of 1,280×800 is slightly disappointing, particularly as the Japanese version has a 1,440×1,280 display. However, it produces a high-quality image, has an even backlight and realistic, rather than vibrant, colours. Viewing angles are a little tight, but it’s easy to adjust the screen to get the best image.
The screen size means there’s lots of space for a decent keyboard, and the CF-F8’s doesn’t disappoint. The keys have plenty of travel and lots of feedback, and we’d happily use this laptop for typing all day.
The downside of a large screen is usually the weight. However, the CF-F8 weighs just 1.66kg. Considering that this includes a battery that can power the laptop and the integrated DVD writer for almost six hours, that’s seriously impressive. With a built-in 3G modem, you’ll be able to get the most out of this battery life and work wherever you need to.
There are a couple of minor niggles. The main annoyance is that there’s only a VGA output, with no DVI or HDMI ports. The 160GB hard disk also feels a little stingy at this price, although it’s still plenty of space for office work.
Aside from this, however, there’s a lot to love about the CF-F8. Its stylish looks, light weight, physical size, long battery life and tough credentials make it the ultimate laptop for carrying around and working comfortably on all day. The only major drawback is its price. If toughness and portability are your primary concerns, the CF-F8 is peerless; if you’re not worried about having something so tough, Asus’s U6V costs almost £1,000 less and has a similar range of specifications.
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo P9300|
|Processor clock speed||2.26GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||SoundMax HD Audio|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption idle||16W|
|Power consumption active||25W|
|Viewable size||14.1 in|
|Graphics Processor||Intel GM45 Express|
|Total storage capacity||160GB|
|Optical drive model||Matshita DVD-RAM UJ869PS ATA Drive|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|Wireless networking support||802.11a/n, HSDPA|
|PC Card slots||1x ExpressCard/54|
|Supported memory cards||SDHC|
|Other ports||docking station connecter|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Business (Windows XP Professional restore disc)|
|Operating system restore option||restore disc|
|Software included||Intervideo WinDVD, Roxio Creator|
|Warranty||three years collect and return|