Panasonic Toughbook CF-53


A full-rugged laptop

Who hasn’t always dreamed of a laptop that could withstand almost everything that’s thrown at it, including mud? Panasonic has so far come with 3 solutions that promised to solve problems. The three models were addressed to businessmen, people who love semi-rugged and people who want full-rugged laptops. The new Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 model we decided to test and write this review about belonged to the second category. Here are our thoughts on the product.

Military MIL-STD-810G certification

In the looks department, the Toughbook CF-53 looks like something out of an action movie or like a briefcase that could easily house a tablet. The exterior is defined by a silver finish; the notches it has on either side come with screws that anyone can see. So, if we were to give the CF-53 a grade based solely on its design, it would receive an A, because it looks really well-built and capable of withstanding anything. But looks aren’t everything, as we all know, so let’s see how the laptop deals with extreme situations.Panasonic-Toughbook-CF-53

First things first, the product ships with a MIL-STD-810G certification; in other words, the device was able to go through a 1m fall, vibrations, extreme temperatures, humidity and so on and still survive to tell the story. While the keyboard can resist water, the same thing can’t be said about the panels on the side, the speakers, the battery area and the device’s DVD drive.

Intel Core 2.5 GHz vPro i5 CPU

The fact that the laptop’s ports and connectivity options are kept behind an under auto-shut flap is certainly annoying, because users will need to hold the said flap with one hand while connecting cables with the other. The hinges of the Toughbook CF-53 have a very solid build, as does its whole body. We even dropped it a couple of times and it didn’t damage. The display, though, looked very frail. Concerning the keyboard, it had a lot of space to rest our hands on, but the layout wasn’t made of the usual buttons.

The processor that gives power and speed to the Toughbook CF-53 is an Intel Core 2.5 GHz vPro i5. This CPU comes with 320 GB HDD space and 4GB of RAM. As you all know, a toughbook isn’t known for its ability to play HD games, so the model we review here has an unimpressive built-in Intel HD Graphics Card. The laptop uses the Windows 7 Professional (32-bit version) operating system and the software included on the CF-53 laptop consists of a restore program and a battery recalibration one. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth make for connectivity; there’s no webcam, so you’ll have to buy one if you want to keep in touch with colleagues.

Good overall performance

The performance of this laptop was a good one. We didn’t really appreciate the fact that the delete button was sitting next to the directional keypad, because as a consequence it made us do quite a lot of errors when typing something on the keyboard. Viewing angles were fabulous and the pair of speakers did very well during our sound tests. More than that, booting and shutdown took only 20 seconds, respectively 6 seconds. A great advantage: the laptop didn’t heat up as quickly as devices today do and more often than not it didn’t actually heat up at all. The product lasted almost 3 hours with heavy usage thanks to the 6750 mAh battery it contained; moderate activities prolonged the battery life by 3 hours.

Review conclusion

If you’re on the lookout for a semi-rugged laptop, the Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 is definitely a great choice.

Technical specifications

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2520M
Display size14-inch LCD panel
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM65 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets total2
High reliability and security with 76cm free fall test
Battery life10 hours of backup
Total weight2.65 kg