Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y5 review

£1774
Price when reviewed

This Labs wouldn’t be complete without Panasonic’s Toughbook CF-Y5, as it fits the long-life title in more than one sense. Its semi-ruggedised silver chassis is made from magnesium, which, despite weighing in at just 1.5kg, can take a huge amount of punishment.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y5 review

Panasonic claims the ridged design of the lid allows the CF-Y5 to withstand pressure of up to 100kg and drops from up to a foot, while the hard disk should emerge unscathed after a fall from two-and-a-half times higher than that. It’s also protected – and we tested this ourselves – against water damage thanks to drainage material and channels leading out from under the keyboard and touchpad to the outside.

Not only is it an extremely durable notebook, but it also lasts a decent length of time in daily use: we eked out 6hrs 33mins – right up there with the Samsung, although not quite on a par with the best of the group. It still managed 2hrs 26mins in our intensive test, so for overall portability it’s hard to fault.

You obviously trade off a certain amount of processing power to achieve this long life, but the low-power 1.66GHz Core Duo L2400 battled admirably to a benchmark score of 0.78. Be warned, though, this is largely down to the presence of Windows XP Professional; Vista would have put much more strain on the Toughbook’s measly 512MB of memory.

There are compromises elsewhere, too: the top-opening DVD writer doesn’t support dual-layer discs, plus you’re limited to a small 60GB hard disk and it isn’t of the newer SATA variety.

But, the 1,400 x 1,050 screen copes pretty well in daylight, and the keyboard is solid with a good amount of feedback. We can’t deny the CF-Y5 is expensive, but if a normal notebook won’t cut it for you the Toughbook could be the answer.

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