Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1 review

Price when reviewed

The convertible laptop concept isn’t new, but there’s something remarkable about the way the Panasonic Toughbook family combines its famous durability with surprising portability. Indeed, the family’s newest member, the Toughbook CF-C1, lays claim to being the lightest convertible tablet on the market.

The CF-C1 is classed as business-rugged, so it doesn’t boast the nigh-on indestructible physique of the fully-rugged models elsewhere in Panasonic’s range. It still sits a chunky 58mm from the desk, which doesn’t sound or feel like a step forward from its fully-rugged siblings. But appearances can be, and are, deceptive: at just 1.49kg it’s not much heavier than the most featherlight ultraportables.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1

Yet the CF-C1 sticks to the usual Toughbook design brief. The thick-set magnesium alloy frame is hardly catwalk stuff, but it both looks and feels entirely utilitarian: its priority is practicality, and it doesn’t care a jot about doing it with style. The oversized chassis leaves plenty of room around the vital components inside, so, in the event of an accidental drop or blow, it keeps working where other notebooks would give up the ghost.

Panasonic rates the CF-C1 to survive drops of 30in, and we can believe it. Press as hard as you like on the lid and, while the plastic gives, there’s not the slightest hint of it breaking through to the TFT panel inside. In fact, despite the low weight, the whole chassis feels impressively resilient and flex-free. And if you’re clumsy enough to pour a cup of tea across the keyboard you’ll see it trickle harmlessly from drainage ports on the underside.

Our model came with the 12.1in 1,280 x 800 capacitive multitouch panel – although a resistive panel is available for applications where gloved usage is required. Spin the display round on its axis and flatten it into Tablet mode, and it works as well with the prod of a finger as it does the stylus, which neatly stows away on the right flank. Viewing angles aren’t fantastic, and there’s a little grain due to the touch layer above the LCD panel itself, but it’s fine for business purposes and, crucially, the brightness is high enough for outdoor usage.


Warranty3yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions299 x 227 x 58mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.9kg
Weight with extended battery1.7kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-520M
Motherboard chipsetIntel QM57 Express
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size12.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS545025B9SA00
Optical disc technologynone
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity6,000mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapteryes
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots1
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetConexant SmartAudio HD
Speaker locationRight-hand edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?no
Camera megapixel ratingN/A
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use5hr 4min
Overall application benchmark score1.55
Office application benchmark score1.28
2D graphics application benchmark score1.63
Encoding application benchmark score1.51
Multitasking application benchmark score1.77
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery disc
Software suppliedN/A

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