Toybox: Toughbook ready for office rough and tumble

The light-weight Panasonic CF-Y7 doesn't look very robust, but it has secret powers

Panasonic’s CF-Y7 Toughbook isn’t trying to impress. It has a pretty simple look — some would even call it bland. You could easily think this is an average notebook computer covered in a plastic casing — no more, no less.

However, while the light-weight CF-Y7 doesn’t look very robust, it has secret powers. The thin, plastic-looking chassis is actually made of magnesium alloy. So, while it looks and feels like it would dent easily, the lid can reportedly take 100kgs of pressure.

The Clark Kent-esque CF-Y7 can also take a free-fall of 76cm — the average height of a desk — without shutting down. And the spill-resistant keyboard can handle being drenched by a cup of coffee or two.

The two funny-looking bumps on the lid are part of the design and help protect the screen.

Weighing in at only 1.5kgs, and measuring 310 x 245 x 44mm, this notebook is a Toughbook for business people, designed to handle the off-roading challenges posed by the modern open-plan office.

One of things I really liked about the CF-Y7 was its keyboard. It is soft and responsive, and the keys are quite big for a notebook.

Below the keyboard is the round touchpad, found on all Toughbook Business mobile-range notebooks. I’m not sure about the look of it, and it feels a bit unusual at first, but after using it for a while I realised it’s not very different to the average touchpad.

Right and left click buttons are located on each side of the pad. The best thing about the round touchpad is that you can scroll up and down websites or documents by making a circular movement with your finger.

The optical drive is a bit of a surprise. Instead of the usual slot on the side, the right-side panel below the keyboard flips open to reveal the CD/DVD drive. The cover opens upwards, which is handy when travelling.

Another advantage is the battery power: 4.5 hours, approximately. The CF-Y7 features a 14.1-inch LCD display with a nice resolution of 1400 x 1050. It is equipped with an SD Memory Card slot, PC Card slot and two USB ports. Panasonic’s undercover superhero ships with Windows Vista Business and a 1.6GHz Core Duo processor.

It comes with 1GB of RAM, an 80GB shock-mounted hard drive, and has integrated 802.11 a/b/g wireless LAN and Bluetooth.

Recommended retail price for the CF-Y7 is $4,399, excluding GST. RRP for the CF-W7, its baby brother, is $3,799, excluding GST.

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Tags PanasonicToughbook

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