Toughbook F8 looks rugged, but won't weigh you down

Panasonic has unveiled several upgrades to its line of Toughbook notebook PCs, including the highly portable Toughbook F8.

The F8 packs the rugged line's familiar robust features, including an internal optical drive, six-hour battery life, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4G of RAM and a 160G shock-mounted hard drive, Panasonic representatives said at a press conference in Japan last week.

But at 3.7 pounds, the sturdy-looking F8 is almost shockingly lightweight. Journalists at the demonstration following the press conference would pick up the F8 notebook by its integrated handle and sling it over their shoulders like it was a sweater.

Like the other 8 Series products, the F8 will ship with optional embedded Qualcomm Gobi 3G wireless WAN broadband technology. The products also offer a range of embedded wireless options, including 802.11a/b/g/draft-n and Bluetooth 2.0.

The 8 series will be certified on all major networks worldwide; workers can stay connected regardless of network availability and whether the network is using CDMA2000 EV-DO or HSPA/UMTS/GPRS technologies, the company said.

Also introduced last week were the ultraportable Toughbook W8, which weighs about three pounds, and the Toughbook T8, a tablet PC alternative notebook PC with a touch screen, stylus and 7-hour battery life, the company said.

The 8 Series Panasonic Toughbook notebooks go on sale next month. The W8 and T8 notebooks are will cost about $2,099; the F8 will cost about $2,499.

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About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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