GCN LAB REVIEWS
Toughbook 31 combines powerhouse performance with long battery life
- By John Breeden II
- Sep 29, 2010
The Toughbook line has been one of the standards in rugged laptops for many years now, and the newly designed Toughbook 31 is no exception to that rule.
What is rare for any laptop is the performance of this powerhouse, which is better than most desktops. It scored 1,061 on the PassMark Performance Benchmark, blowing away everything else in this review. A few hundred points higher, and the 31 might be suitable for the workstation review we’re conducting later this year.
Panasonic Toughbook 31
Pros: Extremely tough; powerful processor.
Cons: Heavy; a bit expensive.
Rugged level: A+
Ease of use: A-
Price: $3,799 as configured for test
10 rugged devices that are fit for all seasons
Rugged has always been paramount in the Toughbook line, and it’s news when we’re able to scratch one of these units. We weren’t.
Its battery lasted a magical 4 hours, 30 minutes in our worst-case scenario testing. Of course, the big battery contributes to the unit’s 8 pounds, 2 ounces of weight, which is a slight negative against this otherwise stellar laptop. A lighter battery could be used to cut that down to 7.9 pounds, but we like the long battery life
We used to think that the recessed USB port along the side of the unit was a negative because it prevented some key drives from accessing the laptop, but we recently found out that it’s actually a feature. Cops who mounted the 31 inside their vehicles would use a key drive and then reach for something on the dash, breaking the flash drive inside the 31 and ruining the motherboard. With the deeply recessed port, the key drive might still snap, but the motherboard is unharmed. So the 31 is actually made that way on purpose. And regular nonrecessed USB ports sit around back.
The silvery coating on the 31 helps it resist heat in our GCN Rainforest test or inside a hot patrol car all day. And it has a blackout mode, which will quickly shut down all the lights on the unit and turn off the radios, which is perfect for stakeouts or black ops.
The Toughbook 31 is a real workhorse for anyone who needs their equipment to work regardless of any other environmental factors.
Panasonic Solutions Company, www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/laptop-computers.asp