Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 review: Panasonic Toughbook CF-53

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great battery life. New and legacy ports for all businesses. Good performance. WWAN module.

The Bad Quite bulky. Protective flaps for the ports can be annoying.

The Bottom Line Panasonic continues its successful rugged Toughbook range with the semi-rugged CF-53. Great battery life and good performance means this laptop won't slow you down, and the mixture of old and legacy ports means it should be ready for all sorts of harsh business environments.

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Nothing makes you feel like you're about to set off a bomb like the Toughbook CF-53. Or possibly disarm one, if you play for the good guys.

See, apart from being a "semi" rugged laptop, this thing comes with a handle on the front, forcing you to carry it like a briefcase, and refer to it as "the package".

As usual with these things we'll have to take Panasonic's word for its rugged ability; years of nurturing laptops make it quite impossible for us to drop this from a height of 76cm that the company reckons it can handle. It also claims to be able to resist 177 millilitres of liquid spill, and 100-kilogram-force of pressurised vibration, partially thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis.

All the ports are partially sealed by hard plastic covers, which will protect against dust — but the lack of rubber means there isn't a good enough seal to make it waterproof. Despite the extra protection they give the ports, the covers are incredibly annoying, automatically flipping back up and getting in the way of cables.

Open it up, and it looks every bit like a CIA operative's laptop as the outside, with an old-school keyboard and clearly separated mouse buttons. There is a concession to modern touch pads — double-finger scroll is in and usable.

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Where to Buy

Panasonic Toughbook CF-53

Part Number: CNETPanasonic Toughbook CF-53

Typical Price: $2,199.00

See manufacturer website for availability.