Panasonic's Toughbook range have the effective image of a pair of Stubbies. Not a couple of glass bottles of beer, but the fairly iconic men's work shorts range, in that they're never really the most visually attractive laptops you could buy, but even a cursory glance at them suggests that they can take more than a few knocks that would leave more "boutique" designs in a pile of shattered glass and plastic.
The Toughbook CF-C1 carries on this tradition with a solid but mostly understated design look. The biggest change in this particular convertible tablet's design is that the trackpad is circular, with the two mouse buttons at the base, similar to the .
The circular rim of the trackpad does allow for scrolling, but it's not always a smooth operation. Overall, a circular trackpad is an oddity that we're still not quite sure of from a practical viewpoint, but it certainly makes the Toughbook CF-C1 stand out.
The real design surprise with the Toughbook CF-C1 isn't the circular trackpad, or the fact that it's a convertible slate-style tablet, but the carrying weight. We're extremely used to ruggedised notebooks coming with the penalty of extra heft, but the Toughbook CF-C1 bucks that particular trend. At 1.47kg, the first time you pick up the Toughbook CF-C1 you might be tempted to wonder if Panasonic's only sold you an empty shell of a notebook, and forgotten to put in any circuitry inside.
The innards are, as with most rugged notebooks, more suited to business (and business in the field, at that) than they are to play. An Intel Core i5 M520 2.4GHz handles processing duties along with Intel's GMA HD graphics solution, a 250GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM. The Toughbook CF-C1 uses a 12.1-inch 1280x800-pixel multi-touch-capable display. There's no optical drive present, but you do get a single Type II PC Card slot, three USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and VGA port.