Rugged laptops for cubicle escapees

Those of us who toil under fluorescent lights might not immediately appreciate the value of "daylight-readable displays crucial for mission-critical and field-mobile applications." But people who break free from the cubicle cave and labor in the actual light of day will likely perk up at that description by Panasonic, which just introduced two new rugged Toughbook notebooks that it says have the brightest screens around.

Credit: Panasonic
The CF-30 is one of two new
Panasonic Toughbooks.

The CF-19 convertible tablet PC features a 550-Nit screen with a new low-reflection coating (nit is a measure of brightness, with one nit equaling one candela per square meter). The CF-30 clamshell notebook (pictured) boasts a 1,000 Nit LCD, delivering the brightness of a fixed mount display in a portable computer.

The CF-30, Panasonic says, is the first mobile notebook to achieve this milestone in screen brightness, which the company hopes will be useful for law enforcement, first responders, military personnel, field service technicians--or, quite possibly, beachgoers sitting on the sidelines of a summertime volleyball match.

Both wireless-ready notebooks (WLAN, WWAN, GPS and Bluetooth) have other tough-'em-up features as well: They're made of magnesium alloy and have shock-mounted screens, sealed keyboards and ports and flexible internal connectors.

The Toughbooks, which sport Intel Core Duo processors and battery life of about six hours, will be available in December. A base-model CF-19 will go for an estimated $4,199 and a CF-30 for about $4,699. Click here to read CNET reviews of previous-generation Toughbook models.

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