The bulk of the changes on the W4, priced at $2,199, are inside the case. Panasonic has stocked the laptop with an assortment of previous-generation parts (no Core Solo or Core Duo processors here): a 1.2GHz Pentium M Ultra Low Voltage processor, 512MB of middling 400MHz RAM, a 40GB hard drive spinning at 4,200rpm, and integrated Intel graphics. Those components are nearly identical to the similarly priced Fujitsu LifeBook P7120's, though not quite as fresh as those on the less expensive, Core Solo-based Gateway NX100X. Nevertheless, the W4 matched the performance of both the Fujitsu and the Gateway on CNET Labs' performance benchmarks and should prove sufficient for basic business applications such as e-mail, word processing, and spreadsheets.
The W4 also displayed an impressive battery life, lasting 5 hours, 41 minutes in our drain tests. The LifeBook P7120 held out just 7 minutes more, while the NX100X trailed far behind both competitors, lasting an average 3 hours, 6 minutes.
Like its predecessor, the W4 is covered by a lengthy three-year standard warranty (most consumer laptops are covered for only one year). In addition, Panasonic provides paid shipping for repairs, along with lifetime, toll-free, 24/7 tech support--a package that's virtually unheard of these days. The company's support Web site includes troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and driver downloads, as well as the option to contact a support rep via e-mail.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Find out more about how we test Windows laptops.
Fujitsu LifeBook P7120
Windows XP Professional; 1.2GHz Intel Pentium M ULV 753; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 128MB; Toshiba MK6006GAH 60GB 4,200rpm
Windows XP Professional; 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo U1400; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM PC4300 533MHz; Intel 945GM Express 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 80GB 5,400rpm
Panasonic ToughBook W4
Windows XP Professional; 1.2GHz Intel Pentium M ULV 753; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 128MB; Toshiba MK25GASL 40GB 4,200rpm