By Anthony J. Lockwood
As a form of consumer therapy, I window-shop for a new notebook computer pretty much every day. Remember that scene in the movie What About Bob? where Bill Murray is whining “I Want. I nee-eed. Give me. Give me. Give me”? That pretty much describes the shameless spectacle of me surfing the notebook aisles. Today’s give-me is Panasonic’s announcement yesterday of its new 7 Series line of Toughbook mobile computers.
Designed more for business use than pure engineering, one of the things I like most about the 7 Series is that they are ultraportable, ranging in weight from 3 to 3.7 pounds, yet they’re drop-tested for 36 inches – that exceeds the MIL-STD-810F standard by 10 inches. The sealed keyboards can handle more than 6 ounces of liquid, which covers my weekly coffee spill. And the Toughbooks’ lid and base are said to be able to withstand more than 220 pounds of pressure. After stepping on my daughter’s notebook, that’s a big one for me.
There are three models in the Toughbook 7 Series, starting with the 3-pound W7. Mobile broadband-ready, the W7 has a DVD multi drive, 12.1-inch LCD, 1GB SDRAM (expandable), 80 GB hard disk, and battery life of about 7 hours. This baby fits on an airline tray. The 3.7-pound Toughbook Y7 has much the same specs, except that it has a 14.1-inch display, which, in turn, lowers battery life to about 5 hours.
Finally, there’s the Toughbook T7. A 3.3-pound tablet PC, the T7 has a 12.1 inch touch-screen, stylus, and screen-rotating software. Its battery can last up to 9 hours. This is the one that really tweaks my notebook lust. I can see myself standing in the doorway of one of my kid’s rooms harassing them by flipping through charts depicting my displeasure with their cell phone, electricity, and water usage as well as miscellaneous overhead costs that have inspired a bout of parental irrationality.
The Toughbook 7 Series line uses Intel Core 2 dual core processors, magnesium alloy cases and chassis, and shock-mounted hard drives and LCDs, internal flexible connectors. Panasonic says that they use a proprietary power performance management technology that dynamically fine-tunes CPU usage based on system load and a new cooling system. Together, these features are said to optimize system performance, keep the case from overheating, and extend battery life. The 7 Series also comes with a three-year warranty. All of which means that 7 Series Toughbooks target stained and rumpled suit klutzes like me.
The Panasonic Toughbook Y7 is available now at an estimated street price of $2,449, and the W7 should be available in December for $2,099. I’m not 100-percent sure of the T7’s price, but it looks like it, too, will be $2,099. You can read more about Panasonic’s new 7 Series Toughbook notebook computers from today’s Pick of the Week write-up and from the links you’ll find there.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor At Large, Desktop Engineering magazine