IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Panasonic Toughbook CF-W8 - Review

We take a look at a preproduction sample of Panasonic's Centrino 2 based 'business ruggedised' Toughbook CF-W8.

Several touches around the suitably tough chassis are sure to please business users who need their notebook to take a bit of a beating. The optical drive a DVD writer sits below the keyboard, accessible via a small switch. It's an effective way of keeping your drive safer than had it been in the traditional position on the side of the chassis, although opening the door is actually quite difficult. There's a physical wireless switch on the front of the Toughbook, and the battery is secured by two tough locks.

The CF-W8 is well equipped for ports and sockets, too. Three USB ports sit beside Ethernet and modem sockets, and the SDHC card reader sits in a small recess below the ExpressCard/54 slot. There's a VGA output, but that's it as far as display outputs go and the available port replicator, which costs at least 80, doesn't rectify this situation. Still, the USB ports, card reader and connectivity options have most of the bases covered.

Open up the Panasonic and start to use it, though, and you'll run into problems the amount of ruggedisation that's been applied to the CF-W8 mean that it isn't an ergonomic success. The keyboard, for instance, feels reasonably comfortable to use the keys offer plenty of travel and as pleasant to type on but several aspects of its design leave us cold. Each individual key is slightly shorter and wider than the average laptop key, which initially threw us off, and the single-height enter key and tiny space bar make for an annoying initial period before you get used to the Panasonic's various nuances. We'd go as far as to say that the best netbooks offer a more comfortable typing experience, although obviously these devices don't have anywhere near the hardware protection, or performance, that the Panasonic offers.

The trackpad isn't without fault, either. It's a quirky circular unit but we're not entirely convinced. While the surface is reasonably snappy and responsive, it's far too small, and the accompanying pair of mouse buttons, again, lack in the size department. The circular pad may look trendy and modern, but a traditional rectangular pad would have done a far better job.

The screen, along with the keyboard, isn't without fault. There was a small amount of backlight bleeding through from the bottom of the panel, and bright colours looked slightly dull. Bright white tones also had a slight red hue to them, which means that this wouldn't be ideal for precise photo editing. During every day use in Word and Excel, for instance the screen's minor deficiencies aren't noticeable, and the many brightness options mean that it's a particularly versatile panel.

Featured Resources

The 3D skills report

Add 3D skills to your creative toolkits and play a sizeable role in the digital future

Free Download

The increasing need for environmental intelligence solutions

How sustainability has become a major business priority and is continuing to grow in importance

Free Download

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

Solve global challenges with machine learning

Tackling our word's hardest problems with ML

Free Download

Recommended

Japanese telco NTT to invest $3.5 billion in Indian data centres
data centres

Japanese telco NTT to invest $3.5 billion in Indian data centres

23 Jan 2023
Japan considers creating new cyber defence agency as attacks ramp up in region
cyber attacks

Japan considers creating new cyber defence agency as attacks ramp up in region

24 Nov 2022
Japan to establish $450 million fund for 6G research
Network & Internet

Japan to establish $450 million fund for 6G research

3 Nov 2022
Fujitsu and Keio University partner on automated internet 'trust layer'
data processing

Fujitsu and Keio University partner on automated internet 'trust layer'

14 Oct 2022

Most Popular

Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business
Sponsored

Why energy efficient technology is key to a sustainable business

16 Jan 2023
Yandex data breach reveals source code littered with racist language
data breaches

Yandex data breach reveals source code littered with racist language

30 Jan 2023
European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it
Sponsored

European partners expect growth this year, here are three ways they will achieve it

17 Jan 2023