slimming down the ToughBook lineup as of late, but today it goes state-of-the-art -- today, the company's finely replacing the venerable Toughbook 52 with a 14-inch machine sporting Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, a larger touchpad, and a USB 3.0 port. The Toughbook 53 is also smaller, lighter at 5.6 pounds, and doesn't sacrifice the company's reputation for taking a licking and ticking right through -- it passes eight MIL-STD-810G tests for durability, comes with the same shock-resistant removable hard drive cartridge and spill-resistant keyboard, and is priced at a (relatively) reasonable $1,599 for the Core i3 model with 2GB of RAM and a battery rated for six hours. You'll see that one appear in August of this year.
It's the optional extras that really make this new Toughbook, though, as the $1,899 version will include a 2.5GHz Core i5-2520M processor, 4GB of RAM, 7200RPM hard drive and a 10-hour Li-ion cell when it arrives in June, and in July your $2449 can add a backlit keyboard and a Panasonic CircuLumin polarized anti-glare touchscreen which can vary the brightness up to 800 nits for outdoor use. We didn't ask how much the optional car dock costs, but there's one of those too, and Panasonic will also be offering LTE modems for both Verizon and AT&T later this summer for on-the-go communication. You won't be chaining this one to a snowmobile, but the rig sounds pretty versatile -- all it'd need is a discrete GPU and a high-res screen to lure us away from our consumer-grade clamshells. Find a video walkthrough and PR after the break.