Panasonic has been making its Toughbook line of ultra-durable laptops for two decades now as rarely-fail machines capable of surviving rough working environments. The line introduced the latest model of its 2-in-1 hybrid Toughbook 20, but it appears to have gotten mostly small improvements over the model's first version that debuted two years ago.
The most notable upgrades improve day-to-day use. The introduction of a "bridge battery" means one can hot-swap power sources, meaning users won't have to power down the hybrid in between. Customers can also buy a second battery that plugs in under the keyboard, boosting full charge use time from 8.5 hours to 17 hours. The Toughbook 20's touchscreen now has a digitizer to enable stylus interactions, and also includes an infrared webcam, as well as Windows Hello support.
The current Toughbook 20 can be outfitted with a 7th generation Intel Core i5-7Y57 chip running at 1.2 gHz (Turbo Boost will take it up to 3.3 gHz) and 64-bit Windows 10, though customers also have the option to buy a downgraded m5-6Y57 chip with Windows 7 that's roughly as powerful as the 2016 model. The hybrid's 8GB of RAM can be expanded to 16GB; Likewise, its 256GB SSD can be upgraded to 512GB, with the option of OPAL encryption.
The Toughbook 20 debuted with plenty of connections on both the tablet and keyboard sections, and the latest model is no exception. The detachable top has slots for USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, audio jack, MicroSD and SIM, with an optional 9-pin serial port. The bottom has two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, 15-pin VGA, Ethernet and its own 9-pin USB serial, along with and SD card slot.
The Toughbook 20 comes with a 4-year warranty and is considered Fully Rugged, certified MIL-STD-810G to survive 4-foot falls, MIL-STD-461F to endure electromagnetic interference and water- and dust-proof to the IP65level. All this comes at a cost in weight (3.9 pounds) and price (starts at $3,100), but if you need a computer to absolutely survive your rough and tumble workplace but want the flexibility of a 2-in-1 hybrid, this is one of your only options.