Are Toughbooks worth it?
The simple answer is they are. If you need a reliable rugged device you cannot buy cheaper than a Toughbook. Sure, all the cost of a Toughbook is upfront, but you don’t have to replace your device anywhere near as often and it will return your investment on not failing when you need it.
A decent comparison would be using a teaspoon to dig a 40-meter trench, it simply isn’t designed for it. Professional Builders don’t buy cheap drill bits, architects don’t use crayons… The same is true in IT hardware. Don’t take my word for it, there are countless examples from customers from massive corporates like the AA right down to individual surveyors who insist on saving money by buying the right tool for the job in the right environment. I was once told that consumer-grade devices (iPad, Samsung etc) are actually designed to only last a year. Business devices for up to 3. Toughbook is made to survive 5-7 years and in harsher environments. That is not to say Apple and Samsung are rubbish, far from it, they just have a different starting point. Alongside engineering usability, there is also the cost-saving in making product platforms that don’t change so often. You can then use existing accessories, like vehicle docks and external chargers, on new devices even back to the previous models like the CF-54. You don’t need to completely redesign your own operations to fit around multiple changes. You save money in time, not waiting on device repairs, being able to use the device for a full day without stopping to charge, with being able to connect wherever you are. Added to that the Windows 10 pro secure operating system protects you against rootkit and boot attacks, optimised BIOS firmware reduces the risk of hacking and you can add further hardware security with removable SSD storage and optional fingerprint and smart card readers. Smart technology options can monitor the device and battery health in real-time for optimal productivity. All of this adds up to a ‘return on Investment’ saving and a lower ‘total cost of ownership’ over the device lifetime. Sweat that asset and improve your own sustainability to boot.
An option to negate the capital outlay of rugged devices is to go OPEX and create a subscription… that allows you to pay a monthly fee and upgrade to the latest units after 3 years. Panasonic has a 0% option when purchasing 10+ devices… Or we can help via our leasing partners.
All that said, Toughbook devices are not for everyone. If you aren’t mobile, you work in a clean office and rarely move around except perhaps to work from home and the odd meeting, the investment in rugged probably isn’t worth it. Only you will know if spending the money of the best you can get is worth the outlay. Personally, I like people who work in the muck and dirt, struggle against the elements and really test the devices we recommend. They’re the proof that rugged pays for itself time and time again. Examples from our customers include a field margin surveyor who quad-bikes around farms taking GPS readings. I happen to know he has jet washed his Toughbook!! How about the CF-18 that is still in use in a high vibration application since I sold it around 1998!!
But wait… the Toughbook 55 is getting even better?
That’s right. There is a Toughbook 55Mark II version just released…
It brings an even more powerful Intel processor with the 11th generation i5-1145G7 Vpro
Enhanced connectivity with onboard eSim (Embedded SIM built-in that can act just like a physical SIM card and also allow multiple networks – Very helpful for avoiding roaming charges ).
If you need better graphics performance you can add an extra RAM chip and the dual-channel will give you 30% better IRIS xe Graphic capabilities.
They have also added in the Thunderbolt 4 port… For those that have never come across this before, it is an Intel/Apple collaboration that uses the USB type c port and can handle bidirectional data transfer rates of 40GB/Second. This allows you access to a range of high bandwidth high-speed devices, such as docks, monitors, storage, video capture and high-speed external PCIe.
They have also updated the external Ports to be ‘user upgradable. It is a simple 4 screw process to add or swap the port module option.
What about Windows 11 – There will be a Win 11 version later this year/early next year, and also a downgrade option with Win 11 license.
So, if you want a great all-around PC for use out and about in the field, and without spending thousands, I recommend the new Panasonic Mark 2 Toughbook 55 (FZ-55). A
Find out more about the new Toughbook 55 ( FZ-55) here – Panasonic Toughbook 55 Mk2 – HD Touchscreen FZ-55 Models