What is the best all round Toughbook?

What is the best all round Toughbook?

The Toughbook 55 will answer all your rugged laptop needs at a reasonable price.

Mobility – 20 standard hours of battery life in a lightweight (for a rugged device!) unit with an integrated carry handle. Screen options to suit even gloved users in the field.
Flexibility –  Universal bay, expansion slot and port choices allowing whatever you needed and the option to add later.
Durability- IP53 protection against dust and water splashes, a magnesium alloy casing providing 91cm drop proofing tested using MilSpec MIL-STD 810H procedures.

You get all that for a very reasonable starting price around £1400 plus VAT.

Back in September 2019, Panasonic invited me to the all hallowed grounds of English Rugby Union, Twickenham Stadium. (sadly not to watch a match, but maybe someday eh? …  )  The remit was to introduce premier reseller partners to the latest concept engineered by Panasonic.  The device was to be the greatest refresh in a long and very well respected line of performance rugged devices. You see, Panasonic doesn’t just build Laptops, Tablets and Handhelds, they engineer device solutions based on what is needed.  I’m not just saying that because they told me that. After 20 years of promoting and selling Toughbook, I have seen devices that were far too niche and technologies that were superior that didn’t take hold, but always Panasonic has striven for the best solution, whatever the problem is. I have seen master strokes to improve productivity and lessen downtime and all whilst maintaining a failure rate so low as to be the envy of all other manufacturers.  So back to the Toughbook 55 Launch. The Toughbook 55 remit was to provide a truly versatile and configurable semi-rugged performance device in a standard clamshell laptop format.  Of course, while maintaining the usual expected Panasonic low failure rate. The answer was ..Mobility, flexibility and durability.

How did Panasonic go about creating a one-stop solution for all customer needs?  Firstly they decided to offer 3 screen options. HD for the general user looking for a lower price point, Full HD for those requiring a better resolution and Full HD with Touchscreen. They then added 3 configuration areas to accommodate options like High-end Graphics, Smart Card Reader, and extra SSD drive in area 1 . Fingerprint reader, DVD Blueray, contactless SCR or second battery (I’ll come onto that one in more detail shortly…) in configuration area 2. You can even select your own legacy ports by adding a True Serial, VGA, rugged USB, 2nd GLAN or a 4th USB port…

Modular expansion for the Toughbook 55  Switch-Fit-Click was the innovative marketing strapline. We even played around and competed to set up a specified configuration ourselves in the fastest time.  OK, so the reality of the end-user changing the options didn’t quite bear full fruit when it came to supporting the 3-year standard collect and return warranty, Panasonic found a better option was to provide the device pre-configured or offer a 1-year warranty on user upgraded options. That said, most Toughbook users know what they want when they buy it, few ask to upgrade down the road… I mentioned the second battery option previously, and here was where my ears pricked up… Panasonic had created a device with a 20-hour battery life with the single standard battery!!! BUT beyond that, a second battery would give you up to 40 hours of field use… Incredible. Most of us have lived with a maximum of 6 or seven hours up until now, imagine being able to leave your AC charger behind for a whole day without worrying it would run out of power.