There are notebooks, there are rugged notebooks, and then there's the Toughbook.
Panasonic's line of Schwarzenegger-esque laptops is built to surpass military spec ratings for reliability in heat and cold, dust and water, and everything from thudding onto a concrete floor to being run over by a car.
Having already piped the Toughbook's DNA into a ruggedised tablet known as the Toughpad, Panasonic has bolted the two together into a hardcore slab of 2-in-1 hardware dubbed the Toughbook 20.
In basic form and function the Toughbook 20 offers the same 'twist and swivel' display as its more modest Main Street siblings,...
... along with a detachable but still everything-proof 10 inch screen.
Where Panasonic has really thought about the Toughbook 20's world shows in other aspects of the design, such as a thick built-in handle for carrying the device around or hanging on a wall, and a touchscreen that can be used even when you're wearing gloves.
The new model also has 16% larger keys than its predecessor for easier operation by the largest glove-shrouded hands. Even the SSD drive gets its own heater to keep it running in the cold.
The magnesium alloy chassis is fitted with polymer and elastomer edge protectors and all of its ports are sealed with rubber plugs.
The detachable display is lined with USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, microSD and microSIM slots while the keyboard bristles with additional USB, HDMI and Ethernet ports plus those hard-to-shake VGA and nine-pin serial connectors.
Surprisingly, the whole shebang tips the scales at just under 1.8kg while the detachable tablet is just 950 grams, making this very carryable kit for its class.
The supplied battery is fitted into the screen, with the option of squeezing a second same-sized (2,600mAh) cell into the keyboard and even a "bridge battery" which allows the main battery to be swapped out on the fly without the Toughbook being switched off.
Panasonic will start selling the Toughbook 20 in Australia from May at a starting price of $5,400.
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