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Panasonic CF-31: The Toughbook Legacy Lives On

Every once in awhile there is a company that hits a home run with an offering that precisely meets the market’s demands. In the world of Public Safety mobile computing systems this offering is called the Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computer.

The name "Toughbook" is generically used for many manufacturers’ ruggedized computers but let’s be very clear, the legacy of the Toughbook starts and continues with one company only, and that company is Panasonic Solutions Company.

It was in 1996 when Panasonic stepped up and introduced a new line of notebooks that would focus on the robust mobile computer market segment— the first “true” Toughbook (CF-25). Built to survive falls from heights of up to 2.3 feet and to resist, dust and humidity, it was clear that Panasonic was trying to revolutionize the whole laptop notion. Designed for a definitely new market share (like the military for example) the CF-25 had an aluminum alloy case with a solid handle for better carrying and was performing great in demanding environments and extreme surroundings.

The legacy Panasonic Toughbook computer is now in its 6th generation (16 versions within those 6 generations) with the introduction of the cutting edge Toughbook CF-31. A product of always improving technology, the Toughbook computer is the standard by which everyone is measured by. For years, Panasonic has held Advisory Council Meetings and it is this direct interaction with front line users that has developed the Toughbook product to where it is today with the evolution of the Toughbook CF-31.

In their drive for ever-tougher Toughbook computers, Panasonic technicians conduct more than 500 checks and tests before, during and after production. Oven-like temperatures, 26 consecutive drops and 12 hours of water spray are just a few of the tortures Toughbook computers must endure. High quality materials, innovative technologies, and vertically integrated manufacturing all contribute to the exceptional reliability of Toughbook mobile computers. Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers are designed to handle almost any situation-from business-rugged computers that withstand bangs, bumps and spillage, to fully-rugged and the ultra-mobile-rugged.

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 looks the same as its predecessor on the outside, but inside this Intel Core i5 machine boasts almost double the performance and increased protection without sacrificing battery life. In accordance with customers’ requests, the Toughbook CF-31 notebook maintains a platform footprint virtually identical to past flagship products. This marks 11 consecutive years of consistent vehicle docking capabilities, allowing customers to upgrade Toughbook computers without replacing vehicle docks, and significantly lowering the total cost of ownership.

While the Toughbook CF-30 met the Mil-Std 810F durability standard, the CF-31 is made of tougher stuff, and is designed to meet specifications for ingress protection (IP-65) and durability (Mil-Std 810G). At 1,100 nits, it’s exceptionally bright: about 5 times that of typical laptops, which tend to be in the 200-nit range. The 13.31-inch display on the Toughbook CF-31 is ideal for touchscreen applications, as it’s easier to press larger icons, especially those found in most CAD/MDT systems used in law enforcement. Security options for the Toughbook CF-31 include a Smart Card reader, fingerprint reader, and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2.

The Toughbook CF-31 has made a significant improvement to battery life with a full recharge taking only 4 hours to completely recharge. Other options include a long-life battery pack that should provide up to 11 hours of life. The CF-31 comes with a three-year limited parts-and-labor warranty, including 24/7 toll-free tech support.

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 is the latest in a legacy of products from the people who know what front line public safety workers need. It is this direct connection with the user that makes this product stand out from the pack. More importantly it’s the reason why the majority of computers that are mounted in North American police vehicles are Panasonic Toughbook. 

Sergeant Brad Brewer is a 22-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. He sits on the Ford Police Advisory Board and regularly gives presentations at law enforcement conferences on mobile computing, wireless technology and police vehicle ergonomics. He can be reached at

Published in Public Safety IT, Nov/Dec 2011

Rating : 10.0

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