Panasonic's latest laptops can survive pressure from a jam-packed commuter train in Japan

Panasonic expects demand for rugged devices from regional countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, to grow in the next few years.
Panasonic expects demand for rugged devices from regional countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, to grow in the next few years.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Panasonic's rugged Toughbook laptops are built to survive drops from up to 76cm, or around the height of an office table.

But did you know they are also designed to survive a trip on a crowded train in Japan during peak hour?

At a launch event for its latest Toughbook models, Panasonic's general manager Soh Pheng Kiat said that the pressure of jam-packed commuter trains have led to cracked laptop screens.

Hence, Panasonic's Toughbooks are made to withstand up to 100kg of pressure, though you may not be able to tell this just by looking at the new Toughbook CF-MX4. At 21mm thick, this 12.5-inch laptop is almost as thin as ultrabooks and weighs just 1.14kg.

With a hinge that rotates 360 degrees, the CF-MX4 can easily convert into a Windows 8.1 tablet with a full-HD touchscreen. The bundled stylus slots into the side of the device.

The other new laptop announced today, the Toughbook CF-54, is a 14-inch model with a spill-resistant keyboard. Its full-HD screen can be configured to be viewable in bright sunlight, and is touch-capable even with gloves. However, it is heavier (2.1kg) and thicker (29.8mm) than the CF-MX4.

Both Toughbooks use the latest Intel fifth-generation processors. They are available at authorised Panasonic resellers, such as Newstead Technologies, at a starting price of $3,220 for the CF-MX4 and $2,680 for the CF-54.

Panasonic also announced that it has set up a facility in Johor, Malaysia to serve the ASEAN region. Panasonic will be able to fulfil corporate orders at a faster rate.

Panasonic expects demand for rugged devices from regional countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, to grow in the next few years.

vinchang@sph.com.sg