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Panasonic Toughbook T5

Semi-rugged ultra-light T-Series Toughbook gets touchscreen and tech updates
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The Panasonic Toughbook T5 replaces the T4, a design that began life as the T2. Like those older "semi-rugged" Toughbooks, the new T5 is a very compact, ultra-light notebook computer that weighs just 3.5 pounds. That's lighter than most Tablet PC slates. The T5 sports the same handsome design as its predecessor and has the look and feel of Panasonic's full-size Toughbooks, only downsized. Under the hood, a lot has changed. The T5 is powered by a 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo U1400, you can now load it up with 1.5GB of PC4200 memory, the shock-mounted disk has grown from 40 to 60GB, and the bright 12.1-inch display now has a touchscreen! Despite its light weight, the Toughbook T5 feels sturdy and very well made, and it should as Panasonic uses the same materials and design principles as in its big, rugged notebooks. We like the T5's full-size keyboard, very responsive touchpad, and cool running Coro Solo chip.

Panasonic somehow managed to squeeze a few watt-hours more out of the T5's massive Li-Ion battery pack (85 vs 76) and the machine is now rated between seven and twelve hours of battery life. Find a PDA or smartphone that can do that! And, as before, there is a PC Card expansion slot and a SD Card lets you store lots of data on a tiny card.

The new T5 looks almost identical to the T4, with far fewer visual changes than the switch from the T2 to the T4. It's no longer quite as svelte and light, but at a weight of 3.5 pounds and with the new touchscreen and that kind of battery life, who'd complain? Still, sometimes we miss the featherweight 2.7 pound T2. On a 3.5 pound machine we'd expect an optical drive by now. But Panasonic has that in other 5-Series models.

Added/updated Added 02/2007: replaces T4
Processor Intel Core Solo U1400
CPU Speed 1.2 GHz
Standard/Max RAM 512MB/1536MB (PC4200)
Disk/drive 60GB HD shockmounted
Card slots 1 PC Card Type II + 1 SD
Display type Transmissive anti-glare TFT
Display size/res 12.1" XGA
Digitizer/pens touchscreen
Keyboard/scale integrated 83-key, 100%-scale
Housing magnesium
Operating Temp semi-rugged
Sealing semi-rugged
Shock semi-rugged
Size (WxHxD) 10.6 x 8.3 x 1.0-1.3
Weight 3.5 lbs.
Power 85 Watt-Hour Li-Ion ("7-12 hrs.")
Interface 2 USB 2.0, RJ11, RJ45
Interface Audio, VGA, 802/11a/b/g
List price seen at US$1,900 to 2,200
Contact www.panasonic.com
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