Subnotebook with Steel – Toughbook Elite

Often, in the quest for portabilty, durability is compromised. How many subnotebooks on the market today are housed in magnesium alloy casing, and can withstand the rigors of being bounced around on the front seat of a land rover cruiser, in off road conditions?

How many are able to operate after a soaking from a mug of hot coffee, that accidentally spills onto the laptop’s keyboard. How many can survive the halitosic intensity of the editor’s fetid breath, as he sits hour after hour in front of his laptop, allegedly researching articles for Laptopical, but really playing Baldur’s Gate?

Not many……That’s why it’s time to check out the Toughbook Elite from Panasonic.

Billed as the “world’s only magnesium alloy laptop”, the Panasonic elite is equipped with a 14.1 inch screen, 60GB shock-mounted hard drive, 512MB of SDRAM, and a 1.50 GHz mobile Pentium M Processor courtesy of Intel.

This toughbook is Wi-Fi enabled (Integrated 802.11a+b+g wireless LAN), weighs 3.4 lbs, and Panasonic boast it has a battery life of almost 6 hours.

The notebook is nice looking as well, it’s svelte, silver elegance seeming to contradict a steely toughness. Enough rambling, what do real users of toughbooks actually think of them?

Wayne Bennett, engine support engineer for Access Motorsports in Plano, Texas had this to say:

“…..Sometimes computers get dropped. And, if it’s not a rugged Toughbook computer, it isn’t going to survive…..”

Captain James Garcia of the Fire Department in Chula Vista, California was impressed by the reliability of Toughbooks.

“…..They take a beating……They get hit, they get dropped, they get kicked around. And they are reliable day in and day out…..”

Sounds just like our office temp, but unfortunately not as cheap.

If you have your heart set on one of these portable beasts, you’ll have to shell out the best part of 3 grand, $2,969.00 dollars to be exact.

However there is a cheaper option if you don’t mind compromising on screen size and a few other bells and whistles.

2,499 dollars will get you a Toughbook Elite with a 12.1 inch screen, a 1.20 GHz processor and 40GB shock-mounted HDD. Granted these specs aren’t as good as the 14.1 inch elite, however looking on the positive it weighs only 2.9 pounds.

This laptop also comes in a choice of four colors – Arctic White, Firehouse Red, Steel Gray and Galaxy black…..The 14.1 inch version only comes in silver.

More about the Panasonic elite at

Related articles:

Rugged laptops

By Todd Gold

Thursday, July 07, 2005