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Panasonic Toughbook 51

Semi-rugged workhorse of a notebook with very hi-res 1600 x 1200 screen
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

Of all of Panasonic's Toughbooks, the 51 looks least like one of those gleaming all-magnesium rugged machines, and most like a regular, standard consumer notebook. That's probably done on purpose, just so that this semi-rugged, magnesium alloy machine won't stand out too much in a crowd of generic Dell and HP notebooks. No one needs to know that the 51's hard disk is shock-mounted or that its magnesium case is 20 times stronger than plastic.

The 51 can be had in a basic version with a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo chip and a standard XGA screen, or a much more interesting high-end version with a fast 2.0GHz processor and a glorious 1600 x 1200 pixel high resolution display with more than twice the resolution of an XGA. Both have a powerful 85 Watt-Hour battery. For security in corporate settings, the 51 can also be ordered with a SmartCard reader slot.

During its production cycle, Panasonic kept the CF-51 technologically updated, switching from M processors to the faster and more efficient Core Duos. Battery capacity, RAM and disk drive size were also updated.

Added/changed Replaced by CF-52
Processor Intel Core Duo T2300 or T2500 (667MHz FSB)
CPU Speed 1.66 GHz or 2.0 GHz
Chipset Intel GMA 950
Standard/Max RAM 256-4096MB DDR2
Disk/drive 60 or 80GB shock-mounted HD + FD/optical
Card slots 2 Type II PC Card (or 1 Type III), 1 SD Card, Smart Card (optional)
Media Bay 1.44MB FDD standard; Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW) or DVD Multi Drive (DVD-RAM/ DVD-ROM/DVD-RW/CD-R/CD-ROM/CD-RW); optional second battery
Display type Transmissive anti-glare TFT
Display size/res 15.0" 1600 x 1200 pixel UXGA or 1024 x 768 XGA
Digitizer/pens touchscreen optional
Keyboard/scale integrated 87-key, 100%-scale
Housing Magnesium alloy
Operating Temp semi-rugged
Sealing semi-rugged
Shock semi-rugged
Size (WxHxD) 12.8 x 10.9 x 1.9
Weight 6.8 pounds
Power 11.1V, 7650mAh 85 Watt-Hour Li-Ion ("6 hours")
Interface 4 USB 2.0, IEEE1394, RS232, RJ11, Gigabit RJ45, port replicator, aidio in/out
Wireless Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG, Bluetooth 2.0 (opt.)
List price from US$2,100
Contact www.panasonic.com
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