Panasonic Toughbook T4|
Latest T-Series Toughbook is an elegant semi-rugged ultra-light
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Like the older "semi-rugged" Toughbook T2, the new T4 is a compact, ultra-light notebook computer that weighs just 3.4 pounds. That's lighter than most Tablet PC slates. Handsomely designed, the T4 has the look and feel of Panasonic's full-size Toughbooks, only downsized. It is powered by an efficient Pentium 1.2GHz ULV 753, and its bright 12.1-inch display make it a tool for real work. Despite its light weight, the Toughbook T4 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 liked the T4's full-size keyboard, very responsive touchpad, and almost total lack of annoying heat build-up, but missed a touchscreen option. Panasonic somehow manages to shoehorn a massive 76 watt-hour Li-Ion battery pack into the little T4. It's good for almost ten hours of operation -- PDA territory or better. And the SD Card lets you store lots of data on a tiny card.
The new T4 looks almost identical to the T2, though some ports are in different places. Some electronics and specs have changed as well. It uses the 128MB Intel 915 GMS integrated video controller instead of the T2's Intel 855GM with just half the memory. It also comes standard with 512MB, again twice that of the T2, and it can be upgraded to a full gig. PC2-3200 memory is required. Interestingly though, the T4's 40GB hard disk is smaller than the T2's 60GB drive, and it only has 10/100 Ethernet instead of the older unit's gigabit port. The T4 also weighs a bit more: 3.4 versus the 2.7 pounds of the T2. Still very light, but it may make a difference.