Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Panasonic Toughbook CF-52

When most people think of Toughbook, their first thoughts are of a CF-30 or CF-19.  After all, that is what Toughbooks are primarily known for...the heavy-duty, fully-rugged, water-resistant laptops utilized by police, fire, and EMS departments throughout the United States.

For those that don't plan on mounting their laptops in their vehicle, but still want something durable, there are semi-rugged Toughbook options.  A popular semi-rugged Toughbook option would be the CF-52.  It has many of the same qualities as the fully-rugged models without the weight or the price-tag.

The casing of the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52 is similar to that of the fully-rugged models.  It has a magnesium alloy casing that is significantly thicker than that of your standard laptop, which protects it from the accidental bumps and knocks that occur with a laptop placed in a briefcase or laptop bag.

Hard Drive
Like the fully-rugged line, the hard drive is fully protected in the Panasonic Toughbook CF-52.  The caddy surrounds the hard drive with a protective cushion layer which protects that hard drive against sudden movements or bumps, keeping your data safe.

Water and Dust Resistant
Please note that water resistant is not the same as water proof, however, the CF-52 will withstand minor spills or a brief light misting of rain.  All of the ports on the sides of the unit seal of tightly, keeping out dust and liquid spillage.  As for the top of the unit, there is a water resistant plate below the keyboard.  Although you may ruin your keyboard if you spill on it, the motherboard should remain fully functional.
Drop Resistant
Although we do not recommend dropping your Toughbook to test its durability, the CF-52 is drop-rated.  Per Panasonic, the CF-52 is capable of withstanding a one foot drop onto plywood.  This would be roughly the equivalent of dropping your briefcase.  Note that even if damage were to occur to the casing, the previously mentioned hard drive caddy would protect the data on your hard drive.

Weather Resistant
Like other Panasonic Toughbooks, the CF-52 is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.  It will adequately handle being utilized in both extreme cold and extreme heat.  This is a great option for anyone who might need to travel with their laptop or leave it in a vehicle for extended periods of time.

Bigger Screen
A major design difference between the semi-rugged and fully-rugged lines of Toughbooks is the ability to get a larger display.  The CF-52 comes equipped with a 15" widescreen display, compared to the 13.3" display of the CF-30 and the 10.4" display of the CF-19.

To determine if a semi-rugged laptop is for you, or if you require a fully-rugged one, check out our blogs "What Does Rugged Mean?" and "How To Buy The Right Mobile Computer For Your Department".


  1. Excellent Blog every one can get lots of information for any topics from this blog nice work keep it up.

  2. I just bought a brand new CF-52 with the 15.4" HD screen. It says it has reflective and glare treatments. Is this as good as the optional 13.3" 1000nit screen that was optional on these CF-52's. How do the reflective treattments work in bright daylight ? Thanks so much.

    1. Although the CF-52 is not considered a daylight readable LCD, with the 1,000 nit screen and the anti-glare/reflective screens it is viewed quite easily in an outdoor environment. That said, it might be a little difficult to view when you are in direct sunlight.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.