Panasonic trims the semirugged Toughbook 53 down to 56 pounds

first_imgThis morning Panasonic officially announced the Toughbook 53, an update to the company’s popular Toughbook 52. Despite the minor change in name the Toughbook 53 features substantial differences from the older model, including moving from a 15.4-inch display to a 14-inch one.  This change allows the semi-rugged 53 to start at 5.6 pounds, substantially lighter then the previous model’s 7.2 pounds. This changes didn’t stop there either, the 53 is one of the few semi-rugged notebooks that can stand up to vehicle-mounting and this summer the 53 will ship with 4G LTE compatibility, making it the first Toughbook to do so.In addition to the smaller, LED-backlit display and external changes, the components inside were all upgraded to the latest Sandy Bridge (second generation Intel Core i3/i5) gear. There is now the option for a 7200RPM hard drive, which Panasonic will use to bring increased storage performance for buyers that don’t opt for SSDs (which they see as largely unnecessary given the Toughbook’s extreme hard drive protection). Like the 52, a resistive touchscreen version will be made available.Why move to the smaller display? Panasonic closely follows customer demand and they found that the weight/size saving was worth it over the 15.4-inch LCD on the older models. The 53 has both VGA and HDMI outputs so if multiple people will be viewing it’s easy enough to connect to an extra display or projector.The toughen design and magnesium body mean that if you ever lose your grip on the notebook’s handle it is rated to survive a 2.5-foot drop. A lot of other notebooks, like HP’s Elitebook line, tout their 810G (mil-spec) testing but few can stand up to a 30-inch drop. Even fewer will come with the Toughbook 53’s more rugged features, like covered ports and that handle. Not to mention the useful perks like a quick release hard drive, backlit keyboard, optional dual ethernet, and multitouch trackpad. There is also USB 3.0 and an SDXC slot.As always, Panasonic made battery life a priority with the 53. The model should be good for up to 10 hours of battery life with the Core i5 model and the Long Life battery pack.The Toughbook 53 won’t entirely be replacing the 52, that system will remain on sale (in the Core i5 configuration) for the time being.The Toughbook 53 (Core i5/4GB RAM) will start shipping in June for $1899 while the Core i3/2GB model will ship in August and start at $1599. The touchscreen Toughbook 53 will hit in July for an estimated $2449. Don’t get too attached to those prices though, the Toughbook 53 can be outfitted with a SmartCard reader, 128GB SSD, 1.3MP webcam, dual antenna pass-through and a number of other upgrades.toughbook_53_01toughbook_53_0153_LeftTouchUp-High-res53_Head_OnTouchUp-High-res53_Closed_HdOnTouchUp-High-reslast_img read more

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