Panasonic Toughbook S9 Is World's Lightest in Class

Panasonic is introducing the Toughbook S9, calling it the world's lightest 12.1-inch laptop with an integrated DVD drive. Other boasts: Battery life is 11 hours, and it weighs just 3 pounds.

Panasonic's new Toughbook S9 extends the system maker's line of rugged business devices.

According to the rough-and-tumble device maker, the S9, announced Sept. 28, is the world's lightest 12.1-inch laptop with an integrated DVD drive, and really even the most hardened road warrior is likely to be impressed by its quick specs: Despite the 12.1-inch display and dedicated drive, the S9 weighs just 3 pounds and offers a full 11 hours of battery life. That's with the standard battery, not an add-on also adding weight.

The S9 is also approved for drops from 1 foot from any angle and for 2-foot drops to its base-while operating. Other features making it a clutch companion for frequent fliers, or the simply less-than-careful, are a spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad and a compression weight of 220 pounds. Which means the screen will stay intact even after the S9 is stupidly added to an overstuffed bag or full overhead compartment.

"The Toughbook brand has an average annual failure rate in the low single digits, while most commercial-grade laptops have double digit failure rates," Kyp Walls, Panasonic's director of product management, said in a statement. The notebook's standard warranty is for three years.

Not losing sight that the S9 is a business device, it pairs Microsoft Windows 7 with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-520M vPro processor, 3MB of Intel Smart Cache, a 320GB of shock-mounted hard drive and 2GB of DDR3 (double-data rate) memory, expandable to 6GB.

Connectivity options include the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 WiFi in a, b, g and n. There's also Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1 and-ideal for multicarrier deployments-the option of Qualcomm's Gobi2000 mobile broadband technology, for EV-DO and HSPA.

Also optional is a fingerprint reader, though security features are already rich. There's Panasonic's trusted platform module security chip, version 1.2; the Computrace theft protection agent in the BIOS; Intel Anti-theft technology; a cable lock slot and, of course, password security.

Conveniences include a dedicated key for turning off all connectivity options, an HDMI port, three USB ports, a high-capacity SDcard slot, a PC card slot and a VGA port, for plugging into projectors or an additional display.

"Increased workforce mobility can improve efficiency and drive profit as long as the mobile device on which your business depends does not become a burden to your IT department," Walls added. "The only way to ensure you maximize your mobile computer investment is to purchase a device with proven reliability."

The Panasonic Toughbook S9 is now available in the United States at a starting price of $2,499.