Panasonic Toughbook 54 Sports Dual Drives, Magnesium Casing

The lighter-weight, rugged laptops support multiple variations of dual-form authentication with optional fingerprint identification.

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Panasonic launched the semi-rugged Toughbook 54 laptop, which includes a 5th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor and has 11 hours of battery life, which can be extended to 18 hours with an optional hot-swappable second battery.

Toughbook 54 is available with discrete graphics, dual drives, up to 16GB of memory, and a 1080p full HD display and webcam. It comes in four models and has a variety of optional features, such as smart card readers and fingerprint identification.

The new laptop was tested by an independent third-party lab to survive 3-foot drops on 26 faces, the company said. It also features port covers, a spill-resistant keyboard, touchpad, hinges and display, and offers improved vibration resistance.

"Our customers are on-the-go professionals who need devices that are durable enough to handle a life on the road, while remaining portable," Anthony Mungiello, Toughbook product manager for Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, told eWEEK. "In the past, the quest for durability may have required us to create laptops that were heavy and bulky, but we’ve been able to get the new semi-rugged Toughbook 54 down to about the same weight as many non-ruggedized professional laptops on the market."

One way this is achieved, he explained, is with a case made of magnesium alloy, which contributes to its durability without adding significant weight.

"Our semi-rugged devices are an ideal compromise for customers who are looking for something that is more durable than a standard consumer laptop, but less reinforced, and more affordable, than a fully rugged model," he said.

Mungiello said the company’s semi-rugged models, including the Toughbook 54, are frequently used in video production and by users in insurance, utilities, construction, field service, public safety and government.

The Toughbook 54 is available this month from authorized Panasonic resellers at an estimated street price of $1,499, and includes a standard three-year limited warranty.