Panasonic added another model to its Toughbook family yesterday, the business-rugged Toughbook F9. Panasonic states that at 3.6 pounds, it’s the lightest 14-inch laptop on the market. That’s certainly an impressive number, particularly for a laptop that has been ruggedized to a degree. Generally, 14-inch models generally hover around the 5-pound mark; the Dell Inspiron 14 weighs in at 4.8 pounds, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 tips the scales at 5.6 pounds. Panasonic’s previous 14-inch model, the Toughbook F8 was also a lightweight at 3.7 pounds.
Panasonic classifies the Toughbook F9 as a business-rugged model, which means it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a fully rugged or semi-rugged Toughbook. It boasts a magnesium alloy chassis like the rest of the Toughbooks, but it’s not meant for full-time use under harsh conditions in the field, but it will survive a topple off your desk or a toppled Diet Coke. Panasonic claims the Toughbook F9 kept on ticking after a 30-inch drop where it landed flat on its base. The laptop also survived 26 drops of 12 inches when landing on its side, corner, and face. The spill-resistant keyboard can keep up to 7 ounces of liquid away from the components.
About those components: the Toughbook F9 features the latest Intel technology in the form of the 2.4GHz Core i5-520M processor. The baseline model ships with 2GB of memory, a shock-mounted 320GB hard drive, and a DVD burner. Wireless connectivity abounds, with 802.11n W-Fi and Bluetooth, plus optional Gobi 2000 mobile broadband or WiMAX. The 14.1-inch display features a 1440×900 resolution.
Panasonic will start selling the Toughbook F9 on July 1. Pricing is steep, starting at $2,899.