Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Panasonic ToughBook Testing Facility Tour

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the bruised-but-not-beaten dept.

146

An anonymous reader writes "ToughBooks are considered by some to be the most resilient of all notebooks. So how does Panasonic ensure that their line of indestructible portables are just that? In a recent tour of the Kobe plant in Japan it was discovered that 1000's of ToughBooks are destroyed each year in pursuit of the most rugged systems. Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used."

cancel ×

146 comments

Sounds like fun (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924916)

They have any openings for QA Testers?

Indeed (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924922)

... and now Slashdotting.

Re:Indeed (1)

Bin Naden (910327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925422)

We'll see if they run linux on those tough books. Of course this assumes that the whole web site is run on a tough book.

Top Customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926214)

The top customer of the toughbooks should be the US military. I bet that these toughbooks are quite handy in performing battlefield calculations in a war zone.

Re:Top Customer (1)

kd5ujz (640580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927798)

Where I see them the most, is in Police cruisers.

How to REALLY test a notebook (5, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924934)

I don't see a curious four-year-old being employed in any of their tests. I'd like to see how one of these stands up to crayons and peanut butter sandwiches.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (5, Funny)

Teh MegaHurtz (954161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925190)

I don't see a curious four-year-old being employed in any of their tests. I'd like to see how one of these stands up to crayons and peanut butter sandwiches.
Also known as the curious CEO test

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (2, Funny)

Snoopy77 (229731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927464)

I'd mod you informative instead of funny.

My CEO went through two toughbooks in three years and he doesn't even take it onto industrial sites. He can kill any electrical device by simply using it as normal. We've given up on spending twice as much for these toughbooks. We just make sure we've got a good three year warranty these days and get him a normal notebook.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17927758)

Ouch. Sounds like an electrical problem in your CEO's room.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925360)

Or trying to toast poptarts in the CD "burner" LOL

Trust me on this (3, Funny)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925366)

An overconfident dad with a philips-head is much more dangerous than a four year old.

You can take the computer away from the four-year-old. Your dad will want to try "one more thing".

Re:Trust me on this (1)

Zerolove (667383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925708)

How bout the pissed off lawyer.

So i'm at the hotel, let me just ask is chlorine from a pool bad for my laptop?
of course I told him it was no better for it then the Rum and Coke from last week.

Re:Trust me on this (1)

kalleguld (624992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925928)

I'm confused. Does this have anything to do with your sig?

Hello, Dad? I'm in jail.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

prichardson (603676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925840)

While that's certainly important for some home computers, that's not exactly the market Toughbooks are going for. These laptops are for places where they'll be dropped, get really dusty, and shaken. There are 'childproof' computers out there that can be washed to remove sticky things, but those would be largely useless in other environments.

It's about the right tool for the job, to use an aphorism.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926386)

My mother has a Toughbook (provided by her job). Thus far, she has not let me drop it on the floor. I consider this to be seriously lacking in faith; my ThinkPad (R31) fell four feet onto a hard floor in the middle of a big compile job (i.e. lots of disk activity), and just paused for a second, as if to say 'yeah, what?' before continuing. I would expect a Toughbook to be even more resilient, but thus far no one who owns one has allowed me to test this.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926738)

My father has one of the fully-rugged Toughbooks, and has not yet dropped it, neither intentionally or accidentally. Quite an impressive machine, though seriously fucking ugly (though aesthetics are expected to be rather low on the priority table in such a thing).

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926728)

There are 'childproof' computers out there that can be washed to remove sticky things, but those would be largely useless in other environments.

      Video editing in the adult-film industry?

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (4, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925874)

We support both Toughbooks and Lifebooks here. What they really need is a roomfull of Nurses and their 4 year old kids. We had one returned because the nurse couldn't connect to the network. Upon inspection, I found a yellow gummi bear firmly pressed into the RJ45 connector. It's pretty hard to configure the DNS settings of a yellow gummi bear. Maybe it's easier with the red ones?

Seriously though, we're moving back to Fujitsu's over the Panasonics. The Toughbooks (at least the T2's we have) haven't proved to be all that tough and their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Fujitsu had problems in that department as well, but lately has made strides in the right direction. We need the touchscreens for this application (our RN's complete tons of medical assessments using checkboxes) so that kind of narrows our choices.

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

jeremymiles (725644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926466)

Well, I bought (second hand, fairly battered) toughbook for our 4 year old.

It lasted about 4 days, before the spacebar broke. Luckily, they don't use the space bar to either type randomly, or play games on http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/ [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:How to REALLY test a notebook (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927204)

they should just try posting it, with a big sticker on it saying "fragile"... seems to work pretty well in the UK. I think that's how nuclear fission has been done on the cheap!

predictable response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17924958)

We must rally together to save the poor torchered laptops!

Re:predictable response (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926574)

And, while we're at it, use their word processors to check our spelling!

not bright enough (5, Insightful)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924970)

Even with toughbooks the single biggest problem with portable computers is screen brightness. In direct sunlight lcd screens are not practical. I speak from expirence beacause I developed a business application for the tablet pc. I have recieved plenty of feedback from customers about how hard it was to use them in the field.

Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]

Re:not bright enough (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925092)

your customers are not buying the right toughbooks.
  the toughbook-30 looks fantastic in bright direct sunlight as it has a correct reflective LCD instead of a standard Laptop screen, IF ordered correctly.

Most places do not buy the right gear when it comes to toughbooks because their accounting department craps their pants when they see the price.

Daylight Screen Standard? / $4169.95 (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925496)

the toughbook-30 looks fantastic in bright direct sunlight as it has a correct reflective LCD instead of a standard Laptop screen, IF ordered correctly.

Can you order it without the correct screen? The Panasonic site [panasonic.com] makes it seem like it's standard.

Most places do not buy the right gear when it comes to toughbooks because their accounting department craps their pants when they see the price.

If so, Amazon [amazon.com] has it listed for $4,169.95 which doesn't seem unreasonable, considering it's not hard to order a Lenovo ThinkPad for that much. I'm sure the specs aren't as good (fast/big/bells/whistles) but they're both 'high-end' notebooks, just with different requirements docs.

Now, how are the Linux drivers? I understand the DoD uses them in this fashion, so I'm guessing 'good enough'.

Re:not bright enough (2, Informative)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925236)

Correction, in direct sunlight, backlit LCDs do not fare well - which means pretty much every color screen on the market. My ancient transflective Palm LCD works just fine in sunlight, as did my old black & white PowerBook Duo.

Re:not bright enough (1)

rossifer (581396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925298)

These appear to have the outdoor brightness issue resolved, at the expense of adequate screen resolution. Even the newest and most expensive models only have 1024x768 resolution, a screen resolution I haven't spent money on since 1998.

Then again, after owning multiple laptops with 1600x1200 screens, I find the 1440x900 screen on my shiny new 15" MacBook Pro extremely cramped. Which means that I've become quite spoiled. I wish I knew of a work-around to that.

Ross

Re:not bright enough (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925392)

"I've become quite spoiled. I wish I knew of a work-around to that."

Holiday in Cambodia?

Re:not bright enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925332)

Just to piss you off... someone at MiT [laptop.org] do have a solution for your problem...
No, this is not a troll nor flamebait... except the performance (and Windows-key) this project do have an answer for most problems addressed by rugged laptops...

If you don't have time to read TFA.... (4, Informative)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924978)

.... (after all it is 11 pages) Try surfing here for some quick hits on how their notebooks are tested and what standards they meet.

http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/df_tes t.asp [panasonic.com]

If they weren't so bloody expensive, I'd get one. It looks like it would survive the real world quite nicely. If only all notebooks were built to HALF of what these are built to survive.

They cost about $4000 (2, Informative)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925282)

Re:They cost about $4000 (4, Interesting)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925720)

Their high price is the biggest problem with them, the second problem is their toughness. Sounds strange? Well, I had to use one of the bastards last summer. I was working for my university who had spend a few grand on a toughbook years a go. Of course, now it was too slow to run anything I wanted use, but there was no way the university was getting rid of it; it had cost a fortune and it hadn't broken. That made it useless.

If you want to use a laptop in a field over summer, buy the cheapest you can find and keep buying them every year. 5 years later you'll have spent less money (even if you break a couple and need to go buy some replacements) and you won't be stuck with an outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer.

Toughbooks, I hate them.

Re:They cost about $4000 (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927340)

so much for global warming ...

Re:They cost about $4000 (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927502)

If you want to use a laptop in a field over summer, buy the cheapest you can find and keep buying them every year. 5 years later you'll have spent less money (even if you break a couple and need to go buy some replacements) and you won't be stuck with an outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer.

The point is, there aresome situations where breaking "in the field" is not good in a big way. That's why the DoD buys 'em.

Re:They cost about $4000 (1)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927698)

They have actually been known to have protected soldiers by stopping bullets. I'd imagine troops stuck in unarmored HumVees carry their ToughBooks between themselves and the door.

I'd like to have one of them, but as a general rule, I don't buy any laptop I haven't actually typed on. And Panasonic doesn't seem to have any interest in getting these things into stores. I've never seen one in any computer store.

Re:They cost about $4000 (2, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927680)

When they are bought as an equipment item for a specific task, they shine. They are often integrated with military test systems where they need to last for years, and they do. They are not intended for people who will care about the initial or replacement pricetag.

I like grabbing "outdated, but perfectly functioning, computer"s and tossing Linux on 'em.
Even my CF-71 is still useful (in my shop, for reading vehicle manuals), easy to fix if I do damage it, and cost me about $160 plus some fiddling to make one out of two. They are a breeze to work on.

Re:If you don't have time to read TFA.... (2, Informative)

bitrot42 (523887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926314)

The page is in Japanese, but the videos speak for themselves:

http://panasonic.jp/pc/appli/tough/ [panasonic.jp]

And this is for the *semi* rugged line!

More videos (fully rugged line):

http://panasonic.com.au/products/information.cfm?d etailsID=236&contextID=2482 [panasonic.com.au]

Waste? (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17924984)

Are the systems completely destroyed by the testing, reused, or is there the possibility that they are throwing out half-working laptops that don't meet the minimum requirements to qualify as a Toughbook? If so, I might need to make a few dumpster diving trips...

Matsushita Versus Sony (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925022)

Panasonic is just one brand in the consumer-electronics empire of Matsushita. For decades, Panasonic quality was considered inferior to Sony quality, but at the moment, Panasonic quality is nearly identical to Sony quality. Moreover, Sony products cost 30% more than Panasonic products.

Why would anyone want to pay 30% more for an equivalent product?

Why does Sony charge so much money even though nearly 100% of its products is now assembled in low-wage China? Panasonic still tries to build its products in high-wage Japan.

you are just wrong! (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925136)

they also heche en mexico

the question is still valid, the assertion is not.

Re:Matsushita Versus Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925604)

this is pure nonsense. Sony's is usually total crap, ask someone who earns a living fixing sony stuff.

Re:Matsushita Versus Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926292)

Panasonic is just one brand in the consumer-electronics empire of Matsushita. For decades, Panasonic quality was considered inferior to Sony quality, but at the moment, Panasonic quality is nearly identical to Sony quality.
People have ripped me for saying that in a Panasonic v. Sony situation - I'd choose Panasonic just about every time. Their products have always worked well for me and done so for very long periods of time.

As an anecdote (take from what you will), just some of my experience with Panasonic:
  I had an old Quasar tv for about 8 years - I gave it to my father a few years ago after I upgraded - it is still working.
  I have a open carousel 5-CD changer that is approx 16 years old (Panasonic SL-PK345 Multi-CD Changer) that I got used around 1993. The first owner was a smoker, I am a smoker - the thing is still going like a champ with every day use. I have only had to clean the lens a few (3) times. I am absolutely amazed at how well this thing has stood the test of time.

If I had the money, I'd buy a toughbook in a heartbeat.

I do not work for Matsushita or any of their subsidiaries, nor do I work for a company that does any business with them.

Yeesh. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925028)

The photos were interesting, but the fawning, gushing text reads like a press release to Nickelodeon Magazine. Sure, it's an impressive setup.. but I could do without quite so much "gee golly whillikers" from a site called "TrustedReviews."

I'd hate to see the review that ends up on "SlightlySuspectedOfBeingShillReviews..."

Re:Yeesh. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925342)

Yeah, computers just hate it when you anthropomorphize.

Re:Yeesh. (1)

general scruff (938598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925540)

Oh I know! How dare anyone be amazed by anything nowadays.
Thats so 1990!

Didn't your mother ever tell you:
"If don't have anything nice to say, don't post on slashdot!"?

Re:Yeesh. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925692)

I like this reply a lot. :-D

Re:Yeesh. (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926412)

Didn't your mother ever tell you:
"If don't have anything nice to say, post on slashdot!"?


Fixed your typo for you.

Watch it though.... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925052)

Getting on an airplane with one of These [panasonic.com]
can panic the TSA morons quite fast.

The thing looks like a bomb from the TV show 24.

At minimum you look like a spy or someone who is not doing good things.

Re:Watch it though.... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925628)

They won't stop you getting on the plane. They'll run it through the X-ray scanners and swab it for trace explosives before passing you through the security checkpoint just like they when I carried-on a SuperDLT.

Not to worry (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926238)

Just set your home page to here [boortz.com] and you're all set.

Itronix (4, Informative)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925122)

The other maker of hardened laptop / PDA's is Itronix. I've got an old Itronix laptop that's built like a brick. Both Itronix and Toughbooks (particularly the later) are popular with police and fire depts. Fire depts. are very hard on laptops. They use them for things like communications, looking a dept. databases (fire inspection notes), info on hazardous materials,etc. I've heard of one fire chief who likes to test a vendor's notebooks by tossing them across the room. He's not very popular with sales reps.

I got my Itronix used (years ago) on E-bay. It has a 'Sprint' logo on the cover. Apparently was used by field service techs.

Re:Itronix (1)

zcubed (916242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925574)

Firefighters are very hard on stuff. The saying goes:
"Put a firefighter in a phone booth with 2 bowling balls and come back in a hour. One bowling ball will be lost and the other bowling ball will be broken."

The dept I worked at had the toughbook tablets in all the trucks and chiefs cars. Well worth the money if you truly need a hardened laptop.

Not so tough actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925130)

The place where I work has used various models of Toughbooks and they have some very curious weaknesses. For instance, the CF-2x series have utter crap keyboards. It's been my experience that its difficult to find one that actually being used in the environment they are intended without seeing a bunch of them with missing keycaps.

Oh, and in response about TSA, I've had to carry three CF-28's through security at multiple airports and yes, the xray guys eyes kinda bug out when they see them. One is bad enough, but explaining why I have three is always amusing.

Methods of torture (1, Funny)

rachit (163465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925140)

Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used.
They should bring Jack Bauer in for this "testing" department

Re:Methods of torture (2, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925654)

No good. Notebooks don't have testicles.

ToughBook ToughLove (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925178)

From TFA:

Behind locked doors at Panasonic's Osaka and Kobe facilities poor ToughBooks are thrashed to within an inch of their lives. ... I saw a very sorry looking CF-29 strapped to a rack, being poked with metal spikes.

Every dominatrix should have one.

Um... (5, Insightful)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925180)

From TFA:

I therefore jumped at the chance to nip over to Japan and see Panasonic's setup in person.
Perhaps not the best choice of words...?

Instead of a Toughbook... (2, Interesting)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925208)

I've never considered buying a Toughbook. It's cheaper to buy two (or three) equivalent "regular" laptops, and swap out the hard drives every time one is destroyed. Combined with decent backups, this is all that most Toughbook users really need.

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (2, Insightful)

clonmult (586283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925320)

Nice idea, shame its useless. Most of these are used out in the field, and it may not be realistic/practical to take several laptops out into the field, and when one dies, swap out the harddrive. Half the users probably aren't capable of swapping the drives themselves either.

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925398)

Sure. I can imagine situations where it would be useful too -- especially if you're backpacking your gear -- but most of the time Toughbook users are wasting their money.

And it can be very easy to swap out hard drives if they're pcmcia.

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (1)

Kris_B_04 (883011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925600)

They're great for the military!!! :)

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926262)

PCMCIA hard drives? I haven't seen many of those. They are usually 2.5" ide or sata on the new laptops.

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926418)

Sure. I can imagine situations where it would be useful too -- especially if you're backpacking your gear -- but most of the time Toughbook users are wasting their money.

Most of the time? The police, military, fire departments, field technicians and others who work in extreme environments are "wasting their money"? If they brought a traditional laptop to many places they need them on a day to day basis they wouldn't last more than a week. How practical is it to purchase 4 laptops per month when a single $3500 unit would last for years?

And it can be very easy to swap out hard drives if they're pcmcia.
Psssst; part of the strength of the toughbook is the ruggedness of the hard drive enclosure.

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (3, Interesting)

JPribe (946570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925864)

I'm going to guess you have never used a Toughbook. Swapping the HDD is as easy as swapping the battery. We have about 300 of these at work, spares on the shelf. If the screen dies on you then you go in, pull the HDD and battery, turn in the old shell and get a new one. (CF-29 in an industrial environment: all of our tech data is on the toughbooks, and work is updated live via a scheduled wireless database sync.)

Re:Instead of a Toughbook... (1)

larien (5608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925506)

As others have pointed out, it's not always practical to use "hot-swap" laptops - what's cheaper, buying a rugged laptop, or having your field engineers running back to base every time they drop their laptop?

When you're talking about engineers whose main tools are a screwdriver & spanner, they probably treat laptops with the same level of harsh use.

Parts Quality Counts Too (2, Insightful)

robertc5 (55078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926020)

I used to use IBM Thinkpads. In fact; I went through four of em in as many years. Hinges broke. Power connectors broke, plastic case parts broke. And don't ask about the number of times I almost dropped one.

After buying a Toughbook 3-1/2 years ago; I have not had one single problem. The laptop industry's dirty big secret is not that laptopls need to be ruggedized for real-world use but that most laptops are flimsy and are designed so that they are prone to break under normal use. Most have a very slippery, low-profile shape; but no handle. This often leads to the unit being dropped or being set down hard.

Most users do not need ruggedized laptops. We do need laptops built well enough to be used by real people in the real world.

Re:Parts Quality Counts Too (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927052)

Or you could realize that a laptop is often a delicate tool, and should be treated as such. Or do you regularly drop and sit on your glasses as well? There are some cases where a Toughbook is a good investment, especially when it's needed to be used outdoors or in very mobile situations, things like firefighters and police work, or field engineers. If you just use a laptop when it's at a desk or in a controlled indoor environment, and only for portability? Stop abusing your equipment. Or pay through the nose for lower performance because you're lazy and clumsy. Not my money.

I remember back when... (2, Interesting)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925220)

I used to work at a store called Altex. It was a computer store. We had lots of cables OEM computer parts and so on. Well that was my first job as a computer technician before I hit the networking job. I remember this guy bringing in a tough book. I had never seen or heard of one before.

He walks in and had a question about repairing the keys on the computer. A few had broke off and he wanted to get a replacement keyboard. As I walked out and noticed the computer I said to the guy "Thats an odd looking laptop" he responded with "Oh its a tough book" I paused for a second and said "Tough book?" He goes "Yeah watch this" He picks it up and drops it off the table...Stunned, I looked over and noticed not a scratch on it. Was very cool getting to see one of those.

Re:I remember back when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926178)

Yet it had broken keys? Doesn't sound that tough.

Re:I remember back when... (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926600)

I would guess its only tough when closed. The keys looked as if someone was typing and there finger got below one of the keys and it popped off.

Great notebooks (1)

dimension6 (558538) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925252)

I'm typing this on a CF-T5 ("business-rugged") notebook. I've had it for about 4 months now, and I probably won't buy another notebook brand anytime soon. The quality is terrific. When I pick the notebook up, the case doesn't creak at all. I think Panasonic should work on their marketing outside of Japan (Panasonic laptops are already popular there). Many people are willing to spend more for quality in their laptops...

Re:Great notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925594)

Seriously, have you tried Linux or a *nix on it?

Re:Great notebooks (1)

zcubed (916242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925878)

I think Panasonic should work on their marketing outside of Japan

They have ads in magazines for police and fire here in the states. I don't think the average Joe would need a ruggedized laptop, so I think they focus their ad dollars at the people that could benefit from them.

Re:Great notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926364)

They are. We just finished inferno work on new tough book ads here in New York. www.rhinofx.tv

not so tough (1)

Bongman (543364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925264)

we have been using them for over two years for some of our users, and have found them to be not so tough. Connectors come loose, screens crack and backlights fail. Thinkpads have proven much more reliable.

Re:not so tough (4, Insightful)

atcurtis (191512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925504)

we have been using them for over two years for some of our users, and have found them to be not so tough. Connectors come loose, screens crack and backlights fail. Thinkpads have proven much more reliable.


Give users something and tell them it is tough and they will break it by being wreckless.

Give users something and tell them it is fragile, there is a good chance they will treat it reasonably.

Better to give a rugged notebook to someone who needs a rugged notebook due to the work that they do and tell them that it is not indestructable and that they should handle it as carefully as their job permits... Then it should last a reasonable amount of time.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Re:not so tough (2, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925688)

Sorry, but that's ridiculous. Thinkpads have nice hard disk protection, but drop an open one on the floor and the screen and hinge are DEAD.

Re:not so tough (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926110)

I've seen an X20 survive worse than that. I carried one every day for almost five years. It did finally sort of die; its had some manner of hardware failure that makes it unable to recognize batteries at all, and it can't sleep anymore. I gave it to my dad around 6 months ago when that happened, and he's still using it, plugged in next to his TV remote caddy (its the internet remote).

I can't say much for the new T60s though, I played with a new T60p at work and thought it was nasty (awful screen and keyboard)... got an old Tecra M2 for really cheap instead, and its a good enough computer.

Re:not so tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925782)

Same exact scenario at my work, thinkpads far outlast toughbooks in harsh conditions.

I couldn't resist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925288)

In Soviet Russia... Laptops torture you!

So are they (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925340)

pretty beefy?

(It's in Kobe. Kobe beef. Got it?)

Re:So are they (1)

trb (8509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925520)

I thought they were taking advantage of the local earthquakes. [wikipedia.org]

Silicon Heaven (1)

Nonsanity (531204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925362)

If there's no such thing a Silicon Heaven, then where to all the ToughBooks go?

Re:Silicon Heaven (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925480)

They don't go anywhere, they just die.

It is possible to kill the hard drives (3, Informative)

fishandring (1034338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925512)

I worked at a company where they kept losing toughbook hard drives. They are not cheap to say the least because they reside inside a gel-suspension. Come to find out the techs were laying the toughbook at eye level on top of 15000 watt generators for extended periods of time monitoring the SCADA system. There's only o much vibration any hard drive can take...

Re:It is possible to kill the hard drives (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925666)

I'm not surprised the HDDs failed then. I'd wait until they have flash drives, then give them another roll. Some handheld systems can take an almighty beating and keep on going despite having less padding through the simple virtue of not having moving parts.

Re:It is possible to kill the hard drives (2, Informative)

ratman69 (741506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925870)

We are having a similar problem, I work for a fire department and we have mounted toughbooks in our Fire Engines right over the engine cowling. They all lasted about a year and then the Hard drives started failing at a ridiculous rate. I suspect its a combination of lots of vibration and lots of heat. Nice thing is Panasonic has been replacing them, no questions asks. They show up in 1 day, 2 max. The sales rep even gave us a few drives to keep on hand so we can repair them without having to wait for the replacement part to ship.

"many methods of torture used" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17925620)

Hasn't "torture" just been renamed to "coercive interrogation"? Let's get with the times people.

bad workmanship (5, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925652)

The drop testing machine that's located at the Osaka R&D facility is one of only eight in the world, but unfortunately it wasn't working on the day we visited.


Things just arent built to last these days . .

Re:bad workmanship (1)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927196)

The drop testing machine that's located at the Osaka R&D facility is one of only eight in the world, but unfortunately it wasn't working on the day we visited.

Things just arent built to last these days . .
Or, maybe it was SO tough, that the laptop broke the testing machine itself! OOooooo! :)

Just imagine... (2, Funny)

stormeru (1027946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925716)

...a Beowulf cluster of tortured ToughBooks with post-traumatic symptoms.
Beware! While they are idle they might compute a way to revenge against the human torturers with electroshocks. Oh wait... these are not Dell notebooks.

Shame for me, before reading this story I never knew that Panasonic is involved in notebook production.

Pretty Tough... (4, Interesting)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925718)

Saw one take a dive off of the top of a moving patrol car, onto asphalt (moral of the story: don't leave laptops on top of cruisers). Popped a few things out the side, but everything slid back into place, and it booted right up. Dunno about long-term abuse, but I found that test pretty impressive. For organizations such as those, I can easily see how the extra cost for a Toughbook would be worth it. You'd make it back within a few months with the amount saved by not having to replace components and entire units all the time.

Great Products (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17925924)

One of my clients is in waste management and also owns some power plants. After getting fed up with constantly replacing laptops, they bought some Toughbooks and they have been going strong. One of the great features is that you can still get Toughbooks with serial ports. They are pricey, but the extra resiliency is worth the cost.

Great, but can they handle... (1)

RPI Geek (640282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926002)

... Slashdot's finest [slashdot.org] ?

Sound very familiar (3, Funny)

rossz (67331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926168)

Soaking, electric shock, heating and electromagnetic radiation are among the many methods of torture used.
They just described my pending divorce.

No real video card? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926198)

Why none of the Toughbooks have a real video card come up gma 950 has a hard time runnoing vista 3d desktop and there people out there that need good video for cad and other things that may need to use in a places where you should have a Toughbook.

Semi-OT: DeWALT laptop (1)

Gerald (9696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17926258)

I'd pay good money for a DeWALT laptop, even if it was a rebranded toughbook.

Bah! Apple MacBook's are tougher. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17926656)

They even cure world hunger. Toshiba, by comparison, sucks.

Re:Bah! Apple MacBook's are tougher. (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17927772)

They even cure world hunger.

Really? How many calories are in one of those things?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...