Panasonic ToughBook W7 Ultraportable Laptop
At a Glance
Panasonic Toughbook W7 Notebook
Tough enough to tackle the real world, but not enough power to tackle some computing tasks.
Panasonic's ToughBook line
The W7 has a couple of nice design choices: The DVD+RW drive loads from the top of the laptop, under a palm rest, making quick disc swaps easy to perform even in tight spaces--so no side-ejecting trays
Three USB ports, an SDHC card slot, a PC Card slot, and a VGA output port sprout from its edges. This particular model also has built-in Wireless WAN support. Unlike with Sony's VAIO VGN-TZ295N, you aren't locked into a single wireless data plan. You can specify whether you want to use EvDO over Sprint or Verizon, or HSDPA over AT&T's network. The only thing we missed: FireWire.
The notebook's keyboard is supposed to be resistant to spills of up to 6 ounces, so go on--guzzle that tall cappuccino with one hand and type with the other.
Unfortunately, the W7's durability comes at a
The keyboard's spacing is certainly comfortable enough, but the keys are more than a little more slippery to the touch. The W7 has a circular touchpad, which seems like a neat idea, but it doesn't work well. Perhaps it would if the buttons were spaced farther apart around the wheel--or just widened. I often found that my fingers got jammed by the hinges of the top-loading DVD tray.
One major deficiency compared
There are plenty of good ideas at work, here--not to mention plenty of features that make the ToughBook tough to beat outdoors. But when you hunker down and actually get to work, it may take you a little longer to get things done than you'd like.