Since its initial release in 2015, the Panasonic Toughbook® 54 has quickly become one of our most popular rugged mobility products. Relied on by first responders, utility professionals, members of the military and more, this semi-rugged notebook turned heads with its thin profile, light weight and impressive mobile computing performance. In fact, the Toughbook 54 was just named “the very best rugged laptop” by TechRadar Pro.
We know that our customers need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, and we’re committed to ensuring that our devices reflect the latest in features, specifications and more. With that in mind, we are proud to unveil the 2017 Toughbook 54 with 7th Gen Intel processors – the newest release of this proven device – bringing the increased power, functionality and work productivity that have become synonymous with the Panasonic Toughbook brand. We sat down with Panasonic Senior Product Manager Anthony Mungiello for a look at what’s new on the Toughbook 54.
What kind of performance increases should customers expect from the 2017 Toughbook 54?
Our product updates are driven by the needs of our customers to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof their technology decisions and optimize their return on investment. As part of that commitment to serve customer evolving needs, we make sure to do regular updates that keep our products fresh, and part of that means keeping up with the latest processors from Intel. With the Mark 3, we’re offering the advanced Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors, which for our end users means a 20 percent increase in processing capacity and a 27 percent increase in graphics processing. That means that the world’s lightest and thinnest 14” semi-rugged laptop is more powerful than ever before.
Users will also enjoy the benefits of increased RAM – with even the Lite model sporting a powerful 8 GBs, expandable up to 32 GBs – as well as a new LTE-Advanced chipset that allows for carrier aggregation to improve LTE performance by up to 50 percent.
We know that some of our power users have intensive processing needs – and so we’ve traditionally offered the Toughbook 54 in a “Performance model” – has this configuration seen additional updates?
Most definitely. As our customers’ application requirements evolve, it’s important that we provide them with the power needed to run the latest applications in the field and keep pace with the way they want to work. In addition to a new, faster CPU, the performance model sports an AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 GPU. That means powerful, dedicated processing power for the most graphically demanding applications – a feature that, for example, our military customers have relied on as they use these devices for intensive mapping programs in the field. These are the kind of improvements that our customers have come to appreciate and being able to deliver this kind of performance in the lightest, slimmest semi-rugged notebook on the market is why they continue to turn to Panasonic and our customer-centric approach.
Additionally, the Performance model comes standard with 16GB of memory now and can be outfitted with dual SSD drives that support RAID-1 mirroring, so the device can be used as a reliable in-field server for our customers who need that functionality.
What other hardware improvements have been made to the new Toughbook 54 as a result of customer feedback?
Beyond the additional performance upgrade, this hardware refresh gave us the opportunity to make some other changes to the Toughbook 54 that reflect customer feedback. For instance, we’ve switched the keyboard backlight color from white to red, something we introduced earlier this year on the Toughbook 33 that was a change requested by our many first responders who noted that it improved night vision when enroute to an accident or event at night. We’ve also changed the position of the insertable SmartCard CAC reader, once again based on customer input, making it more accessible.
We also made some additions that increase the value that our customers get from these devices: for example, all models except the Lite version now come standard with solid-state drives and 1080p HD webcams.
This is absolutely the best semi-rugged notebook we’ve ever produced, and we’re excited for our customers to get their hands on it. The Toughbook 54 really has become one of the gems of the Toughbook line, and these newest revisions will ensure it stays ahead of the game and delivers the performance, reliability and ruggedness that our customers have come to expect from Panasonic.