Designed to be a far more portable solution for those who need a rugged notebook in the field than most of the behemoths on the market at the moment, the Panasonic Toughbook S9 is the world’s lightest 12.1″ notebook to feature an integrated DVD drive – weighing almost exactly 3lbs.
Despite its svelte weight and diminutive size, Panasonic hasn’t scrimped on the Toughbook range’s reputation for durability – as usual, it’s rated MIL-STD-810G to survive a 12″ drop onto a concrete surface from any angle, features a sealed keyboard which prevents spills from shorting out any precious electronics, and can survive pressures of more than 220lbs on its lid without cracking or shattering.
Wireless connectivity is included as standard, although if you want to add Gobi2000 global wireless broadband connectivity to the integrated 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 radios that’s an optional extra.
Anti-theft functionality has been included courtesy of Computrace, along with Intel’s Anti-Theft functionality and a Trusted Platform Module – and if you’re really paranoid, you can optionally add a fingerprint scanner to the device.
Despite its size, the Panasonic Toughbook S9 definitely isn’t a netbook. With an Intel Core i5-520M processor running at 2.4GHz – with the ability to use Intel’s Turbo Boost technology to increase that to 2.93GHz when required – and 3MB of Smart Cache, it’s a bit of a beast – and while the 2GB of DDR3 RAM isn’t exactly generous the 320GB shock-mounted flex-connect hard drive should sort your storage requirements.
If you need more pixels than the 12.1″ WXGA 1280 x 800 LCD display can offer you, there’s both digital HDMI and analog VGA outputs to drive an external display – and the HDMI will carry an audio signal too, giving you a single-cable solution for presentations.
There’s an impressive 11-hour battery bundled with the package, and the integrated optical drive, which sets the Toughbook S9 apart from its peers, is a super-multi writer – although it’s a shame that Panasonic couldn’t spring for a Blu-ray drive, given the price of the device.
That is, as always, where the Toughbook falls down. With the base model starting – starting, mind you – at $2,499, you have to really ask yourself if you actually need a notebook that can withstand 12″ drops.