Affordable Rugged Computers: Durabook VS. Toughbook

Affordable Rugged Computers: Durabook VS. Toughbook

Posted by Bob Johnson on 14th Nov 2023

Let’s face it: Price is one of the most important aspects of buying a computer. You want a rugged laptop that meets the specs you’re looking for while staying on budget. After all, no one wants to invest in a computer they’ll have to repair later on.

There’s a lot to consider, and it’s a difficult decision to make. To narrow it down a bit, we’ll look at choosing between Durabook vs Toughbook models. One new, the other, refurbished.

Which is more affordable? Honestly, it depends on who you ask and what you’re looking for. At face value, you might say that a refurbished Toughbook is a better "bang for your buck."However, despite its lower price, it’s not necessarily true for you. It’s important to consider what exactly you’re getting with each and if they truly meet your needs.

To help you decide what’s best for you, let’s dive deeper.

comparison between a refurbished Toughbook and a new Durabook, Who will win?

Buying A Refurbished Toughbook

Buying refurbished devices can be a risky endeavor if you don’t do your research beforehand. If you’ve run into us, chances are you’re doing your part.

Not to brag, but we’ve been in business for 28 years for a reason. We’re not only a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, but our techs also hold multiple certifications. That being said, you can guarantee that the refurbished Toughbook computer you buy from us will be stellar.

Introduced in 1997, the Panasonic Toughbook has revolutionized the industry by pioneering the concept of rugged computing. It remains at the forefront, setting the standard for military-grade durability and performance.

Toughbook laptops are designed and built to tough out the most challenging environments and conditions. From extreme temperatures to drops, shocks, and vibrations, they’re engineered to persevere where conventional laptops falter.

If you need a refurbished model for the most demanding task, the Toughbook series is for you. Here’s what we love about this brand.

  • Rugged Features. Built to meet MIL-STD-810G military standards, you can use the Panasonic Toughbook in outdoor and industrial settings without worry.
  • Sunlight-Readable Displays. Toughbook models come equipped with high-visibility and sunlight-readable displays for those working in bright outdoor conditions.
  • Long Battery Life. They boast extended battery life options to keep you working in the field without interruption. Thanks to Toughbook’s energy-efficient components, optimized power management systems, and optional secondary/extended batteries.
  • Security Features. Panasonic addresses the need for advanced security features with fingerprint recognition, smart card readers, robust encryption options, and more.
  • Customization. Toughbook has a range of models to suit different industry needs. Customers can often personalize their laptops to meet specific requirements.

Our refurbished Toughbooks come in fully,semi-rugged, and tablet-convertible models. They feature i5 processors, up to a 2 TB SSD, up to 16 GB of memory, and up to 6000 nit screens. Not to mention, you can add-on options such as GPS and fingerprint readers.

  • Fully Rugged. Toughbook FZ-40 and CF-31 offer exceptional expandability, with options for xPAK expansion modules to enhance functionality. They have protective seals, gaskets, rubber keyboards, and drop-resistant magnesium alloy casing.
  • Semi-Rugged. The semi-rugged FZ-55 and CF-54 models provide a balance between durability and portability. The thin, lightweight build makes them suitable for users who need a rugged yet more mobile computing solution.
  • Rugged Tablets. Panasonic’s rugged tablet lineup, including the FZ-G2, FZ-G1, and CF-33, have anti-glare, multi-touchscreen capabilities. The CF-33 is one step up with its integrated keyboard that turns it into a 2-in-1 convertible laptop.

The Pros

As I mentioned earlier, one of the pros of buying a refurbished Toughbook is the lower price point. The computer has also been on the market for a while. Someone (most likely) has a solution to software or hardware problems you run into and replacement parts are plentiful.

Our expert technicians send all Toughbook inventory through a rigorous refurbishment process, which is a big plus.

The Cons

Your refurbished Toughbook might have some cosmetic imperfections (we always note this on our product page if this is the case). Other models might not be compatible with certain hardware or software upgrades. Additionally, some parts might be hard to find.

A Fair Comparison

For reference, a Toughbook CF-54 MK2, loaded with an i5 processor, 240 GB SSD, and 8 GB of RAM retails on our site starting at $799.27 (at the date of this blog post).

To complete this Durabook vs Toughbook comparison, let’s proceed to Durabook and see what sets it apart in the rugged laptop market.

Buying A New Durabook

Everyone loves that new and shiny, fresh out of the box feeling. But that nice feeling isn’t enough to justify a tech investment, right? You still have to ensure you’re getting the best quality product for your money.

The good news: Durabook offers the best of both worlds. Durabook Americas has been making rugged computers for over two decades.

Formerly known as Gammatech Computer Corporation, it’s been in the consumer-grade laptop manufacturing business since the late 1980s. It stands tall as a top competitor alongside industry giants like Panasonic and Dell. It only started producing military-grade laptops in 2000, but it hasn’t halted striving for excellence since then.

  • Extensive Connections And Ports. Durabook laptops offer an array of connectivity options, including USB, VGA, HDMI, and Bluetooth. This versatility means you can easily connect to a wide range of peripherals no matter where you are.
  • Multi-Touch Modes. Do you need to interact with wet hands? Are you wearing gloves? Or, do you prefer precise stylus input? Durabook provides a seamless and efficient user experience in all conditions you encounter.
  • HD Screen Displays. Durabook’s DynaVue sunlight-readable display technology is a game-changer for bright sun and low-light conditions. No more squinting or adjusting your screen angle to read critical information outdoors.
  • Rugged, Lightweight Design. Your laptop’s aluminum-magnesium alloy chassis can take a beating in demanding environments without weighing you down—ideal for professionals on the move.
  • Quick-Release Drives. Durabook’s quick-release mechanism for the battery and storage drive simplifies maintenance. Swap out a battery or upgrade your storage swiftly, minimizing downtime and keeping your workflow uninterrupted.

The Durabooks laptops and tablets we offer also come in fully or semi-rugged options. They’re customizable with i7 processors, up to a 1 TB SSD, 64 GB of memory, and 1000 nit (sunlight readable) High Definition screens. Plus, they have plenty of other add-ons such as GPS and webcams. Yeah, you could say they’re pretty awesome.

  • Fully Rugged. The Durabook Z14i stands out as a fully rugged laptop, thanks to its high-performance processor and generous RAM/storage capacity. It’s a bit pricier than a refurb Toughbook, but the brand-new device’s latest technology pays off.
  • Semi-Rugged. Semi-rugged Durabooks—namely S15AB and S14i—have programmable buttons, standard ports, and superior durability for well-balanced toughness and mobility.
  • Rugged Tablets. Working on the go? Experience the difference with Durabook tablet’s port covers, cameras for on-site tasks, and matte-finish screens for improved visibility

The Pros

A new Durabook runs a wider selection of programs and applications since it uses cutting-edge hardware and software.

A new Durabook runs a wider selection of programs and applications since it uses cutting-edge hardware and software. While you most likely won't be looking at parts for some time, accessories will be much easier to acquire than for a refurbished computer. You can get them directly from the manufacturer (whereas older parts and accessories can be discontinued).

Lastly, (while you most likely will not be looking at parts for some time) accessories will be much easier to acquire than for a refurbished computer, as they can be bought directly from the manufacturer (whereas older parts and accessories can be discontinued).

The Cons

Buying a new computer might take a bit to get used to new software and/or a different operating system. But the real deal-breaker is that the Durabook is a little more expensive than the Panasonic Toughbook.

A Fair Comparison

A brand new, semi-rugged Durabook S14I-G2 Standard with an i5 processor, 256 GB PCIe SSD, and 8 GB RAM retails on our site for $1,779.00. Durabook Z14I (G2) Standard, on the other hand, starts at $3,799.00. (All prices at the date of this blog post)

The Final Word: New Durabook vs Refurbished Toughbook Recommended

So, let’s take a quick recap of the differences between Durabook and Toughbook.

An upgraded, refurbished Toughbook is in the same price range as a new Durabook. Both refurbished Toughbooks and new Durabooks come in full and semi-rugged options, with flexible add-ons available. However, while Durabooks offer newer processors and more memory, upgraded, refurbished Toughbooks offer bigger SSDs and brighter screens.

The question always comes down to you, what features do you value most? The decision depends on how and where you’ll use your devices. Which specific Durabook or Toughbook features does your team need the most?

If you still need help finding your answer, we’re here to help. Just fill out our selection assistance form and we will work with you one-on-one.

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