How Tough is a Panasonic Toughbook?

Posted by Jackie Anderson on 12th May 2022

"Are They Really That Tough?"...

"Will my Toughbook work in extreme heat or cold?" "What happens if it gets wet?" "Will my Toughbook survive if It gets run over?" Many people have questions about what these fully rugged laptops can truly withstand, and we're here to answer them!

Panasonic Toughbooks are made with harsh environments (and human error) in mind. To officially be called rugged, laptops and tablets must pass tests that meet MIL-STD-810G criteria. MIL-STD-810G is a United States Military Standard created by the Department of Defense to make sure equipment can withstand the environments it would see in military applications.

While not all MIL-STD-810G tests are run on every laptop or tablet in a product line, Panasonic does test large groups of products to ensure resistance to altitude, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock, rain, humidity, sand and dust, explosive atmosphere, vibration, shock, freeze, and thaw. 

Some companies try to get away with performing this testing in-house, or by saying that their laptops and tablets are built with MIL-STD-810G "in mind"- but not Panasonic. All testing on Panasonic Toughbooks is (actually) done by a third-party, respected, and qualified lab.

"Each year, over 1,000 Toughbook devices are tested in order to reveal and amend any weaknesses before they arrive in a customer’s hands. A primary goal of these testing procedures is to confirm that Toughbook devices not only meet, but exceed the MIL-STD-810G requirements, delivering an even higher degree of rugged certification. For example, the MIL-STD-810G Method 500 altitude test suggests testing in a chamber that simulates an altitude 15,000 feet above sea level. However, for our recent rugged products such as the Toughbook 20 and 33, we tested at 50,000 feet to validate the performance of the material and systems under extreme low pressure conditions..." (Panasonic, 2018)

For more information on MIL-STD-810G testing click here.

Will My Toughbook Operate in Extreme Heat or Cold?

Generally speaking, the recommended operating temperatures for any Toughbook are -10 to 50 degrees Celsius (14-122 degrees Fahrenheit) (Panasonic, 2016).However, as I mentioned earlier, to be considered truly rugged (MIL-STD-810G), they must pass tests in which they withstand extreme temperatures.

How cold?

During testing, laptops are stored for a period of time at a temperature of -51 Celsius (-60 degrees Fahrenheit) and operated at -28.8 Celsius (-20 degrees Fahrenheit) (Panasonic, 2018). So, if you plan to bring your Toughbook with you on a trip to Alaska in the wintertime, it should work just fine for you.

Did you know that we did our own cold temperature test by leaving a CF-29 out in a snowstorm? Check it out here:

How hot? 

Laptops are tested to withstand 71.1 Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit) while turned off (simulating storage) and 60 Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) while turned on (Panasonic, 2018). Therefore, leaving your Toughbook in your hot car most likely won't affect it.

Additionally, during the MIL-STD-810G testing, laptops and tablets have to endure a temperature shock test. During the test, the computer will go through three cycles where it is placed in an environment of 93.33 degrees Celsius (200°F) and then -51.1 degrees Celsius ( -60°F) (Panasonic, 2018).

So, can Toughbooks operate in extreme temperatures? YES.

What Happens If My Toughbook Gets Wet?

It's important to note here that while no Toughbook is waterproof, they are very water-resistant.

In order to pass the water-resistance test and be certified MIL-STD-810G, devices must be

"... blasted with 5.8 inches per hour or more rain and 70 mph winds, for 30 minutes per surface while remaining operational" (Panasonic, 2018).

Check out our rain test on a CF-31:

So, as long as you're not using your Toughbook as fish bait, the answer to this question is NOTHING!

Will My Toughbook Survive If It Gets Run Over?

Let's hope that you are not purposely running your laptop over however, it has been done (for science!). We have seen videos of Toughbooks being driven over by cars, SUVs, and trucks- and still surviving. We even did it once with a car ourselves (sorry, no video).

For reference:

  • Cars average 1.5 tons (PA DOT), or 3,307 lbs. (1,500 kg)
  • SUV's average 2,000-6,000 lbs. (JDPower), (907.2 - 2,721.55 kg)
  • Standard trucks average 3 tons (PA DOT) or 6,000 lbs. (2722 kg)

So, as long as you're not running it over with a tractor-tailor, most likely YES!

T he (not- so) secret? Toughbooks have a magnesium alloy chassis that protects their vital insides!

The Takeaway

A lot of laptop manufacturers claim to be rugged and misuse MIL-STD-810G to gain an advantage. However, with Panasonic Toughbooks, the proof is "in the pudding"- not only do they hold the certification of MIL-STD-810G, but they actually stand up to the (independent) test(s). 

Most importantly, however, Toughbooks have been put to the test by consumers like you! Many customers have told us that they use their Toughbooks on sail boats, on the farm, during their workday as a veterinarian, auto mechanic, truck driver...we could go on and on. What else do they tell us? That their Toughbooks are tough enough to get the job done and stand the test of time.          

Interested in getting your own Toughbook? View our selection here.


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