Panasonic 2-in-1 Toughbook CF-XZ6 review


#1

I had a chance to experience the new Panasonic Toughbook 2-in-1 today and wanted to share my take on this device from a less prominent segment of the market.

Specs:

  • Intel Core i5-7300U vPro
  • 12.0” QHD (2160 x 1440) multi-touch screen with optional active stylus
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 3x USB 3.0, USB Type CTM, LAN, HDMI, VGA and SD card slot
  • Wireless LAN a/b/g/n/ac (up to 866.7 Mbps), Bluetooth® v4.1 and optional 4G LTE
  • 8MP rear camera and 2MP webcam with IR for Windows Hello

What I liked about it:

  • It is actually lighter than it might appear @ 2.6lb for base and tablet
  • Anti-reflective coating on display
  • The hinge seems secure and easy to operate
  • Anti-slip finish on the tablet part makes it easier to handle
  • Lots of ports - 3x USB 3.0, USB Type C, LAN, HDMI, VGA, SD card reader
  • Swappable battery in the base
  • Speedy performance, on par with other similar devices
  • Shock and drop resistance (damage resistance is not guaranteed though)

What I did NOT like about it:

  • The design is not consistent - keyboard (silver) and tablet (black) have different finishes
  • Trackpad while different, is junk compared to pretty much to any recent Win Precision trackpad
  • Large bezels
  • No TB3 port
  • It is rather thick, like a laptops from 5-6 years ago
  • Keyboard is silver and lacks backlighting
  • The promised 14h battery life - turns to 7-8h of mixed real use from combined batteries
  • Expensive for the specs

Conclusion:
If you are looking for a more rugged 2-in-1 device, this makes a solid choice until you get to the price point and how it compares to other devices in the same class. For example I was told that one could buy almost 3x Vs vs one of these… Given that, I would personally choose perhaps a more fragile but much more modern and compelling competing device and hedge the risk of damage by buying a replacement if/when needed.

P.S.
While it might look like a Surface Book competitor, it is not. The specs of this device are much more closely matched to Surface Pro and V


#2

Price indeed very steep, €2745 here in Holland…


#3

even I didn’t like the design, but I love when company trying something different like this… nice!


#4

The CF-XZ6, like all ToughBook/ToughPad models is a ruggedized, industrial-grade PC which means it plays by far different rules from those of the consumer products like the Surface series or the V.

If you consider this a high-priced system for what it is, then it’s not meant for you.

You can’t compare the two classes of product on design, specs, size/weight or price. It’s not meant for the same usage scenario at all. It’s not even comparable with the HP ZBook x2 which again is designed for an entirely different application.

Here are more of the ToughBook family to give an idea of what is available and what they are meant for.

Panasonic has been making these systems very well for years, they have always been reliable and very reasonably priced for their class.

This is a five year old video but one of the shortest on youtube to illustrate my point.


Try doing that with any MS Surface.


#5

Hatter! Good to see you. Glad you haven’t given up on the community here. Your insights are always appreciated.


#6

Actually that trackpad looks awesome. Because it has buttons :heart_eyes:
I also love the bezel size, there’s something to grip on :slight_smile:
And I like they didn’t add backlight because it’s just annoying.

See, I’m different from this community. This looks like the perfect tablet for me, I don’t really know how to make it better except making the trackpad rectangular (that circle is just stupid). But I don’t really know if the tablet part is decent. I mean how many ports it has, how big is the battery etc.

And of course, it’s too expensive…


#7

Here is the thing though - what you said is very true for pretty much any other Panasonic Toughbook but not the CF-XZ6. For this device Panasonic says that it will LIKELY survive a 2 foot drop, but they are not guaranteeing that. So before the review I came with an expectation of an expensive but very durable 2-in-1, but came away with the conclusion that it is not any better that say Surface Pro and one of those tougher cases that you can get for it.


#8

And the V can do more than the 60cm drop as we saw in the test videos


#9

Put it into a bulky case the size of the XZ6 and your durability increases to new heights. Nvm that you can bust 2.5 of them before you make it into same expense.

P.S.
I am in no way trying to bash the CF-XZ6 as a product, but rather trying to understand its target market and see if there are better options and if I am missing anything from their use cases and eco systems.


#10

Around here they are most common on jobsites/construction and put in use by emergency responders.


#11

Field geology, oil&gas, land survey, forestry, road construction …


#12

That is for the regular Toughbook offerings that are built like tanks, and we see them all the time :slight_smile:
CF-XZ6 is a bit of a different animal, as it is not nearly as durable as other toughbooks yet it is not as compact nor as sleek as other devices with similar specs. It’s like it got stuck somewhere in the middle.


#13

Not for all jobs you need “real” Toughbooks which you can drive over, use them as a hammer or beer bottle opener (all things personally tested).

For some jobs just dust, mud and rain protection is enough. Plus CF-XZ6 is a “bit” lighter.


#14

Gotcha :slight_smile: So here is a tricky question - would you rather take CF-XZ6 or get a Surface Pro with a suitable (per your exact needs) rugged case from someone like https://www.ruggedtabletpc.com


#15

I would pick the Toughbook anyway, because it has more ports, better touchpad, etc.


#16

Yes, that is a valid point :slight_smile:

I would disagree on this one, as the touchpad is absolute junk compared to Surface Pro. Even knowing how you want them buttons, I think if you tried it in real life you would be really disappointed


#17

It would depend on total price, use, etc.

In our business (oil&gas and environmental) we are using both options.


#18

Maybe - I haven’t tried. But to me it’s hard to imagine anything worse than the touchpad of Eve V or SP4…


#19

@pauliunas - in field (usually with gloves on) I prefer to use touch screen. Both touchpads (Toughtbook and Surface Pro) are mostly not usable.


#20

Love them or hate them, but at least they track your fingers more or less accurately and give you room to work. This one is like a throwback a decade ago where it does neither well. Well, except it does look …different :joy::joy::joy: