Windows 2-in-1s are growing increasingly popular, and Panasonic is joining the fray in its own particular way with the Toughbook 20, a device that's designed to take advantage of popular consumer trends while still being able to handle a hardcore environment.
Like other 2-in-1s, the Toughbook sports a detachable screen that can be used as a tablet away from the device's keyboard, with support for running Windows applications in tablet mode. The device was first announced in November, but I got a chance to take it for a spin at CES ahead of its launch sometime early in 2016.
This computer isn't going to take the consumer market by storm. It's big, boxy, heavy, and its 10.1-inch display won't turn any heads. But it makes up for that by being way tougher than the likes of the Lenovo Yoga series, while still providing key conveniences like a detachable touchscreen and 1080p webcam. It's designed to meet several key ruggedness standards, including the IP65 water resistance standard.
If there's one quibble I have with the device, it's that it takes a lot of force to latch the touchscreen to the chassis. I learned about that first-hand when I picked the Toughbook 20 up by the handle, and the screen slid off. Of course, since it's a Toughbook, it just bounced off the ground and continued working as expected.
Users can help ensure they prevent that by securely latching the screen to the keyboard, but it could still prove somewhat problematic for someone who's inattentive and happens to be standing on the edge of a dam or something.