If you’re looking for the best rugged laptop or the best laptop that can serve you well for years to come, the Panasonic Toughbook 33 is your best bet. Panasonic has had over a decade of experience making these rugged laptops under their Toughbook series, and the Toughbook 33 clearly shows that. And you can buy different docking stations in order to add more functionality to this rugged Toughbook easily. The build and battery life of this machine makes it a contender for top-rated laptops.
Why We Like It – Panasonic Toughbook
Rugged tablet PCs are fantastic portable devices that can be brought pretty much anywhere, in any conditions. And the Panasonic Toughbook 33 is especially great because it sports capable hardware and a fantastic display. Also, the modular design makes way for a lot of different accessories that you can purchase separately in order to upgrade certain aspects of this laptop.
- 1440p display
- 1200 nits peak brightness
- IR camera for Windows Hello face unlock
- Small trackpad
Power & Performance
The Panasonic Toughbook 33 features a 7th gen Intel Core i5 7300U inside and utilizes the integrated UHD Graphics 620 for display output. The 8GB RAM is very much on the lower side considering the price, but it’s manageable. You probably shouldn’t perform any demanding work on it anyway, because it’s not really made for that. You can grab the semi rugged Lenovo ThinkPad P52 instead as it comes with much better and newer hardware overall (e.g., Core i7-8750H).
See Also: Go through our Panasonic Toughbook Cf 54 review for another rugged laptop.
Even though it comes with just a 1990mAh battery, it actually lasts very long. Panasonic advertises 10 hours of battery life on this laptop. While you might be getting less than half of that in reality, it’s still pretty impressive. And you can perform a few minor tweaks in order to extend the battery life quite a bit (e.g., reducing the brightness of the display and the backlit keyboard, turning off Wi Fi when not needed, setting the display resolution to Full HD 1080p, etc.). And on top of that, due to the modular design, you can buy a second battery (6 cell) accessory that you can instantly put in as soon as your laptop battery dies. That way, you can always fully charge the second battery and carry it around in case of an emergency. And it’s pretty much hot-swappable when the laptop is running from the wall adapter. If you are still not happy with it, the LG Gram 17 comes with more than triple the battery life of the Toughbook 33, so go for that instead.
Ports & Expandability
The tablet part itself and the keyboard dock that comes included both have a lot of different ports for easy accessibility. On the tablet, you get a USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a full-sized HDMI port, a gigabit LAN port, and an audio line-in/out. On the keyboard dock, you get two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, VGA, Serial, and another gigabit LAN port. And there’s a microSDXC memory card reader too. Unfortunately, there’s no USB C port on this laptop. And if you still use DVDs and are looking for a laptop that sports a DVD drive, the Dell Latitude 5414 Rugged notebook is going to be the better option.
There’s not much to complain about here as the tablet itself is very sturdily built. Everything starting from the touch screen to the corners and the edges feel solid, and the whole tablet has a lot of heft to it. Now that might not be good for users that prefer lighter 2-in-1 laptops, but in this case, it actually makes sense. The included keyboard dock is also pretty decently well-built. Take a look at our Razer Blade 15.6 review for a more stylish laptop that’s not built to be used in the wild.
Everything we have said until now paints a very pretty picture for the Toughbook 33. But it isn’t all hunky-dory for this laptop all the way through. At $3800, most people expect better hardware than a three generations old core i5 and integrated Intel UHD graphics. And the separate accessories and docks you can buy for this convertible laptop aren’t very cheap either. Overall, the value aspect of the Toughbook 33 isn’t that great, to be honest.
Panasonic Toughbook Wrap Up
The Panasonic Toughbook 33 is a laptop that you should only consider if you need a convertible notebook that’ll serve you well for at least 4-5 years. Or else, you should stay away from it due to the high price.