Panasonic CF-C1 review

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by benjim, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. benjim

    benjim Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1 Review

    Win 7 32 bit
    4 gig ram

    Price paid: $2,650 Australian

    As there are so few user reviews, I’ve decided to write one. Most other reviews have focused on the Toughbook durability and the fun stress tests, but I’m going focus on the useability of the C1 as a tablet and notebook.

    The C1 was bought to replace my near four year old Fujitsu T4215. The Fujitsu was a great machine that served its purpose well, but had a number of short-comings that needed to be addressed in my next notebook purchase. Weight, heat and battery life were the limiting elements of the T4215, and from all reports, these issues have not really been addressed in the new Fujitsu tablets. The Fujitsu was also dieing, making funny noises and the power adaptor had to be plugged in in a special way to work.

    Screen


    The screen on the C1 is its biggest weakness and will surely put people off. Vertical viewing angles are terrible. Horizontal angles are just ok. Colour reproduction is way off out of the box. The colours are much better after playing around with the settings, but simply put, this screen is no match for the Fujitsu T4215’s screen. Blacks in particular, are much better on the Fujitsu. On the plus side, the c1 gets much brighter than the T4215, and has much less grain and glare making it easier to read documents and work on. It is easier on the eyes than the T4215. Any serious artists/Photoshop work should look elsewhere for a tablet.

    Ergonomoics

    The screen only rotates in one direction and does not tilt back flat like the T4215, which is much more versatile. It does lay down flat in tablet mode without any latch and feels secure.

    This thing is seriously light. It looks big and heavy but once you pick it up, it feels like a toy. There is obviously a lop of empty space (relatively) in the C1 to help with durability. The dome and handstrap at the back are brilliant to use and greatly helps the tablet experience. Even holding it with one hand as a notebook works great with the dome. If you happen to not like the handstrap, you can always take it off. While the T4215 has a smaller footprint, the C1 feels like half the weight and is a joy to hold.

    When you add in the lack of heat, this is a wonderful tablet to hold and use. Where the T4215 would have me sweating, the C1 remained comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The fan does get a little loud in the default mode, but can be lowered- which does not effect the heat coming out.

    Input Devices

    The touch input works surprisingly well, much better than expected. It’s great mainly for internet use and word processing like I’m doing now. I turn it off in Onenote and Artrage or any other program where my hand is going to be resting on the screen. Touch input switches off when the pen is nearby, but I often rest my hand on the screen first before the pen goes down.

    The digitiser is from Wacom, so you’d know what to expect if you’ve ever used one before. Great accuracy and pressure sensitivity at the centre of the screen. Not so great at the edge.

    The keyboard has a very similar feel to the Fujitsu, though the keys are shallower and the overal size is smaller. This could be a problem for those with larger hands, but I don’t have a problem with it.

    The touchpad is small, circular and barely usable. The scrolling ring works ok. Since the pen and touch inputs work so well, its really only there as a last resot (or for someone not comfortable with pen and touch to use your laptop).

    Battery Life

    Though I haven’t done an uninterrupted drain test, it did last over 3hrs straight on internet, Office docs and still had some juice. The general feel on one battery charge is 4-5 hours on Onenote/office docs with brightness around 60% (85-100% is too bright to work comfortably on) and power saver mode. The claimed 5 hrs on certain modes certainly feels legit. This is already double the battery life of the T4215 which at best lasted 2.5 hrs and would barely pass 2 hrs most of the time. More tests need to be done, but I would say for general use, you would get a minimum of 3 hrs and possibly over 5 hrs on certain settings.

    Conclusion


    The C1 addresses the main problems the T4215 had and is an excellent convertible tablet for work purposes. The price here in Australia makes it competitive against all the other tablet manufacturers. I can finally have confidence working with this notebook around my school and not tethered to an outlet.

    I’d be happy to answer any questions.
     
  2. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Very nice review!! I do have a couple of questions:

    -I'm curious about what the WEI scores are (a screenshot would be fine)
    -How is the speaker(s) on it (I know the speaker.. yes, only one.. on my 2730p is crap; but that's why I have a Altec Lansing Orbit USB speaker, and it is actually really nice for simple yet good sound, while being very portable)
    -Do you know what kind of hard drive in it (or is it a SSD)? is it a 1.8" or 2.5" drive?
    -Is that battery life with 1 or 2 batteries? from what I remember it is supposed to have 2 slots, and be hot swappable.
    -Is there really a CD/DVD drive under the palm rest?? I saw a rendering of it on their site, but I can't tell.

    Any chance for some comparison photos between your Tablet PC's?


    Thanks for writing this up, its cool to finally be able to learn more about it
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
  3. benjim

    benjim Pen Pal - Newbie

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    - WEI 4.4
    - Speakers work. Mono, decent volume. No bass. About what you'd expect for a business notebook- crap.
    - All I know about the hard drive is it's 250gig, most likely 5400rpm. Easily removable. How would I find out if it's 1.8 or 2.5? Doesn't say anywhere.
    - That's the battery life with one battery. If I had a spare, I wouldn't even put it in until the first was about to die. It's hot swappable so you won't need to power down.
    - No dvd drive. The ones you saw were for the other business toughbooks.
    - Pic taken with both at max brightness. C1 ia much brighter but the T4215 has better colours and blacks.
     

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  4. Agent 9

    Agent 9 Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Looks like it is a 2.5" hdd (that means it would be an easy/ cheap upgrade to SSD).
    So it is a Full Voltage i5 in there, for such a powerful CPU and integrated graphics, that isn't bad battery life at all (it seems better than the 2740p's and x201t's -with standard batteries- are getting with the i5's) it should be able to handle a decent amount of gaming even (not the newest games, but ones from 2008 and previous should work fine -some at low settings though)
    Its a shame about the screen, especially for what is supposed to be a $3,000+ USD computer.

    Could you measure the computer's dimensions? (Width x Height x Length while closed)


    Awesome review :)
     
  5. benjim

    benjim Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Glad you liked the review.

    The C1 is over $3K in the US? :eek: . I had a look at the prices and it appears to be around $2.5K US, which is still about $500-1k more than the competition from HP and Fujitsu. At that price difference it's very hard to reccomend the C1. If you've seen the prices in Australia, the C1 is competitive with Lenovo and Fujitsu, and way cheaper then HP and Toshiba. Considering the US and Aus dollar are about the same, we get rorted badly here.

    The viewing angles on the C1 screen are definately the weakness. The blacks also don't appear totally black. I think the touch layer above the LCD kinda washes out the screen. If this was available without touch and with improved viewing angles, I'd reccommend it over any convertible tablet despite the price. The default screen also had a heavy blue tinge to it. Thankfully, this can be fixed in the Intel colour management.

    It's not all bad though. There is little to no grain on the screen and it's fantastic to look at (when viewed at its best angle). I also took it outside and it was perfectly viewable in the shade and with the sun behind the screen, and only just viewable in direct sun. It is far superior to the T4215 outdoors.

    I did a battery run down playing a 90 min avi movie, 30 mins with Onenote and Firefox, then the rest of the time playing Plants vs Zombies and Crayon Physics at 60% brightness. It lasted 3 hrs, 20 mins before it reached 5% battery level. Actually felt some heat playing the games.

    Dimensions: 29.6cm (w), 22.3 cm (d), 3.6cm (front) and 5.6 cm (back) for the height. It lays at an angle with the back part raised. Sorry for using the metric system.
     
  6. herewego

    herewego Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the review! I'm seriously debating one, as I'm a medical student who needs the durability/lightness/handstrap of the tablet pc for when I go into the clinics and hospitals. I always wanted something that I won't feel like will get damaged/break easily when I walk around.

    My biggest turn off is definitely the price..I can get a hold of a multitouch version for $2,600. I'd like to put an SSD in it as well.

    But alas, I'm just a poor medical student, and the thought of taking out another $3,000 in loans that I'll pay back with tons of interest is disheartening.

    All my colleagues tell me its wicked expensive and not worth it too.
     
  7. ericshmerick

    ericshmerick Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I recently picked up one on eBay for $1000 USD. Great deal, IMO.

    It will be here Thursday. Can't wait.

    Thanks for the review!
     
  8. benjim

    benjim Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Just want to let everyone know that this product was eventually returned for a full refund.

    I wanted to love this product. The weight, lack of heat, the brilliant strap and battery life were just amazing. Plus its a super-durable tablet.

    For all its pluses, the screen was simply too poor to be used in tablet mode and did not do as advertised (grounds for return).

    In portrait mode, the slightest shift in angle would make the colours warp. When shared between two people (as the ads suggest you can do), one person would see a predominantly white screen, the other black.

    If Panasonic were to make a new model with a proper screen that actually has viewing angles, I'd be onto it in a flash.

    This experience has taught me just how valuable a screen is, and should take precedance over size/weight/battery life etc. I'm now eyeing the Fujitsu T901 or X220T when they arrive.
     
  9. herewego

    herewego Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I've heard from the reviews that the viewing angles arent great but its really THAT bad???
     
  10. benjim

    benjim Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Horizontal angles aren't that bad, but the vertical angles are non-existant, making it unusable as a tablet in portrait mode. The colours shift at the slightest tilt.
     
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