Toughbook laptops are now detachable

Panasonic is joining the trend of making laptops that convert to tablets, which is now a mainstream feature for computers.

March 09, 2017

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Panasonic is joining the trend of making laptops that convert to tablets, which is now a mainstream feature for computers.

Panasonic has finally given in and made a Toughbook that detaches to become a tablet (Source: Panasonic)

Laptop makers want to make everything detachable these days. This used to be a bigger limitation, but even more niche devices are finding ways to help people convert their laptops into tablets, as evidenced by Panasonic's new Toughbook CF-33.

The Toughbook has long been the go-to brand for users who need durable machines in taxing conditions. Rugged laptops and tablets have existed separately for a while, but bringing them together can be tough to pull off. Perhaps recognizing the changing winds in the market, Panasonic made it happen.

The CF-33 runs on 7th-generation Intel Core processors and it doesn't come cheap. With the keyboard, the laptop starts at $4,099. The tablet can be purchased by itself starting at $3,499, but that defeats the purpose of the machine.

The Porsche Design Book One is like a sleeker Microsoft Surface Book, but without a discrete GPU (Source: Porsche Design)

Another laptop that turned heads at Mobile World Congress this year is the Porsche Design Book One. This svelte laptop reminds many of the Microsoft Surface Book, which makes sense since the Porsche Design worked with Microsoft along with Quanta and Intel to make the laptop.

The Book One has a 13.3in WHD display, an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. This model will sell for $2,495, which is comparable to a Surface Book with similar specifications. However, the Surface Book has a discrete GPU while the Book One uses Intel's integrated graphics.

The design of the Book One is arguably nicer, though. The screen and keyboard lay flush together when the laptop is closed, unlike the Surface Book. It also has a hinge that allows the screen to flip 360 degrees. Also, like the Surface Book, the screen can undock from the keyboard. This is increasingly becoming an essential feature for laptops.

The line between laptops and tablets continues to blur, but they're still distinct products. Lenovo updated its Yoga line of laptops with the Yoga 720 at MWC. Lenovo introduced the world to the 360-degree laptop hinge, although it now makes other two-in-one laptops. Its latest detachable laptop is the Miix 320, which uses an Intel Atom processor and will sell for $199.

Ultimately, whether something is more laptop or tablet, one clear winner is Microsoft. The company needed to move fast to slow the advancement of Android, and it appears it was able to do that. Chromebooks are still niche products and Android missed its opportunity to become a good productivity OS on tablets. For detachable tablet makers, this simplifies the options. When it comes to getting work done, people want Windows.

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