Panasonic hasn't made too many cosmetic changes to its latest generation of Toughbook, with the bulk of the improvements being made to how effectively the system handles the components and the heat generated.

While the CF-Y7 (£1679 inc. VAT) falls under the Toughbook brand of machines, it's aimed at corporate users, or individuals who may have to use their laptop in a variety of locations, but need battery life and portability over a fully ruggedised design.

Low on power, big on portability

The big change to this version is the use of dual-core processing, with this chassis now being able to sport an Intel Core 2 Duo chip, albeit it the low-voltage variant running at 1.6GHz.

While this isn't the fastest of machines, we found it could handle most processing tasks with ease.

Panasonic has opted to ship this model with Windows XP Professional, but it can be preloaded with any version of Windows at time of purchase. XP is less power intensive and is still the preferred operating system for many businesses.

The entire body of the laptop is made from magnesium alloy, which helps to keep the weight down to a more than portable 1.6kg, while at the same time adding plenty of protection.

It's not fully-ruggedised as there are vents on the side connected to a fan and the USB ports are uncovered, but this is as robust a machine as the average user is likely to need.

Palm rest rewriter

A neat design that you'll only find on Panasonic laptops is the placement of the DVD rewriter in the palm rest, which you open with a small latch. This drive, as with the Wi-Fi connection, can be physically switched off to save on battery life.

In real terms, all this technology comes together to offer the CF-Y7 one of the longest battery times you'll currently find in a laptop.

Rubber strips on either side of the keyboard and small rubber feet on the screen prevent screen rub, so the 14.1-inch screen should stay sharp.

The keyboard spreads the full width of the main body and is incredibly comfortable to use. The touchpad and mouse buttons are in a circular design, which takes time to get accustomed to but they are responsive and well built.

Rugged and fully-featured

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y7 is an amazing laptop for any user looking for a lightweight, fully-featured machine for more than simply writing documents.

The semi-rugged design means it can be used in a wide variety of locations and the long-life battery makes it ideal for anyone who needs to work on the move for long periods of the day.

Overall, this is a winning ultraportable.