You don't get much in the way of storage for your money. The CF-W7 comes with an 80GB hard drive and a standard DVD rewriter drive. That's likely to run out sooner rather than later if you're a movie hoarder, but on the plus side, the drive is shock resistant so it can withstand a fair pounding. Panasonic says the laptop is drop-resistant to a height of 76cm. We were only too happy to test this theory -- and you'll be pleased to hear the laptop survived.
Panasonic has kindly supplied three USB ports -- three times as many as you'll find in a MacBook Air -- so you can always attach external storage to create backups. There's also the option to back up files over a network using the integrated 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi adaptor. A 56K modem is included, as is a standard 10/100 Ethernet port.
Unfortunately, the ports on the CF-W7 aren't shielded. They're wide open to foreign particles such as sand and dirt, which isn't great news for anyone that works in the desert or other such environments.
On the software front, Panasonic ships the CF-W7 with either Windows Vista or Windows XP. You also get a copy of WinDVD for playing movies and a couple of programs to help you manage the hardware and create software backups. Users should note: no productivity software is installed as standard -- you'll have to buy your own or download a copy of OpenOffice.
The CF-W7 is as slow as Monday morning rush hour traffic. Its low-end CPU and questionable RAM quantity helped it stutter to an underwhelming PCMark05 total of 908. 3DMark06 returned a score of 112, which is more indicative of an asthmatic than a laptop.
The upshot of such low processing power is long battery life. The CF-W7 kept chugging away for 308 minutes in our BatteryEater test, which is over five hours. With very restrained usage and minimum screen brightness, we'd estimate this laptop could last a couple of hours more.
We can only really recommend the CF-W7 to people who are clumsy or whose jobs require they entire building sites. It's certainly sturdy -- we'll give it that -- but it does have weaknesses, one of which is its price.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday