Snowdon Race 2022 – Putting the TOUGHBOOK 40 to the test in rural Wales

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Snowdon Race 2022 – Putting the TOUGHBOOK 40 to the test in rural Wales

Dan Creasey is not exactly the type of specialist operator that TOUGHBOOK had in mind when dreaming up the concept for the new TOUGHBOOK 40, and neither is his office environment. But as UK & Ireland Marketing Manager at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK, he was keen to mark the launch of the ultimate 14-inch rugged notebook by putting this device to the test.

So, in early May, two teams of TOUGHBOOK employees embarked on a corporate away day like no other – racing their way up Mount Snowdon. He tells us how the expedition played out below…

The TOUGHBOOK 40 was built with many features which are designed specifically for the defence market and those working in the world’s most hostile environments: deserts, jungles, mountains. We don’t really have deserts or jungles in the UK (unless you include Jungle Mania Soft Play – I’ve often found it a hostile environment!), of course, but I knew that I wanted to launch this device with an expedition of some kind, so we settled on a trip to Snowdonia National Park. At 3,560 feet, Mount Snowdon felt like a good challenge for the team and the TOUGHBOOK 40 itself, and we gathered a group of 14 employees across sales, engineering, marketing, project management and more for TOUGHBOOK’s Great Race.

Of course, the race was in aid of more than just getting the UK team out of the office. We were humbled to be able to raise money for LATCH, a Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity, as part of the trek. Thanks to the donors, including a few of TOUGHBOOK’s partners, like Channel Edge, Clockwise Marketing, Studio 80, TPP Retail, and Miramar, our Great Race raised over £1,100 for these children and their families.

Once we split the two groups to create a bit of competition, one group was handed the new TOUGHBOOK 40, while the other had the TOUGHBOOK G2, and the Great Race began.  Albeit, not quite as planned.

We dropped the G2 team off at their starting point at 8:40am, and the TOUGHBOOK 40 team continued to the second starting point, 20 minutes away. Both teams were due to set-out at 9am, but after 30 minutes I realised that I had given the driver the wrong postcode - There was little to no phone signal there so, if I’d been smart (which by now you can probably tell I am not) I’d have used the dedicated GPS on the TOUGHBOOK 40, and would have realised we’d gone the wrong way earlier!

As landmarks go, Mount Snowdon is arguably hard to miss, so the day had started with a fairly bad omen for the TOUGHBOOK 40 team.

But once we had finally set off, we got the wind in our sails and managed to summit Snowdon in just under 2.5 hours. Not even a stretch for the TOUGHBOOK 40’s hot-swappable 18-hour single battery life (36 hours with two batteries). We even benefitted from a burst of good karma when we found a woman whose friends had charged ahead, and we welcomed her into our TOUGHBOOK team. I bored her with all the stats on the new device, yet she still called it a “TOUGHBOX” when we parted.

Getting to know a stranger on the walk boosted everyone’s spirits as the climb steepened, and she also enjoyed watching us test the TOUGHBOOK 40 by holding the device under every waterfall we could see. She was less enthused by us when I used a sudden downpour to demonstrate the new automatic touch screen feature, which detects raindrops and automatically adjusts the touchscreen control settings for optimum functionality… but as it rained for a good few hours, I couldn’t blame her for losing interest over time. For the team, however, we were excited by the chance to see features like this in action, and every raincloud needs a silver lining!

I also tried to interest our new-found friend with the impressive capability to modify the TOUGHBOOK 40 device in the field by using up to 7 different expansion areas for anything from DVD Players to Smartcard and Fingerprint readers. But by this time, I think she was much more interested in being reunited with her friends – maybe we were a little too much of rugged geek?

As we neared the summit and the mist intensified, the TOUGHBOOK 40’s glare-proof display – vital for any mobile user in the daylight - became less useful to our expedition. Instead, the ruggedness of the device went from an exciting novelty to a very necessary fail-safe, and I was grateful that due to the TOUGHBOOK 40’s military standard testing and IP66 rating against dust and water there was little chance of a broken device or a smashed screen from our many trips and falls (don’t tell the health and safety guys at Panasonic) on the slippery rocks.

There were a few features that we did not get to try out in the Great Race, however. The TOUGHBOOK 40’s new one-touch Conceal mode, designed for the military to instantly stem any light or electronic transmissions from the device when on operations, was left unused. And no matter how much it felt like below freezing in the Welsh wind and rain, I don’t think we put the extreme temperature capabilities of the TOUGHBOOK 40 to the test enough. With a temperature range of -29 degrees to +63 Celsius, the TOUGHBOOK team might need to plan its next trip to the Sahara, or perhaps even the Bahamas?

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