Panasonic's Toughbooks are well-known and respected in industrial and emergency environments for their durability, reliability, and long battery life. The company also sells similarly-ruggedized tablets under the Toughpad brand, and today it announced that the latest version of its 10.1" Toughpad FZ-G1 is now available in the U.S.
We haven't really talked about the Toughpads previously here at TR. The FZ-G1 is now in its 4th revision, but you wouldn't know by looking at it; the exterior is unchanged since its inception. Inside, the machine is now powered by an Intel Core i5-6300U SoC and its HD 520 graphics. There are 8GB of DDR3L memory on tap, a 256GB solid-state drive (a 512GB unit is optional), and 64-bit Windows 10 Pro. This latest revision includes an Intel 8260 chip providing dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.
The FZ-G1's 1920x1200 LED-backlit IPS display remains unchanged. Panasonic fits the tablet with a ridiculously powerful backlight that can ramp the brightness up to 800 cd/m² to ensure outdoor readability even at mid-day. The capacitive touchscreen has 10-point multi-touch capability, as well as gloved and wet-touch support. The machine includes a waterproof active stylus and seven hardware buttons along the bottom edge of the screen, two of which are user-configurable. As with most tablets, the FZ-G1 includes both a front-facing camera and an 8MP rear camera.
Of course, the real point of the Toughpad is its extreme durability. Panasonic describes the machine as "fully rugged," and that moniker seems apt. The tablet's chassis is crafted from magnesium alloy, and then that frame is encased in ABS plastic with thick elastomer corner guards. It has MIL-STD-810G certification for shock, vibration, and weather resistance, too. The spec says it will consistently survive drops from four feet, and also that it's weatherproof. Curiously, Panasonic says the solid-state drive has its own heater.
Panasonic also proudly states that the battery life of the FZ-G1 has nearly doubled since its original incarnation, from 8 hours to 14 hours. The company also offers an optional long-life battery that it says supports up to 28 hours of continuous operation. If that's not enough, the device has a multi-function bay that can accept a bridge battery to allow users to change main batteries without shutting down the machine. Panasonic offers additional options for the multi-function bay, like a serial port, an Ethernet port, a magnetic stripe reader, or a GPS unit.
While that all sounds pretty fancy, top-class engineering like this doesn't come cheap. Panasonic says the FZ-G1 is available at US distributors now starting at $2,899.
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