Panasonic Toughpad

Panasonic adds a mini and a Windows 8 tablet to its Toughpad line

Panasonic announced this week at CES 2013 in Las Vegas that it was expanding its already-popular Toughpad line by introducing two rugged devices in different form factors, extending the Toughpad's potential use in the public-sector workspace.

The Toughpad JT-B1  is an Android-based mobile device with a 7-inch vertical display. It is only 5.1 inches wide, which means that it can be held firmly in the average-sized hand. It is certified rugged through the MIL-STD-810G specifications for shock, humidity and temperature, and it has even passed the maximum five-foot drop test. Like its larger counterpart, the JT-B1 has been given an Ingress Protection of IP65, which means it is completely dustproof and can withstand all but the most powerful jets of water. At 1.2 pounds, it is Panasonic’s lightest computer product ever, the company said.

The most outstanding feature of the JT-B1 – other than the ruggedness, of course – is the battery. Although its projected lifespan of eight hours is not the longest among tablets, users can replace it  without tools. Opening the two latches at the bottom of the back panel lets the battery come right out, making it easy to pop in a spare battery when working for extended periods away from a power source.

The Toughpad FZ-G1  has a 10.1-inch display and the same levels of rugged certification as the FZ-A1, which has been out for a little over a year and has been gaining in popularity. But it has significant differences, according to Panasonic. Because it runs a full version of Windows 8 Pro, it needed more resources, so the company put in a 1.9-GHz Intel Core i5 processor and at least 4G of memory. It comes with a docking port and a full-sized USB 3.0 port for additional flexibility. It weighs in at 2.43 pounds, which is only about 5 ounces heavier than the A1.

The battery can be replaced by the user, and the solid-state drive is removable, though a screwdriver is required. Government agencies may find this feature useful, as it would allow the unit to be sent out for service while keeping the information on the drive on the premises.

The JT-B1 and the FZ-G1 extend the potential use of the Toughpad line in the public-sector workspace. The B1 would do well where having a hand free can be important, such as inventory control. At the same time, the G1 would be well suited for any job that might have it docked in a vehicle, such as trucking, surveying or even law enforcement.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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