Panasonic launches Toughbook 31

Powerful processor, standard touch screen distinguish newest member of the Toughbook family

Panasonic has added a new model to its Toughbook line of rugged mobile computers, the Toughbook 31. The newest Toughbook is powered by a new processor — either the Intel Core i5 or i3, depending on the model you choose.

Panasonic officials made the announcement last night from onboard the U.S.S. Intrepid, docked in New York Harbor.

Like its predecessor the Toughbook 30, the Toughbook 31 is a clamshell-style laptop designed for rugged environments. Certified to Mil-Std 810G, it also has achieved an IP65 rating for protection from water and dust, Panasonic representatives said.

The Toughbook 31 actually goes beyond the military drop standards, said Jan Ruderman, vice president of government sales for Panasonic Computer Solutions. The test specifies a number of drops onto plywood using multiple units. Panasonic uses one unit for the 810G tests, dropping the device — switched on — from a height of six feet, Ruderman said.

A touch screen, which had been optional on earlier versions, is now standard, Ruderman said. Users actually demanded the touch feature, he said. The 13.1-inch XGA LCD touch screen uses Panasonic’s CircuLumin technology, a coating that disperses reflection so that the screen is readable in the brightest sunlight as well as pitch darkness.

The screen has a brightness level of 1,100 nits but can be dimmed to 2 nits for concealed nighttime use by the military or public safety users.

The extra processing power provided by the Core i5 processor enabled the addition of a hybrid cooling system, a combination of heat pipes and a protected fan that can be used underwater, Ruderman said.

The Toughbook 31 increased battery life to 11 hours by using LED backlighting to generate lower power consumption. Charging time is now 47 times faster than its predecessor, the Toughbook 30.

The Toughbook 31 comes with WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v2.1 +EDR, with an option for WiMax capability and Qualcomm’s Gobi2000 mobile broadband technology.

The Toughbook 31 goes on sale today for $3,799 from authorized Panasonic dealers.

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About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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