Panasonic's brand new Toughpad tablet combines all the best features of smartphones and tablets, including an integrated 1D/2D barcode reader option, in one extremely rugged, 5in unit.
Toughpad tablets have been designed with mobile workers in the transportation industry in mind. Launched at the 2014 IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, the FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 aim to cram all the capability of a tablet into something that is barely any larger than a conventional smartphone.
Rugged construction, an intuitive interface and an ultra-long-lasting battery make these the perfect devices for anyone employed in transportation and logistics, the emergency services, utilities, retail, manufacturing or the aviation industry. The difference between the two models concerns their respective operating systems: the Toughpad FZ-E1 runs Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld, while the FZ-X1 is an Android (version 4.2.2) device.
"Toughpad tablets may be small, but they are the most robust, most powerful and longest-lasting devices in their class. They address the key challenges of businesses wishing to deploy the most mobile work devices," said Jan Kämpfer, general manager of marketing for Panasonic Computer Product Solutions. To that end, both versions are designed to be able to withstand being dropped on to concrete from 3m, they are sealed against dust and can be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for half an hour. An integrated heater, meanwhile, enables the shock, impact and humidity-resistant tablets to cope with a temperature range of -20 to +60°C.
Their high-definition, capacitive screens have an anti-reflective coating that enables them to be read easily in bright sunlight, and can be used with gloves, while a rain-sensor enables single-touch operation in a downpour. There are two cameras (8MP on the back, 1.3MP on the front) with an LED flash and custom options including a barcode reader and programmable buttons.
The FZ-E1 and FZ-X1 have voice and data on 4G LTE/3G/GPRS and carry a micro-USB port, Wi-Fi, near-field communications (NFC), GPS that is guaranteed to be accurate up to 2m and Bluetooth connectivity.
A combination of three microphones, 100dB-capable speakers and intelligent noise-cancelling technology ensures that conversations can be enjoyed in crystal clarity despite any nearby construction or engine noise, making the tablets ideal for use on site, or in other outdoor environments.
They won't leave you in the lurch by running out of juice, either. Both models' 6,200mAh battery gives you up to 14 hours of continuous data access (approximately 32 hours talk time and 1,000 hours in standby) and a quick-charging facility enables you to boost your power cell half-full in one hour, and back up to maximum in three. And in the unlikely event of you finding yourself out of juice on one battery, you can switch it for a fresh one without powering down.
A host of accessories, including holsters, hand-straps, vehicle mounts and desktop cradles, meanwhile, ensure that you'll be able to wear, or mount, your Toughpad wherever you may be.