by Anton Shilov
01/08/2014 | 11:30 PM
Panasonic this week introduced its new rugged tablet that can easily be called the world’s most powerful 7” slate since it features Intel Core i5 “Haswell” processor with reduced power consumption as well as Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro operating system. The Toughpad FZ-M1 combines the mobility and flexibility of this pocketable form factor with its rugged and business-focused design.
The Toughpad FZ-M1 is powered by Intel Core i5-4302Y vPro processor with 4.5W scenario design power. The Toughpad FZ-M1 comes with 4GB DDR3 memory (8GB optional), 128GB solid-state storage (256GB optional) and 7” anti-reflective capacitive touch-screen with 1280*800 resolution. The tablet is equipped with a 2MP front web camera with stereo mic and 5MP rear camera (an additional 8MP rear camera is available as an option). The slate features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0 connector, micro SD and microSIM slots (Gobi 5000 module for 4G/LTE is optional). The model FZ-M1 weighs 540 grams and is 18mm thick.
Designed for mobile workers of all kinds, the Toughpad FZ-M1 is also particular suited as a more flexible and capable replacement for ageing rugged PDA devices in logistics, transportation, retail, manufacture, government and emergency services. Thanks to Windows 8.1 Pro operating system, the device is compatible with all legacy x86 software.
The Toughpad FZ-M1 is also highly flexible with its configuration ports and its integrated business expansion module. The device can be configured exactly for the needs of the business and transformed from a tablet into a mobile tool for vertical applications. Configurable integrated options include 4G mobile broadband, GPS and vehicle pass through antenna. The integrated business expansion module options include Mini-Serial, LAN, NFC, Smartcard Reader, 1D/2D Barcode Reader, UHF RFID and battery hot swap capabilities.
Panasonic claims that the Toughpad FZ-M1 can operate for eight hours on its replaceable battery on a two hour charge time. For those who need to work longer, a hot swappable battery set-up can be established using the configurable port options.
The Toughpad family meets similar durability standards to Panasonic’s fully rugged Toughbook product line. The Toughpad FZ-M1 is drop tested to 150cm as well as having an IP65 ingress protection rating for resistance to dust and water and it will operate effectively in temperatures ranging from -10°C to +50°C. The tablet has no fans.
“The Toughpad FZ-M1 uses top class technology and premium manufacturing to create a powerful but still pocket size fanless 7” tablet perfectly designed for business workers in many different industrial-mobile environments. Whether it’s helping provide rail passengers with ticketing and live train time information or the police force with a fast, simple and effective to use tablet while on foot or car patrol, this Toughpad is perfectly fit for purpose,” Jan Kaempfer, head of European marketing at Panasonic’s PC unit.
To ensure mobile workers can make the best of their Toughpad FZ-M1, a full array of purpose built accessories will be available at launch including desktop cradle, vehicle dock, multi battery charger, shoulder, hand and rotate straps, carry cases and a passive pen.
The Toughpad FZ-M1 will be available from February 2014 at a starting price of £1183 (€1431, $1947), which is an excessive price for consumers, but which is a normal price point for businesses and government agencies. A lite version of the Toughpad FZ-M1, with the latest Intel Celeron processor will also be available mid-2014. The lite version will feature the Windows 8.1 operating system.