Panasonic toughens up the tablet with a 7 inch Toughpad

100% human

Always afraid you’re going to break that iPad Mini? Panasonic’s solution will make sure you never have those fears again, but beware, it’ll cost you a pretty penny.

Panasonic has this week taken the covers off a new entry in its “Tough” range of products, with a 7 inch Toughpad running Windows 8.1 that can, like other entries in the Toughbook or Toughpad lineup, take a real walloping.

Called the FZ-M1, it’s the first totally rugged 7 inch tablet that runs an operating system geared at businesses that need solid and durable portable computers and the applications generally made for the Windows environments they may run in the office.

Drop it. Crush it. Throw it down stairs. Immerse it into water. We’re talking a beating here, with military specifications (MILSPEC) applied to it for shock, vibration, and extreme temperature fluctuations over hot and cold, while Panasonic has also made it resistant to drops from up to 1.5 metres, while also being dust resistant and having a degree of water resistance.

“Our technicians in the factory put it through over 500 (drop) tests before it makes it through to our shelves,” said Jason Lee, Product Marketing Manager for the Toughbook at Panasonic Australia.

“The FZ-M1 tablet is unique in that it offers all the functionality of a computer without any compromises. It has the capability to run any organization’s existing Windows software in a completely rugged, customisable, and mobile form factor.”

The 7 inch drop-friendly tablet relies on one of Intel’s fourth-generation Core i5 processors, boasting the low-power variant of Haswell architecture, and making the tablet completely fan-less.

Pair it with a 128GB solid-state drive and 4GB RAM (256GB SSD and 8GB RAM optional), as well as 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, microSDXC upgradeable storage, 720p front-facing camera, 5 megapixel rear camera, high definition screen, and a host of configurable options for people who need them, and you have a tablet built for business.

Panasonic says the FZ-M1 is reasonably thin, which is something you might need to compare against other similarly built devices. Its 18mm thickness won’t exactly beat out either the iPad Air or the slimmest of Android or Windows tablets, but in terms of built-in ruggedisation, the Toughpad 7 inch may have the edge as far as durable tablets go, and with a weight of 540 grams, you won’t hurt your wrist holding it with only one hand.

It’s also about the most expensive 7 inch tablet you could find, with Panasonic making this highly resistant drop proof tablet for $2699.

April will see the release of the FZ-M1, with businesses likely seeing a reason to have it first. That said, if you’ve broken several iPads upon reading this, perhaps it’s time to try something built to survive.