Panasonic unveiled three new tablets at CES 2013: two highly rugged Android and Windows ToughPad tabs, as well as a prototype 20-inch 4K tablet for creative professionals. Being the tablet fiends we are, we leapt in to get some hands-on action with all three.
Windows 8 ToughPad FZ-G1 tablet
First up was the ToughPad FZ-G1, a 10-inch Windows 8 Pro tablet designed to function in even the harshest environments. Panasonic’s ToughPad tablets and ToughBook laptops are renowned for their durability, and the FZ-G1 follows suit with its chunky, uber-tough body. It's IP65 water and dust resistant and boasts a scratch-proof Gorilla Glass display. It’ll even function in temperatures approaching zero degrees Farenheit - useful considering the rubbish weather lately.
Specs-wise, you get a powerful Intel Core i5 processor and between 4 and 8 GB of RAM, plus up to 256GB of storage via SSD. You can boost the Wi-Fi with optional 4G support, and can also stick the ToughPad FZ-G1 in Panasonic’s special durable dock, complete with key lock to keep it in place.
The ToughPad FZ-G1 will be available from March for $2,899 US, so unless you’re rolling in megabucks, it’s likely to be snapped up by professionals working in tough environments.
Android ToughPad JT-B1 tablet
The other new tablet Panasonic unveiled was the ToughPad JT-B1, a 7-inch Android Ice Cream Sandwich device that adds to the existing 10-inch ToughPad FZ-A1 (currently available). With its 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the JT-B1 isn’t exactly a powerhouse, but should comfortably run your apps for up to eight hours if Panasonic’s estimates are correct.
As usual, the ToughPad is all about the durability. The chunky body is impressively rugged, surviving drops of up to five feet, and is also IP65 water and dust resistant. There are three customisable buttons on the front for opening your favourite apps. You also get an impressively powerful 13MP camera mounted in the rear, along with a bog-standard 1.3MP front-facer. Wi-Fi comes as standard, with a SIM model also available.
Like the ToughPad FZ-G1, this Android tablet can also be docked in a special holder. This can be securely mounted on flat surfaces and allows you to swivel the JT-B1 between landscape and portrait mode, as well as adding extra ports.
The ToughPad JT-B1 will be launching globally from next month and cost $1199 US.
CES 2013 was rammed full of 4K resolution televisions, but Panasonic was the only company to show off a 4K tablet (imaginatively called the 4K tablet for now). This 20-inch beast rocks a 3840 x 2560 resolution, for incredibly sharp images on a large scale.
Panasonic is selling the 4K tablet as a creative tool, showing off photo editing and architectural software with the bundled stylus. It’s a Windows device, squeezing an Intel Core i5 processor and NVidia GeForce graphics card into the impressively slender 10mm frame. You get 128GB of built-in storage, which can be expanded via the MicroSD memory card slot.
Our demonstrator wasn’t sure when the 4K tablet would emerge for sale but hinted at a price approaching an Apple MacBook. Couple the steep cost with the 2.4KG weight and wide build and this tablet is definitely only for serious creative professionals who need to make tiny adjustments to their photos or documents on the move.