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February 2, 2014

Hands on: Panasonic Toughpad 4K

CBR takes a look at Panasonic's business-rugged 20"-slab of ultra-HD.

By Ben Sullivan


Last week, I was privy to the brand new 20" Toughpad from Panasonic. With a whopping 4K ultra high resolution display, the tablet will come as ‘business rugged’ (industry speak for only a tiny bit droppable) and runs on Windows 8.1.

At first glance, I was mightily impressed by the display. 4K is ridiculous quality, and before seeing the tablet I had concerns over whether such a high resolution is needed on a smaller device. However, after being shown some demos, I can confirm that it works perfectly and is one of the best viewing experiences of a tablet I’ve ever seen.

So where on earth is this behemoth ‘ruggedised’ tablet being aimed at? A demo program, some kind of make-up applier what-will-you-look-like-with-fake-tan tool answered my questions…

We’re increasingly noticing these ‘customer interactions points’ on shop floors now. I saw one in M&S the other week, where a shopper can select their outfit from the tablet in front of them. This tablet would fit right in on any high-end store’s shop floor, enabling the company to better sell products to the customer. Another program was some kind of high-brow Autotrader, where you can go through the Porsches and select which colour you’d want. I, obviously, opted for Racing Red.



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The quality of the image on these programs was definitely the best I’ve ever seen, and if retailers are willing to fork out the £4,000-odd price tag for one of these, I’d say they wouldn’t be making a mistake.

Under the bonnet, the Toughpad is running on an Intel Core i5 1.9GHz CPU, with NVIDIA Geforce 745M graphics. The 4K screen is 3840 x 2560 and offers up 230ppi with a 15:10 aspect ratio. It comes with either 4 or 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD.

I was pleasantly surprised with the weight of the thing: at only 2.35 kg, I was expecting it to be a little heavier. It doesn’t feel too clunky in the hand either, measuring only 12.5mm thick. All this does come at a cost of a 2 hour battery life though, but considering this won’t really be the type of thing you’ll take on the tube, I guess it’s workable.

Onboard the device is a USB 3.0 port, SDXC card slot, a headphone jack and a docking connector. The dock itself basically can change the tablet into a PC – with a LAN, HDMI and three USB ports on offer. One neat thing about the cradle is that it has two positions: upright like a regular monitor and then almost flat, for artists or sharing the viewing experience.


The Toughpad also comes with an electronic touch pen, which looks something like a cross between a sonic screwdriver and a pregnancy test stick. It is, however, better than both of those things put together as the magic wand has an accuracy of 0.1mm, and beams your directions via infra-red to the screen, then back, and then to the tablet using Bluetooth.


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