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January 7, 2014

Panasonic launches i5-powered, fanless Toughpad

Fully-rugged 7-inch tablet runs on Windows 8.1 Pro.

By Ben Sullivan

Panasonic has launched the latest product in its line of Toughpad tablets, the Toughpad FZ-M1.

The fanless, 7" tablet is powered by a 4th gen Intel Core i5 vPro CPU and runs on Windows 8.1 Pro. Panasonic claims it is the thinnest and lightest rugged small-sized tablet on the market.

The Toughpad series of devices was introduced to replace PDAs which are now no match for the computing power of modern tablets and processors.

The FZ-M1 is able to be fanless because of the low power consumption of the i5 processor family, which operates for just 4.5 Watts compared to older CPUs usage of around 15 Watts.

The Toughpad FZ-M1 comes with 4GB RAM (8GB optional) and 128 SSD (256GB optional).

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.

The Toughpad FZ-M1 weighs 540g and is 18mm thin. 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. As standard, the Toughpad FZ-M1 includes a full size USB 3.0, Micro SD, Headset, DC-In and microSIM.

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The device offers strengthened glass for workers in outside conditions, high contrast ratio and 500cd/m² high brightness paired with a Panasonic anti-reflection layer. The WXGA (1280×800) Resolution screen is purpose built to perform in any light conditions with ten finger capacitive touch screen capabilities.

With built-in battery saving technology such as its ambient light sensor, Panasonic claims the Toughpad FZ-M1 can operate for 8.0 hours on its replaceable battery on a two hour charge time. A hot swappable battery set-up can be established using the configurable port options.

For users needing live video conference or capture photographic images of documentation in the field, the FZ-M1 is equipped with a 2 megapixel front web camera with stereo mic and 5 megapixel rear camera. An additional 8 megapixel rear camera is also available as an option.

It also includes the optional Gobi 5000 module for 4G/LTE downwards, as well as Bluetooth v4.0 and Wireless LAN. The optional dual pass through antenna connector enables wireless connectivity to be routed through to vehicle docks for enhanced and more stable wireless performance. Using the desktop cradle accessory the FZ-M1 has the flexibility to become a full desktop replacement.

Jan Kaempfer, Head of European Marketing, at Panasonic Computer Product Solutions, said: "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 its 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."

The Toughpad FZ-M1 will be available from February 2014 at a starting price of £1,183.

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