updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Similar Panasonic hardware runs Windows 8.1 or Android
Panasonic today launched what it says is one of the world's most rugged five-inch handheld tablets with data and voice capabilities at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, Germany. The Toughpad FZ-E1 with Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld and FZ-X1 with Android share the same ruggedized hardware, and are aimed at mobile workers in transportation and logistics, public sector and emergency services, utilities, retail, manufacturing and aviation.
With resistance to drops of up to three meters (10 feet) to concrete, the Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1 go beyond MIL-STD-810G shock resistance specifications. Both devices are fully sealed against dust, and are submersible in up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes, meeting IP68 certification requirements. The devices can operate in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 60°C (-4F to 140F) thanks to a built-in heater, and are also tested for resistance to impact, shock, vibration, altitude and extreme humidity.
The Windows-based Toughpad FZ-E1 utilizes a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8974AB 2.3GHz Quad Core processor. The Android-based unit runs off a Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064T 1.7GHz quad-core CPU. Both models have 32GB of flash memory with 2GB of RAM. Storage is expandable with a micro SDXC slot, up to 64GB.
The display is a 5.1-inch 1280x720 10-point capacitive, toughened multi-touchscreen display that works even through heavy gloves. It includes a rain-sensing feature that allows for single touch use even in pouring rain. In addition to an 8MP rear camera with bright LED flash and a 1.3MP front camera, configuration options are available such as an integrated 1D/2D barcode reader and other industry-specific peripherals.
The Toughpad FZ-E1 and Toughpad FZ-X1 are the first devices in the Toughpad line to offer voice connectivity. Both models will be available with voice and data on 4G LTE/3G/GPRS. Standard on both models is an integrated Micro USB port, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, near field communications (NFC), standalone GPS with enhanced accuracy up to three meters, and Bluetooth v4.0 (Class 1).
To ensure clear voice communication above construction or automobile engine noise, the devices are equipped with three microphones. The array is optimized for intelligent noise cancellation, and is coupled with dual front speakers reaching a maximum volume of 100 dB, sufficient to be heard in even very noisy work environments.
A quick-charging feature allows for a 50 percent charge of the 6,200mAh battery in approximately one hour and full charge in approximately three hours. Additionally, a hot-swap functionality allows a depleted battery to be swapped out for a fresh one without powering down the device.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-X1 is available now in the UK from £1024 ($1,700). The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 will be available in November starting at £1056 ($1,750).