Panasonic's rugged Toughpad 4K tablet gets an Intel Broadwell refresh

Broadwell, HDMI 2.0 arrive on Toughpad 4K

Panasonic Toughpad 4K

Panasonic is giving its Toughpad 4K tablet a refresh with the addition of Intel's 5th Generation Broadwell processor. The Toughpad 4K was first introduced in 2013 as the world's first rugged 20-inch tablet with a high resolution 4K display.

Panasonic is targeting video professionals with the latest refresh by adding an HDMI 2.0 input that will allow users to view content from other sources on the tablet.

"The new HDMI 2.0 input, alongside other connectivity options such as USB 3.0, Intel Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 (class 1), Ethernet and Mini DisplayPort output, allow professionals to connect a greater range of peripherals and tools directly to the tablet for more efficient workflows," Panasonic said in a statement.

Availability

In spite of the enhancements, the Intel Core i5-powered Toughpad 4K will launch in July at $2,999 (£2,050, AU$3,955), or half of the $5,999 (£4,090, AU$7,910) cost of the first generation model.

Panasonic has not revealed what battery life improvements Broadwell brings to the Toughpad 4K, but the stated battery life on the first generation model is rated at two hours. Intel claims that Broadwell chips provide 30% more efficiency than prior generation processors, so users should expect to squeeze additional battery life out of the new Toughpad 4K.

In our early hands-on with the first generation model, a downside with the 4K display is that icons appear tiny given the high resolution screen. Using the touchscreen became problematic because of this, as it means users had to tap on small icons. Hopefully, Panasonic addressed the screen scaling issue on the new generation.

Enterprise use

Although the Toughpad 4K has a large 20-inch IPS Alpha LCD display, the rugged tablet can handle tumbles.

The magnesium alloy frame and reinforced glass fiber case construction mean that the Toughpad 4K can survive 30-inch drops on its back while powered on. With the device turned off, Panasonic says that the Toughpad can survive 12-inch drops to 26 angles. Video professionals who take the Toughpad 4K into the field for use as a display won't have to worry too much about accidental drops.

For those who prefer to use the Toughpad 4K at a desk, there will be an optional desktop cradle to convert the tablet into an all-in-one (AIO). The result would be similar to Dell's consumer-grade XPS 18 with FHD display and Lenovo Horizon 2s. The Toughpad 4K also has a VESA-compatible mounting adapter.

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