June is the month to get your business organised. Enter today.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 rugged tablet (preview)
Panasonic's Toughpad FZ-M1 offers rugged features and fast performance in a 7in form factor
- Fanless design
- Hot-swappable battery option
- Lots of optional connectivity features
- Cost will be a barrier for some
- Size could be an issue
Panasonic's latest Toughbook, the FZ-M1 has a fanless design that allows for the body to be sealed. This makes it dustproof and water resistant. It's a unit that can also withstand 1.5m drops. Importantly, it's based on a Core i5 CPU and Windows 8.1, making it suitable for running everyday applications.
Price$ 2,699.00 (AUD)
Panasonic’s 7in Toughpad FZ-M1 is a rugged tablet for enterprise users that runs Windows 8.1. It’s designed for use in conditions that are more rough-and-tumble than the humble office. Mainly, it suits environments such as warehouses, construction sites, hospitals, and any other similar locations where liquids, particles, and drops can affect consumer-grade tablets that are unprotected.
Fanless fourth-gen Core
The Toughpad FZ-M1 makes use of a fourth generation Intel Core i5 CPU that consumes only 4.5W of power, though it will also be available with a Celeron processor for tasks that don’t require too much computing power. It can be obtained with either 4GB of RAM or 8GB of RAM.
With the Core i5 CPU, the FZ-M1 runs cool enough to not require a fan. This makes it a silent operator, but, most importantly, it means there are no vents through which particles need to be filtered. This gives the Toughpad FZ-M1 a sealed body, with the only penetration points being the connecting ports for power, peripherals and external security devices (such as a Smart Card). These are all covered with sealed flaps that allow the tablet to withstand splashes of water and airborne particles.
However, it can’t be submersed in water and guaranteed to survive. The Toughpad’s Ingress Protection Rating is IP65, which means it is dust-tight, and can withstand water projected on it for up to 15min. Furthermore, Panasonic claims the unit can survive drops from 1.5m onto hard surfaces, and that it’s not affected by common disinfection solutions, which makes it suitable for hospitals. The use of a solid state drive for storage (128GB or 256GB options), as well as the lack of fans, means there are no moving parts on the inside that can be otherwise damaged from shocks and everyday bumps.
For use in outdoor environments, Panasonic has equipped the Toughpad FZ-M1 with a 7in screen that has a brightness rating of 500 nits, and it’s not a reflective screen. It can support up to 10 simultaneous touch inputs. There is an optional capacitive stylus that can be used for duties such as capturing signatures. Panasonic claims that the screen can also be used even while the operator is wearing gloves. Temperature shock is also something that the FZ-M1 can withstand, with Panasonic claiming it can go from freezing or overly hot temperatures to less severe conditions without any experiencing any problems.
Connections and options
The Toughpad FZ-M1 has a stated weight of 540g, and a thickness of 18mm in its standard configuration, though this can be thicker if a strap or harness is attached. The type of connectivity that is provided can vary depending on a customer’s needs, with options available for things such as Gigabit Ethernet, a serial port, a Smart Card slot, a GPS module, NFC, and even a barcode reader, RFID, or magnetic stripe reader.
As for standard built-ins, there is a USB 3.0 port, a microSDXC slot for expanding storage, dual-band Wi-Fi up to 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. A docking connector is present for making use of the tablet back in the office. You can also get a 4G LTE mobile broadband module embedded in the tablet if Internet connectivity is required where Wi-Fi isn’t available.
Other features of the Toughpad FZ-M1 include a front-facing camera with a 720p resolution, and a rear camera with a 5-megapixel sensor and LED light. The chipset features Intel’s vPro technology, Intel’s Anti-Theft is also available, and data encryption can be enabled.
Battery life is stated as being up to eight hours (Panasonic tested this with MobileMark 2007), and it’s a user-replaceable battery. Not only that, there is an optional bridge for the battery that can allow for the battery to be hot-swapped without interrupting a user’s work, and a high capacity battery is also available. A quick-charge feature is said to allow the standard battery to get up to full capacity in 2.5 hours.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 will be available in April through Panasonic’s distributors and resellers, with a starting price from $2699.
Common usage scenarios for the Toughpad FZ-M1:
• Customer service
• Inventory management
• Asset tracking
• Maintenance work (viewing diagrams, entering field data)
• Electronic forms
• Route delivery
• Electronic medical records
• Mobile point-of-sales
• Geographic information systems
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 2 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Adobe, Microsoft join to put PDF document creation into the Office ribbon
- Google Podcasts offers the bare-minimum listening experience on your Android phone
- Google bring SMS to PCs with Android Messages for Desktop
- Apple hit with $9M fine
- Why is Bitcoin such a security hazard?
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies