Panasonic launches most rugged Toughbook laptop to date
Panasonic has supported the mobile workforce for a good many years with its line of Toughbook business laptops. Now the company has announced its most rugged laptop yet, the modular 14-inch Toughbook 40.
The rugged business laptop is aimed at folks who work in extreme or dangerous environments and boasts a tough magnesium-alloy chassis with built-in handle and reinforced locking port covers. It's certified for MIL-STD-810H and MIL-STD-461H durability, which means that it's been drop tested from 6 ft (1.8 m), is protected from water and dust ingress to IP66 standards, can withstand high and low temperatures as well as solar radiation, and should be good for high altitude work.
Though it's built around a larger display than previous generations, the Toughbook 40 comes in at more than a pound lighter – tipping the scales at 7.4 lb (3.35 kg). That screen is a 14-inch Full HD touch-enabled IPS panel with 1,200 nits brightness for outdoor readability, and is topped by the first 5-MP webcam in its class, which comes with a privacy shutter, IR capability for Windows Hello facial recognition, and is supported by "tetra-array microphones."
The laptop is powered by 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor options with integrated UHD graphics – with the option to upgrade to Iris Xe or a dedicated AMD GPU – supported by up to 64 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage with encryption. And as an added security measure, the new Toughbook comes with Secure Wipe to erase drive contents in seconds.
Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6 are available as standard, with a choice of mobile connectivity via a 4G (LTE/LTE-A) or 5G (mmWave/C-band/Sub6) modem. A dedicated GPS module can be configured in as well. There are a bunch of USB ports too (including support for Thunderbolt 4), in addition to HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, a microSD slot and dual SIMs.
The Toughbook 40 is reported to feature the industry's first quad pass-through connectors, and is also the first to offer software-selectable pass-throughs for each antenna. A backlit keyboard and backlit power button are included for ease of use in challenging lighting conditions, plus a large resisitive touchpad that can be used in the rain or while wearing gloves. It also rocks 95-dB top-firing speakers for audio that can be heard in noisy working environments.
Panasonic has included eight user-replaceable modular components to help keep the laptop in use for longer or allow for mission-specific customization – including the battery, memory, storage, expansion zones and keyboard. And finally, it runs Windows 10 or 11 Pro, can be optioned with Blu-ray or DVD drive and offers up to 36 hours of in-the-field battery life if the user carries an optional second battery along.
"This is our most rugged Toughbook laptop ever and it was designed and engineered uniquely for customers across the enterprise, public sector and federal agencies, leveraging their direct feedback and experience to provide a world-class solution combining hardware, software, accessories and professional services," said Panasonic America's Craig Jackowski. "With up to eight user-replaceable and upgradeable areas, The Toughbook 40 combines power, ruggedness and flexibility to elevate the customer experience now and into the future."
The Toughbook 40 rugged laptop has a starting price of US$4,899 and is pegged for "late spring" (Northern Hemisphere) availability, so should go on sale shortly.
Product page: Toughbook 40
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But then, in spite of a wonderful line of Panasonic consumer products, sales and distribution was never a Panasonic strength.