Panasonic upgrades Toughbook 19: crunches more data, still weathers sandstorms

Summary:The rugged convertible tablet PC gets a new Intel CPU, expanded storage and an ambient light sensor -- all good news for the military, law enforcement and field technicians that buy them.


Panasonic, that cuddly Japanese electronics mega-company, announced this morning a hardware refresh for its Toughbook 19 convertible tablet PC that should make it a little more bulletproof, so to speak, in the difficult environments for which it's built.

The updated version now comes with Intel's Core i5-3320M vPro processor (that's up to 3.3GHz for the clock-speed nuts among you), as well as expanded storage (a 500-gigabyte, 7,200rpm hard drive that sports a shock-mounted flex-connect with quick release) and 10 percent improved battery life, for a total of 10 hours, as measured by the MobileMark 2007 benchmark.

That's not all. The updated device has a more responsive touchpad, Interlink's VersaPad -- since I'm not the target audience, I can't vouch for the old one, but this kind of upgrade happens when complaints pile up -- and an ambient light sensor that allows the computer's automatic backlight to shut off when not needed, to improve battery life, of course.

Oh, and one more thing: the new Toughbook 19 now comes with a USB 3.0 port, which allows for faster file transfer speeds.

If you're unfamiliar with the Toughbook line, it's not built for the traditional office. The reinforced device -- it's MIL-STD-810G certified, meaning it can brush off a six-foot drop, and has a magnesium allot case -- is the mobile computer of choice for the military, police, first responders and field techicians who can't simply take a conventional model into the elements. And I'm not talking about a drizzle here: the $3,549 Toughbook 19 can handle heavy rains, sandstorms, the brightest sunlight and explosive atmospheric conditions.

Topics: Hardware


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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