CES 2014: Panasonic unveils Toughpad FZ-M1 7-inch Windows 8 tablet

CES 2014: Panasonic unveils Toughpad FZ-M1 7-inch Windows 8 tablet

Summary: The rugged slate includes an Intel Haswell processor and runs Windows 8.1 Pro -- and will cost a hefty $2,099.


Over the past year or so, Panasonic has carved out a niche for itself in the tablet market with the Toughpad series of ruggedized units, from 10-inch Windows and 7-inch and 10-inch Android models to a massive 20-inch slab with 4K resolution. Now the company is expanding into the burgeoning Windows mini-tablet space with the new FZ-M1.

Toughpads aren't designed for the consumer market, so this isn't a 7-inch tablet with measly specs. It will be the first Toughpad to use an Intel fourth-generation Core (or Haswell) processor -- in this case, the Core i5-4302Y -- and includes a hefty 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of solid state storage. Those parts are needed to run Windows 8.1 Pro and power the 1,280x800 touchscreen.

The "tough" in Toughpad means that it's also certified to handle the MIL-STD-810G and IP65 specifications for drops (up to 5 feet), water and dust resistance, and temperature and climate extremes. It also includes security features like a Trusted Platform Module v1.2 chip, along with Computrace and Intel anti-theft technology.

Ruggedizing means that the FZ-M1 doesn't exude the sex appeal of other mini-tablets (just check out the image above for proof), but Panasonic still claims that it's the "world’s thinnest and lightest fully-rugged 7-inch Windows tablet," weighing in at 1.2 pounds and 0.71 inches in thickness. That factors in a raised bezel designed to protect the screen from impact.

It may also be tough to swallow the FZ-M1's starting price: $2,099, which is before you add options like 4G LTE connectivity, long-life battery, and other accessories. Of course, some occupations require rugged mobile devices like the Toughpad, so if you are need of one, starting saving for when the FZ-M1 becomes available in the spring of this year.

Topics: Tablets, Mobility, CES, Windows

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  • For that price

    They definitely should have used a higher resolution screen. This has nearly all high end specs, but a screen similar to the ~$300 tablets. I do like that it basically packs a surface pro 2 into the small form factor though.
    Sam Wagner
    • Resolution

      is not so important. The higher the resolution, the harder it is to make it rugged.

      It is the ruggedness that is paramount here.

      In the 80s and 90s we used to use Husky PCs. You could wedge them under the rear wheel of a Jeep to get it out of boggy field, then wash it in a stream, before continuing with yoir work. Try doing that with a normal iPad, Android or Windows tablet.
  • Starting at $2,000?

    For that price, it better come with a supermodel.
    • Missing the point

      it is a heavy duty tablet, it is the casing, ruggedisation and certification that adds to the price. Just the certification to IP and MIl spec both run intom5 figures, given that it has a limited market, that is a lot of money you have to rake back in over a relatively small number of devices that will be sold.

      As said, this is not a consumer device.
  • Previous customer of Panasonic

    As a previous customer of Panasonic's Toughbook line of machines, and have purchased, pilot'ed, and deploed about 300 of their laptops, I love them.

    They are NOT for consumers in any way shape or form. They will NEVER have the latest and greatest specs and updates. They will NEVER be the lowest price. It's funny to see reader's think this is expensive, when it's not geared towards them at all. It's for businesses, more importantly, people who work outdoors in not so great environments. e.g. construction sites, oil and gas industry, utility companies, insurance adjusters, etc.

    These things are just amazing field machines. They take a beating, and keep going. Typically no moving parts, no fans, nothing. You can drop them from 4; at something like 16 different angles, and it'll survive. My sales rep while still booted into windows on a regualr platter based HDD, throw a CF18 laptop about 10' across the room, well above the stated spec, and it was still just fine, powered on and never missed a beat.

    Then they made an update over the years I was managing the hardware. New processors, better screen, SAME battery life. That is what makes the Panasonic Toughbook lineup so good. Ruggedness, but also well engineered for the field where batterylife is a big concern.

    One other great detail about them, for $2000 yes it's a pricey machine, but for just (at the time) a few hundred more, a fully supported no-fault warranty. I mean gross neglect on my users part, but fully replaced/repaired as part of the service. Unlimited incidents.

    Take that your run of the mill laptop maker.
    • We have Toughpads

      Not this version but the FZ-G1's and they are a great machines for field users. We also have CF-U1's and they are just total rubbish, i woudlnt even give it to some one but i do enjoy the CF-19's but they are too expensive, we ended up buying them from the USA because they are double the price in Australia. You can get a FZ-G1 for around 2100 in the USA but in OZ its around 3500, total rip off and Australian businesses wonder why everyone buys over seas.