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

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.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

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.

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