Apple’s iPad may feel sturdy when you hold it in your hands, but that doesn’t mean it’s “tough.” Panasonic figured this out and wiped the drawing board clean for their new Toughpad FZ-G1. They were aiming to create a device that could withstand the rigors of the road, weather and field. By all reports, they have. The backlash? It’s going to cost you.

ToughPad Computers by Panasonic
The 10.1″ Windows 8 version of the Panasonic ToughPad, the FZ-G1.

Panasonic created two different versions of the ToughPad – a 10.1 inch Windows 8 version, and a smaller 7″ tablet running on the Android Mobile operating system.  It’s a continuation of their popular ToughBook line of laptop computers. The Windows 8 Pro version, named Toughpad FZ-G1, is the company’s first rugged device made for the new operating system and is designed for withstanding extreme conditions on the road, in the field, and from the weather.

It is the company’s first fully rugged device to use IPSα Panel technology, and includes strengthened glass, extra wide viewing angles, a high contrast ratio and 800cd/m2 high brightness paired with an anti-reflection layer, to help you avoid annoyances in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Anyone who has taken their iPad outside to read on a sunny days already knows how that goes.

Panasonic ToughPad JT-B1
A side view of the new Panasonic ToughPad FZ-G1.

The ToughPads are also designed to withstand high levels of moisture and particulates.

For connectivity, it packs USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, wired LAN, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and — optionally — a Verizon LTE or 3G chip.

Other features include a front web camera and optional rear camera, customizable application keys, flexible configuration ports and an optional dual external antenna connector. It is powered by third generation Intel Core i5-3437U vProTM 3MB cache, 1.9GHz, up to 2.9GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology and comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD as standard and a 256GB SSD option.

Panasonic also designed their ToughPad Tablets to perform in extreme temperature conditions.

ToughPad Android Tablet
A dual view of the 7″ Android ToughPad JT-B1

Now for the bad news

The 10.1 inch Panasonic Windows ToughPad will cost you slightly under $3000. The 7″ Android ToughPad will be available for around $1300. To that we say, “At least you won’t have to spend extra money on a protective case.” Which is another issue – the accessories for the ToughPad line are priced to intimidate. It’s a natural development, since the accessories have to be built to specific tolerances, but it won’t make you any happier.

Approach with caution, and even though you’re supposed to be able to, please – try not to drop it.

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