Going back to the mid-90s, Panasonic has been the king of tough when it comes to laptops, specifically those in its ToughBook series. In more recent times, this ruggedness has been brought to the mobile world with the ToughPad series. With that in mind, at MWC 2016 Panasonic announced the ToughPad FZ-N1, an Android-powered ruggedized “handheld tablet” (Panasonic’s words) – or what most of us would probably just call a phone.
The ToughPad FZ-N1 features an unspecified quad-core Snapdragon processor with 2GB RAM, a 4.7-inch 720p display, 16GB storage, and connectivity features like GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.1 (Class 1), and micro USB. Battery life is supposedly capable of “operating beyond a typical 8-hour work shift” and is user-replaceable. There’s also an optional extended life battery that can make it through more than two full work shifts, so says Panasonic.
Overall, the specs here are a decisively mid-range affair and nothing to write home about, but where the ToughPad really stands out is in terms of durability. The ToughPad is rated to handle drops of up to six feet, and was even put through a torture test of 2,000 consecutive 3.3 foot drops, all without running into issues. The ToughPad is also water and dust resistant, able to be submerged into 3.3-feet of water for 30 minutes with an IP65 and IP67 rating. Lastly, there’s a ruggedized glass screen that “ensures the high level of display reliability and durability.”
Of course all those ruggedized features won’t come cheap, with the Panasonic FZ-N1 set to cost a whopping $1,499 for the Wi-Fi only version (designed with workplaces in mind) when it hits in March. There’s also a normal ‘phone’ model, but the pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet.
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