Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

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Update: Contact information has been amended. Pricing varies based on configuration.

The Toughbook and Toughpad line have always been about powerful computing in a resilient shell, enabling powerful computing in the harshest of environments. The Toughpad FZ-G1 is one such addition to the family, and comes with a lot of niceties usually found the Toughpad’s slimmer, more consumer-friendly contemporaries.

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The Toughpad, as you can surmise, is one tough cookie. It is IP (Ingress Protection) 65-certified, which translates to a significant tolerance to water and dust. To keep any unwanted particles at bay, there are flaps covering the charging port and the expansion ports, so you only expose them when necessary. Of course, the Tough- line is also capable of taking hits like a champ, so I decided to test its physical durability. And perhaps unsurprisingly, it survived. Knocking it against the door and dropping it didn’t faze it one bit, and giving it a quick shower did nothing (except giving you a wet slate for your efforts). Of course, the tradeoff here is size (0.8 inches in thickness – about the same profile as a small notebook), but workers in harsh environments will definitely appreciate the Toughpad’s resilience.

Now, let’s take a look at the innards. The FZ-G1 is powered by a third-generation Intel Core i5 vPro chip, the Core i5-3437U. The “U” suffix means this chip is meant to be power-efficient – a definite boon when you’re out and about. The processor comes paired with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 128GB SSD by default, amounting to a rather speedy machine. The 10-inch display bears mentioning, since it cranks out an impressive 1920 x 1200 pixels, which is a significant step up from most notebook and tablet displays. The tablet runs Windows 8 Pro, but if you don’t fancy it, there’s a downgrade option available.

Putting it through the benchmark suite, the FZ-G1 is capable of going up against most mid-range notebooks, courtesy of its powerful innards. In PCMark05, the Toughpad managed to do quite well, only lacking in the Graphics department. You weren’t planning to game on this… right?

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The FZ-G1 also managed to do quite well in PCMark 7, scoring significantly higher in the Computation and Creativity aspects of the benchmark.

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In terms of battery life, the slate lasted comparatively longer than most notebooks, with a duration of 4 hours and 30 minutes on Powermark’s “Balanced” preset. It goes without saying that you can extend its life by doing the usual stuff like reducing the display’s brightness and only using the Toughpad for work. Doing the aforementioned should net you around an extra hour.

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The Toughpad is slightly lacking on expansion options, however, with one USB 3.0 port and a HDMI connector located on the right side of the unit. The high-resolution display, admittedly, could be a detriment as well in such a small form factor, with everything appearing in smaller sizes. The stylus remedies this somewhat, providing a finer degree of control.

 All in all, the Toughpad FZ-G1 is a boon to those who work in harsh environments, offering both durability and performance in a relatively compact form factor.

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