Previously, Panasonic made a name for itself in creating durable and tough laptops, specifically with the ToughBook series in the mid-90s. But now, since people aren’t really looking to carrying heavy laptops when they’re out working, the Japanese OEM has decided to focus on bringing tough mobile devices. At the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, they announced the arrival of the Toughpad FZ-N1, an Android-powered “handheld tablet”, which is basically a tougher and sturdier smartphone.
But okay, let’s go with the handheld tablet label they’re going for. It has a 4.7” (that’s why we still think it’s a smartphone, only more rugged) HD 1280×720 display and is powered by a 2.3Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. It has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. The standard battery can last you 8 hours of continuos use, but if you get the optional extended life battery, you get twice the life. If you just base it on the specs, this device is mid-range at best.
But where it stands out and where it lives up to its name is in its durability of course. It has IP65 and IP67 ratings, meaning it is water and dust resistant and it can survive being submerged in 3.3-feet of water for 30 minutes. It also survived a tumble test where it had to go through 2,000 3.3” drops and its ruggedized glass screen helped ensure its durability.
This device can be used for inventory management, shipping and receiving, parcel tracking, retail stores, bar code medication administration, etc and is equipped with a barcode reader, multi-touch display, and sunlight viewable display. The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-N1 will be available as a Wi-Fi model by next month and has an SRP of $1,499. The voice model will arrive sometime this summer, but no pricing available yet.