back to article Wheee GDUNK! Panasonic's latest Toughpads ready to hit the streets

A few weeks after its unveiling at CES in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year, samples of Panasonic’s mini Toughpad FZ-M1 have finally made it to these shores. The company was showing off the sturdy little blighter in London yesterday alongside its 20-inch 4K tablet which is rolling into production as you read this. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    woo hoo...

    Oh it runs windoz

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: woo hoo...

      Well since its x86_64 based you can pretty easily install another OS on it, without having to hack open a locked bootloader, as is par for the course with a high percentage of ARM based devices.

      We use toughbooks in the Army and a number of them at my unit are dual boot with Windows and a Linux, if you know US Government/Military IT procurement than you can probably guess which distro. While they're not truly "Soldier proof", they are pretty difficult to destroy. I wish I could tell you how the field destruction guidelines go for them (in case the shit hits the fan and we have to start burning documents and smashing hard drives), because they're a bit different than destroying the garden variety Dell or HP obviously.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: woo hoo...

        My mechanic has been using toughened Windows laptops with touch-screens for years, for the purpose of running engine diagnostic software.

        >Using pinkies only, making choices from drop-down menus was a challenge, and will no doubt be a toe-curling experience for field workers.

        And the software he uses is designed to be touch-screen friendly.

  2. CadentOrange

    I've worked with the G1 tough pads and while they are interesting devices, they're nothing more than niche devices. They're too heavy and bulky for general tablet use, and they start at a stupid price. Most people with rugged tablet needs will be better served with an iPad and one of the militarized covers.

    On the plus side it does run Windows...

    1. larokus


      "Most people with rugged tablet needs will be better served with an iPad and one of the militarized covers."

      Most of those control technicians in industry working largely on plc's and windows based infrastructure would make better use of an iPad?? Sysadmins?

      Have you ever done compute heavy tasks on an iPad?

      I hope for the sake of your IT or control department you aren't involved in procurement

      1. CadentOrange

        Re: sure

        "Most of those control technicians in industry working largely on plc's and windows based infrastructure would make better use of an iPad?? Sysadmins?"

        Aside from the ad hominems, you've obviously never worked on legacy Windows apps using a touchscreen. Those needs are better served by the Toughbook, which is legendary. Toughpad, not so much.

  3. John 104

    Windows Tablet!


    I was interested after reading the title because I use a Nexus 7 on my fishing boat for GPS chartplotting. It is a cheap way to get nav and while reasonably rugged for a tablet with the Sidio full case on it, it worries me in a salt environment. Something like the Panasonic would be great. Too bad it has Windows RT. I know a Linux distro could be put on it but then I'd be fighting with drivers and the like. No thanks. I'd rather be fishing on my time off than "working" :)

    Mine's the one with the 20 pound King Salmon rotting in the pocket...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows Tablet!

      Indeed, you do need to get your coat, as either the article is wrong or it runs full blown Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, not the half-arsed Windows RT.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows Tablet!

      Yup, but you could wallpaper your boat with Nexusi (?) for the price of one of these.

    3. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Windows Tablet!

      AFAIR Bell had a slogan for their crash helmets that was "If you have a $10 head then buy a $10 helmet".

      I would rather go fishing with a dedicated chart plotter linked to a DSC enabled radio.

      When everything goes titsup just press the red button for five seconds. You would not have the time to make a call on your phone or radio.

  4. Old_Polish_Proverb

    I would love to purchase some Toughbooks and Toughpads for my college's automotive repair students to use. Being able to take their PC's out to the workshop floor with them would be highly beneficial. With the full windows OS it would make running the software they have an easy install. But the cost is so prohibitive. I could get a half a dozen Chromebooks for the cost of one full sized Toughpad. When the software they run moves off the PC and starts running in a browser I'll look again, but if an Android tablet in a hardened case can do the same job I can't justify the cost of a Toughpad.

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Obligatory screen complaint

    At one point Panasonic offered something better than the piss-poor 768-900 lines "HD" resolution, and for the sort of industrial applications these toughened machines excel at it was great. Sadly the whole range is now in crappy widescreen mode.

    Do these guys ever use their products as their customers would? Come on, at this sort of price point the extra screen would add almost nothing and is far more important then the pre-installed OS (which is something you can change if needed).

  6. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Good for gorillas

    So it's a bit on the spendy side, big deal. If you are in a dirty environment, like a machine shop, auto/diesel mechanic, oil rig or working around water, the price is cheap compared to HAVING to buy a half dozen Chromebooks. The thickness is a bonus if you are wearing gloves. All of the shiny iPads and Android tablets can be way to slippery under your mittens. Obviously, these are not for the suit and tie crowd, but if you're troubleshooting systems in the engine room of a boat with a sea on, you will probably appreciate how well it survives the odd fall and soaking in bilge "water".

    Being able to upgrade to Win7 is a huge bonus.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    Panasonic's answer to Xplore

    Looks pretty cool.

    We have a few thousand of the Toughbooks where I work and few hundred Xplores. Tough as hell PCs.

    I was wondering if Panasonic was going to evolve the line.

  8. picturethis

    Come on, USB 2.0?


    How do they expect to get software on/off the device? WiFI, USB 2.0? Really?

    USB 3 has been out for years now. The SD slot would work IF it weren't optional!

    I want to load 160 GB worth of map / data on it, how does one do so without taking several (continuous) days worth of transfer time. Assuming the transfer doesn't crash in the interim (which is usually does for me, anyways)

    I like the Windows 7 option, but why no GPS? I guess they expect everyone to carry a smart phone along with it, but if that's the case, why include a celluar data option?

    I like the device (the 7", not the 20"), but they got to 95%, but it has to 100% if they want me to part with that kind of money, because it is a lot, for what it is....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " it with the Old Bill "

    So can you beat a protestor to death with it?

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