Where is there to go with tablets? They’ve been made thinner and lighter. They have been made more powerful and have longer battery life than before... what else is left? Toughness! This is what Panasonic's Toughpad range tackles, and the new FZ-M1 has been unveiled at CES 2014. What's special about it? This is a diminutive device described as "the world’s thinnest and lightest fully-rugged 7" Windows tablet".
This is one of the smaller Windows 8.1 devices, and it's interesting to see that it's running the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 Pro rather than RT. Having a fully-fledged version of Windows installed means that this clearly designed for the serious mobile work, and the ability to withstand a 5 foot drop in conjunction with its all-weather IP65 dust and water resistant design makes it ideal for the harshest of conditions.
What's under the hood? Well, it's pretty impressive as it turns out:
- 4th Generation fanless Intel Core i5 vPro Processor running at 1.6GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 2.3GHz
- 8GB SDRAM (DDR3L-1333MHz)
- 7" WXGA 1280 x 800 with LED backlighting
- 128GB and 256GB solid state drives
- Standard battery with up to 8 hours battery life
- Long life battery with 16 hours battery life
- Intel Dual Band Wireless AC7260 Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
- Bluetooth v4.0
- USB 3.0
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the tablet is the fact that the batteries are hot-swappable -- so if you're going to be away from power for a while you have the option of taking a spare on the road with you.
There's no word on pricing yet, but what do you think of a keyboardless Windows 8.1 Pro tablet with a 7-inch screen?