Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 review

The toughest Windows 8 tablet on the planet. But can it justify the near £2000 price?

There are fewer surprises beneath that lumpy back panel. The 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-3437U is typical Ultrabook fare, and it comes here with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 128GB Toshiba - mSATA SSD.

The Panasonic's application benchmark score of 0.63 is reasonable, and the Core i5 processor when combined with the Intel HD 4000 Graphics core made short work of Windows 8, delivering a responsive experience throughout.

As expected the ToughPad is not cut out for gaming, and it struggles when tasked with intensive applications or multitasking. A score of 0.39 in our multitasking test is poor, and the Panasonic's single fan stirred to emit an irritating whine when the processor was pushed to its limits.

It's more powerful than the Atom-based Dell Latitude, but the Panasonic can't compete on battery life. While its 4,400mAh power pack put in a decent shift to last 8hrs 13mins in our light-use test, the Dell Latitude's standard battery lasted for 12hrs and its extended unit managed a mighty 27hrs away from the mains.

Connectivity is handled by dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4, and here the Toughpad's impressive versatility makes its presence felt. Communication can be improved by an optional GPS chip, and a Gobi 3000 3G modem can also be fitted.

Value

There's a price to be paid for this specialist bit of kit. It's a whopping 1,794 inc VAT. That's three times the cost of the Dell Latitude 10, and it's twice the amount you'll pay for the best Ultrabooks on the market too.

The price is made higher by an extensive range of accessories, too. A second capacity will set you back 100, and a cradle which adds USB 2 ports costs a whopping 198. Cases cost at least 48, and a car charger will put 67 onto the price.

That's a huge wodge of cash and the price, along with the rugged design, mean the Toughpad is a niche product. It's got rock-solid construction throughout and the computer underneath is responsive and versatile. No other Windows 8 tablet will survive the conditions that this machine will thrive in so if you're after something for work in tough environments, it doesn't get better than this.

Verdict

If you work in extreme environments and need a fully ruggidised device, the Toughpad FZ-G1 is the machine of choice. It may be expensive, but it won't let you down when it counts.

OS: Windows 8 Pro 64-bit Processor: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-3437U RAM: 4GB DDR3 Storage: 128GB SSD Screen: 10.1in 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0 Others: TPM 1.2, USB 3, HDMI, GPS Dimensions: 270 x 188 x 24mm (WxDxH) Weight: 1.1kg Warranty: 3yr RTB warranty

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