Rugged IT specialist Panasonic has unveiled the successor to its 10.1-inch Toughbook G1 (tablet) and Toughbook 20 devices (detachable): the new Toughbook G2 is a fully rugged tablet, available with an optional keyboard that turns it into a 2-in-1 device.
Panasonic has 25 years of experience producing ruggedized tablets and laptops, and ZDNet has evaluated quite a few: we reviewed the G1 in 2013, when it was called the Toughpad FZ-G1 and ran Windows 8 Pro. , for example, and looked at the Toughbook CF-20 in 2016.
The Toughbook G2 offers an enterprise-level platform based on a 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10310U vPro processor with 16GB or 32GB of 512GB RAM or 1TB of MVMe SSD storage. It’s a Microsoft Secured Core PC, and there’s a variant with a quick-release SSD aimed at industrial sectors with particularly data-sensitive use cases – first responders and defense, for example. The Toughbook G2 runs Windows 10 Pro, but is compatible with Windows 11, and Microsoft’s new operating system will be a free upgrade in due course, if needed.
The bulky chassis of the G2 measures 279mm wide by 188mm deep by 23.5mm thick and the device weighs around 1.2kg, although this will vary depending on precise specifications. Robust credentials include MIL-STD 810H test and IP65 certification for dust and water resistance (although a careful reading of the datasheet reveals that tests “by an independent third party laboratory … will be carried out by 2 hours 2021”).
The 10.1-inch IPS display is “visible in sunlight”, with a maximum brightness of 1000 nits. It’s a 10-point capacitive multi-touch screen that works with fingers and the optional stylus, with selectable modes for gloved hands and rainy conditions. There are two cameras: 2MP with IR (Windows Hello compatible) on the front and 8MP with autofocus and LED flash on the back.
Standard ports are USB 3.1, USB-C (with Power Delivery), Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), port replicator, dual antenna, and DC input. There is also a “configuration port” which can be equipped at the time of purchase with a serial port, barcode reader, USB 2.0 port, second Ethernet port, or. a thermal camera. Another configurable item is the expansion bay on the back, which can accommodate a smart card reader or an HF-RFID (NFC) reader. Wireless communication is via Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.1, with LTE mobile broadband available as an option.
As usual with rugged devices from Panasonic, there are many optional accessories available, many of which are backwards compatible with those available for the Toughbook G1 and 20. Accessories include docking units, vehicle mounts, batteries and the stylus. The detachable keyboard adds two additional ports – USB-A and USB-C, while the desktop stand supports 4K output on two external 4K displays.
Battery life with the standard 50 Wh battery is estimated at 12 hours, or 18.5 hours with the optional 68 Wh extended battery. The batteries are hot-swappable, which is a key requirement for many field workers.
“The Toughbook G2 will continue the success story of fully rugged tablets,” said Dirk Weigelt, senior product marketing manager at Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business. “With its huge approved platform, reliable connectivity, unmatched ruggedness, tailored interfaces, enterprise-level security and less downtime thanks to long battery life – that’s the perfect tool for any field worker. ”
The Toughbook G2, which comes with a three-year warranty, will be available from the end of July, with prices starting at € 2,450 or £ 2,218 (excluding VAT).