Rugged computing specialist Panasonic has unveiled the successor to its 10.1-inch Toughbook G1 (tablet) and Toughbook 20 (detachable) devices: the new Toughbook G2 is a fully rugged tablet, which is available with an optional keyboard that transforms it into a 2-in-1 device.
Panasonic has a 25-year history of producing rugged tablets and laptops, and ZDNet has evaluated many of them: we reviewed the G1 back 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-grade platform based on a 10th-generation Intel Core i5-10310U vPro processor with 16GB or 32GB of RAM 512GB 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 industry sectors with particularly data-sensitive use cases — first responders and defence, for example. The Toughbook G2 runs Windows 10 Pro, but is Windows 11-ready, and Microsoft’s new OS will be a free upgrade in due course, if required.
The G2’s chunky chassis measures 279mm wide by 188mm deep by 23.5mm thick and the device weighs around 1.2kg, although this will vary depending on the precise specification. Rugged credentials include MIL-STD 810H testing and IP65 certification for dust and water resistance (although close reading of the spec sheet reveals that testing “by an independent third-party lab…will be done by 2H 2021”).
The 10.1-inch IPS display is ‘sunlight viewable’, with maximum brightness of 1,000 nits. It’s a 10-point capacitive multi-touchscreen 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 compliant) at the front, and 8MP with autofocus and LED flash at the back.
Standard ports are USB 3.1, USB-C (with Power Delivery), Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), port replicator, dual antenna and DC-in. There’s also a ‘configuration port’ which can be fitted at purchase time with a serial port, a barcode reader, a USB 2.0 port, a second Ethernet port or a thermal camera. Another configurable element is the expansion bay at the back, which can take 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 Panasonic’s rugged devices, there are plenty of optional accessories, many of which are backwards-compatible with those available for the Toughbook G1 and 20. Accessories include docking units, vehicle mounts, battery packs and the stylus pen. The detachable keyboard adds two extra ports – USB-A and USB-C, while the desktop cradle supports 4K output on two external 4K displays.
Battery life with the standard 50Wh battery pack is quoted at 12 hours, or 18.5 hours with the optional extended 68Wh battery. Batteries are hot-swappable, which is a key requirement for many field workers.
“The Toughbook G2 will continue the successful story of fully rugged tablets,” said Dirk Weigelt, senior product marketing manager at Panasonic Mobile Solutions Business. “With its huge approved platform, reliable connectivity, unrivalled ruggedness, fit-for-purpose interfaces, corporate-level security and less downtime due to long battery life – it’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 (ex. VAT).