when we wrote Panasonic Toughpad 5-inch tablets, you’d think we made a typo there, but no, we did not. yea, we know 5-inch is kind of a smartphone size and probably too ‘small’ for a tablet to begin with, but Panasonic is not about conform to the market’s status quo to call it a smartphone even if it has HSPA+, WCDMA, EV-DO, 3G and LTE radios packed into it. so don’t go around calling the duo smartphones. they are not. the devices, namely the FZ-E1 and FZ-X1, are fitted with a 5-inch HD LCD with high-brightness and high-contrast for ‘outdoor-readability’. the “high sensitivity proximity detection touch panel” is sensitive enough to be used with gloves on, while remaining unaffected by water droplets. being a Toughpad, the pair is naturally ruggedized to shrug off drops and impacts (to MIL-STF-810G standard, btw) and is built to IP65/IP68 rating for resistance against dust and water.
but why two models? well, the key differences lie in the OS and the processor. the E1 runs on Windows 8 Embedded and is fitted with a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, while the X1 packs Android 4.2.2 and a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 chip. apart from that, they are pretty much identical with both sporting the rubberized buttons, port flaps, 2GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage, microSD card slot, 8MP main shooter and a 1.3MP front-facing camera. the device is also packed with an astonishing 6,200 mAh battery that promise up to 14 hours of continuous use and up to 1,000 hours of standby. the battery is hot-swappable too and supports rapid charging that gets it up to 50% in just an hour of charging.
obviously, the duo is not designed with regular consumers in mind; they are destined for tougher environments (factories, warehouses, construction sites and the likes) than your average offices and malls, and the eventual price tag does prove the point. expect it to set you back at 130,000 Yen (about US$1,269) when it becomes available later this year. also, there is no word if other tougher environments outside of Japan will be getting these rugged smartphones, no, i mean, tablets.