Thursday, October 31, 2013
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 Review - Tablets for the mobile worker
We are likely now at a tipping point where mobile devices have reached mass adoption (40% market adoption is considered a mass market). We have 28 million cellphone users in Canada with a smartphone and tablet in the home. And with so many devices around, it is inevitable that some will break—which is why a new industry is emerging for fixing all the phones and tablets that have been dropped and cracked, dipped in water or had their batteries fried.

I have seen my kids’ Apple iPod Touch screens crack through daily use over three years and my own Blackberry Playbook tablet cracked when I dropped it on the bathroom floor. It will cost $125-$150 to fix according Ryan Winborrows at nerds4hire.com, with the glass costing around $80.

With that in mind this month, I set out to review a tablet device that would not break when dropped, and wanted to look at the Panasonic Toughpad tablet designed for mobile workers.

Panasonic is a Japanese company that manufactures a range of electronics for consumer, business and industrial markets. It was the fourth largest TV manufacturer in the world in 2012. The Toughpad’s design is based on the company’s Toughbook line of laptop computers for the business market.

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1

The Panasonic Toughpad is an industrial-strength tablet and is available in Android and Window configurations in 7” and 10” models. There is a 20” model, weighing 5 lbs., set for release in November 2013 geared for creative professionals. The Toughpad FZ-G1 is 10” machine using Windows. It is 0.8” thick and weighs 2.4 lbs. It has a stylus with a built-in cradle and is optimized for outdoor use. With an Intel 1.9 GHz processor, 128 GB solid state drive and 4G RAM, it has lots of computer power.

How do you test a tablet that claims it will not break? I took it camping to give it a whirl.

I liked the feel of the device as it was easy to hold (less slippery than others) and I did not have to baby it. I left it around the campsite, tossed it around in the tent and watched rain drip on it while reading an ebook. It also survived me dropping it on my office floor and was durable enough to pass the kid-proof test.

At the campsite, I was able to connect to the internet via wifi through my smartphone’s internet-sharing feature. The device also supports LTE 4G networks as an optional feature. Battery life is rated at eight hours and you can buy extra batteries and car adapter. It has plug covers for the USB, HDMI and power connections, so dirt and dust won’t get in, and features seven tablet buttons with two that are programmable by the user.

What I did not like was that it needed a fan to cool the processor. It was not waterproof, just water-resistant, and the Android version does not have a fan in its design.

 Panasonic Toughpad cradle

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet is versatile and can convert into laptop mode, using a cradle and bluetooth connection for switching to traditional keyboard.

RATING: 4 out of 5


This tablet fits the needs of mobile workers in industries such as construction, health, engineering, mining and military, a market niche that Panasonic dominates. This quality does not come cheap as the Android 7” model is priced from $1,250, the 10” at $1,350 and the Windows 10” version from $2,250. The tablets are backed by a three-year parts and labour warranty. Based on this price point, this device will only have luxury-consumer niche appeal. Panasonic will need to create another version if it wants to go after the wider consumer market.
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners online publishing, ad sales and acquisition/selling brokerage services. His media services also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He also moonlights as a pro goalie as a "rent a goalie" at mypuck.com.
Most Recent Blog Comment
Tracie Berardi says:
This is a really helpful overview Marty. You touch on good points in your blog. -- Tracie...
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