+ Saturday December 14th, 2019


If you work in environments that require you to be tough as nails, chances are you need technology that can keep you with you. Dropping expensive equipment is never a good move, and for people who simply can’t afford to break their gear while out in the field, their line of tough devices stands up to the test. The latest entrant, announced in June this year, is the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2, shown above.

I’ve personally used a few of Panasonic’s tough devices, and I’ve seen them used in many other places too. Nurses use them in a healthcare environment, and environmental protection officers like me use these in the field to assess dumped waste and locate those responsible. They’re not for everyone, granted, but if you need a tough device like this, they’re a godsend.

Panasonic’s FZ-A2 is designed to withstand drops, shocks, extreme heat and cold, vibration, dust, rain, and probably even a nuclear explosion (probably not). However, with stats showing 84% of organisations have staff working outside an office environment, the need to protect sensitive equipment is very real.

Panasonic’s Stuart Buxton, in charge of the Toughbook product lines, had this to say:

More and more workers are working outside traditional office environments to get closer to their customers. This trend is empowering staff, but they need the right technology to suit their work environment.

Consumer tablets used in the workplace are prone to operational failure, which can cause businesses thousands of dollars in downtime, disruption and repair. The FZ-A2 draws on Panasonic’s 20-year expertise in manufacturing fit-for-purpose rugged devices. By launching the new Toughpad, we’re helping a wide range of organisations who haven’t traditionally used fully rugged devices to boost productivity, minimise downtime, slash field failure rates and reduce Total Cost of Ownership.

There’s a lot of detail about what’s inside the AZ-F2, but it will mainly be of interest to business buyers, because at $2,199 for the basic Toughpad, they’re not cheap.

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A2 is lightweight (880g) and slim (16.4mm deep) with a fan-less design and runs the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system with Enterprise Security from Android for Work. It is equipped with the latest, more powerful Intel® AtomTM x5-Z8550 Quad Core processor (2 MB cache, 1.44GHz up to 2.4GHz) with 4GB RAM and a 32GB eMMC.

This powers a 10.1-inch display at 1920×1200, with a range of business-focused options including full-size USB-A and USB-C ports, HDMI, MicroSD and optional barcode and 4G inclusions.

We’re going to take a spin with the FZ-A2 for those who like to play in the dirt, and let you know how it goes.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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