Panasonic today hosted the Australian launch of the FZ-A1 Toughpad Tablet in Sydney.

Priced at AUD $1,499, the Toughpad is certainly at the upper echelons of the tablet pricing structure, but the build quality on Panasonic’s Toughbook laptops and tablets has been well-established since their introduction – they are used heavily in high stress areas such as the Army and S.W.A.T teams, so they’ll most likely fill the needs of their target market. If you’re in the construction, field sales, emergency services or public sector industries, you may have found your new tablet.

The Toughpad features stylus support utilising a Wacom Digitizer, which can be used to accurately capture information such as signatures or detailed drawing that is overlayed on the heat-treated hardened glass display which is designed to resist high impacts. The anti-glare low-reflection, high brightness LCD is designed for use in daylight which is an often overlooked use case for tablets.

Panasonic FZ-A1 Toughpad

  • 1.2GHz Dual-Core Marvell CPU
  • 10.1” XGA 1024×768 Capacative TFT Display
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Stylus input
  • 16GB internal storage with Micro SDHC Expanison port
  • 5 MP rear camera with LED flash and 2 MP front facing camera
  • GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • 3G capable with 21mbps HSPA+ compatible with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone networks
  • Waterproof mono speaker and Mono microphone
  • Micro USB 2.0, Micro HDMI, Docking connector, 3.5mm Headphone jack
  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Software :
    • AuthenTec QuickSec
    • RedBend OMA-DM
    • McAfee Mobile Security (trial version)
    • Adobe Reader
    • Panasonic Utilities
  • 4590 mAh Li-Ion battery with approx 10 hours battery life
  • 266.3×17.5x212mm @ 993grams
  • 3-year limited warranty, parts and labour

The Toughpad is built to adhere to US Military Standards(MIL-STD 810G compliant), water and dust resistant. It has an operating temperature range from -10 °C to 50 °C, IP65-compliant ingress protection and a drop shock rating of 120cm.

The security side of the laptop has been taken care of quite significantly with the tablet coming with a dedicated security processor core SoC, compliant with FIPS 140-2 Level 2, Marvell Trusted Boot, and hardware-assisted storage encryption. A variety of security software is installed on the device, including AuthenTec Mobile Security.

Panasonic has advised that the tablet will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich due to the reliability of that version of the OS and will investigate future upgrades based on market needs and customer feedback. The tablet is available to purchase from Panasonic authorised retailers across Australia today.

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There are two things that interest me about this tablet, the first being the Wacom digitizer which we’ve only seen so far on the Samsung Galaxy Note products and the second is the durability of the Toughpad. Could you use a Toughpad at work? Are you interested in ruggedised Android tablets? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Panasonic.
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    Peter Verwey

    I have been waiting sooooo long to give one of these a real try out. As a volunteer member of one of the emergency services I think this tablet has great potential. I got to play with one back at CeBIT earlier this year and was very impressed with teh build quality. Now with dual core and ICS it should be a great device. Hoping to get my hands on one this weekend for a trial. Will keep you posted.

    Chris (Deputy Editor)

    I’d love to test out how rugged they are, Top Gear style. I wonder if they’d let us?

    Peter Graham

    Kinda average specs for the price.

    Stephen Reeves

    That’s the point though, the cost is in the hardened components (and no doubt a decent warranty)

    Daniel Tyson

    Good Point Stephen, i`ll update it