Panasonic Intros Rugged 12.1" Toughbook C1 Tablet PC

Finding rugged cameras isn't all that hard, and honestly, finding any sort of rugged "accessory" doesn't take too much effort. When it comes to notebooks, however, your options are limited. For better or worse, Panasonic has had the rugged laptop market on lock-down the past few years, as their Toughbook lineup is generally seen as the go-to product line if you need a portable machine that can take a beating (and keep on computing).

With tablets becoming all the rage once more, it's no surprise to see Panasonic venture their Toughbook line into that sector, and now we have the Toughbook C1 Tablet PC to consider if the iPad just feels too fragile. It's hailed as the world's lightest 12.1" convertible Tablet PC, offering 10 hours of battery life a Core i5-520M processor, an optional Gobi2000 mobile broadband chip and a weight of just 3.2lbs. Put simply, this one offers "desktop-class performance in a lightweight, convertible tablet form factor." It's the best of both worlds, and it can survive drops and jostling that would seriously hamper other notebooks.

It also features a shock-mounted, flex-connect 250GB hard drive with a quick-release feature that allows for enhanced data protection, and it's the first convertible to employ a unique triple hinge design – one set of hinges for opening and closing the screen and another hinge for rotating the screen to tablet mode. In testing, the Toughbook C1 successfully survived drops of 12” from any angle for the unit itself and from 30” for the shock-mounted, flex-connect hard drive. Additionally, the Toughbook C1 survived a 30” (just over the typical height of a desk or table) drop to the base of the unit while operating, and the spill-resistant keyboard is there to prevent damage if you tip over that morning cup of coffee while trying to reach for that morning breakfast bar.

The $2499 price tag is far higher than most tablets out, but most tablets out don't have a Core i5 underneath and a chassis that can survive jungle-like torture.

Panasonic Toughbook® C1: Select Features and Specifications

  • Genuine Windows 7® (with XP downgrade option)
  • Intel® Core™ i5-520M vPro™ Processor (2.4 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.93 GHz)
  • 250GB shock-mounted flex-connect hard drive with quick-release
  • 2GB RAM (DDR3-800), expandable to 6GB
  • Choice of two 12.1” WXGA (1280 x 800) displays with LED backlighting
    • Multi-touch + digitizer screen allowing input via finger, gestures and electronic stylus pen
    • Gloved multi-touch screen allowing input via finger and gestures (available Fall 2010)
  • Anti-glare screen treatment
  • 6 backlit tablet buttons (5 user-definable)
  • Hot-swappable twin battery design
    • 5 hour battery life (with one battery); 10 hour battery life (with two batteries)
  • 3.2 lbs (with one battery); 3.7 lbs (with two batteries)
  • Optional webcam
  • Built-in dual array microphone
  • Business-rugged
    • 30” operating drop (to base only)
    • 26 sides 12” drop (non-operating)
    • 225 lb pressurized vibration
    • Magnesium alloy case
    • Spill-resistant keyboard (protects against 6 ounces spills)
    • Triple hinge design with screen rotation lock
    • ‘Hand-free’ ergonomic strap and dome hand support
  • Embedded Connectivity
    • Optional integrated WWAN / Gobi2000™ mobile broadband (EV-DO and HSPA)
    • Intel® Centrino® Advanced-N 6200 802.11a/b/g/n
    • Bluetooth® v2.1 + EDR (class 2)
  • Optional Integrated Security Features:
    • Fingerprint reader
    • SmartCard reader
  • 11.8” (H) x 8.9” (W) x 1.2”-1.7” (D)
  • Optional desktop dock with DVD multi-drive and dual monitor support
  • Optional 4-bay battery charger

Pricing and Availability

The Panasonic Toughbook® C1 will be available worldwide starting June 2010. In the United States, the Toughbook C1 is expected to be available at an estimated street price of $2499 from authorized Panasonic resellers and distributors.

The Toughbook C1 includes a standard three-year limited warranty.