On May 19, Panasonic launched the latest addition to their ‘Toughbook’ lineup, a 7-inch rugged tablet, Toughbook S1. The tablet is targeted towards mobile workers like security and defense personnel, warehouse workers, truck drivers, logistics workers, plant workers, field service engineers, etc. Like the entire ‘Toughbook’ lineup this device is designed to withstand harsh working conditions.
The Toughbook S1 tablet is built like a tank with reinforcement to the body to withstand shocks and drops up to 1.5 m or 5 feet on concrete. This level of durability is certified by Military Standard-810H. Furthermore, the device also comes with certified IP65 dust resistance and IP-67 Water-resistance.
The IP-67 Water-resistance is a downside compared to the latest industry-standard of IP68 water resistance for portable computing devices, however, given that the Toughbook S1 has an optional USB-A port with cover-flap, the IP-68 rating was difficult to achieve for Panasonic.
Moreover, the device is also designed to withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -25 to 50° Celsius. The tablet also has an ergonomic grip in the back.
The tablet houses a 7-inch IPS display panel with a resolution of 1280 X 800 pixels. The display comes with modes like rain-mode where the display can sense whether the registered input on the screen is from a finger/stylus or water drops.
This feature would prevent accidental touch-registers in rainy weather conditions. In addition to this, there is also a glove mode, where the user can use the touchscreen while wearing normal gloves.
The panel can also get as bright as 500 Nits, which offers decent readability outdoors, while the panel also comes equipped with an anti-reflective coating to reduce outdoor reflections and enhance the visibility of the screen.
However, since several flagship smartphones now offer over 600/700 nits of sustained brightness, the peak brightness of only 500 Nits on the device is sub-par for the cost of this tablet.
Also, the screen supports a stylus input for the intended purpose of signatures on documents, contracts, and forms. These features are targeted towards logistics workers.
SoC, RAM, and Storage
In terms of performance, the device comes with a Snapdragon 660 SoC from Qualcomm, coupled with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64 GB of Storage.
The Snapdragon 660 SoC comes with an octa-core CPU consisting of 4 high-speed (clocked at 2.2 GHz) and 4 efficiency (clocked at 1.8 GHz) Kryo-260 Cores. The performance is modest, however, a 700/800 series chipset would have made it more worthy of the price tag.
The tablet is powered by Android 10, however, Panasonic has confirmed that the Toughbook S1 will receive updates in the future. Whether these updates will only be limited to Android 11 or the latest Android 12, is not confirmed.
The tablet comes with a 13MP rear camera and a modest 5MP selfie camera. While the sensors are not confirmed, they are expected to not have flagship sensors from Sony or other OEMs. Since, the device is targeted to field workers whose primary need will be document scanning, verification, and shorter video conferences.
Panasonic is offering two battery capacities, with the larger one having 5580 mAh of capacity. The extended battery offers up to 14 hours of battery life.
Furthermore, there is the ability to “warm-swap” the battery. The Toughbook S1 has a second auxiliary battery which will allow you to remove the main battery and swap in a new one while the device is on. Although, the secondary battery will only provide enough power to swap the primary one.
Panasonic is also offering a dedicated USB-A port covered with rubber flaps to prevent dust and water ingress.
Furthermore, the tablet can also be equipped with a dedicated barcode scanner.
Panasonic is also offering a three-year warranty with the tablet.
Toughbook S1 is priced at $2499, making it one of the most expensive Android tablets. While a higher price is warranted by Panasonic for the military-grade hardware and durabilities, the mediocre specs leave something to be desired.