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Panasonic Toughpad 4K review

Hiro Sakamoto with Toughpad 4K

We get to grips with Panasonic's new 20in business and design tablet with a 3,840x2,560 resolution screen

The latest addition to Panasonic’s Tough range of business computers is the Toughpad 4K, a 20in touchscreen tablet that’s really an all-in-one PC. Despite the company’s insistence to the contrary, the Toughpad 4K is as much an all-in-one PC as it is an overgrown tablet. We first saw it at CES earlier this year, but Panasonic has now announced its final production specification and let us get some hands-on time with the hardware. The Toughpad 4K is remarkably light to handle, incredibly thin and easy to carry around on one arm, although it’s too large to use in that position.

Toughpad for architectureal plans

The Toughpad 4K’s high resolution makes it ideal for large, complex image-based work such as handling architectural plans

Like Sony’s Vaio Tap 20, released last year, the Toughpad 4K is portable in that it has a battery and you can move it around, its size means that you’re not exactly going to be using this to get a bit of work done on the train home, even though its glass fibre chassis helps to keep its weight down to a manageable 2.3kg. Instead, it’s ideal for sharing projects with colleagues or moving between rooms as you work on a design.

Unlike the Tap 20, the Toughpad 4K is made for business, rather than home users. Its 20in display has a 4K resolution of 3,840×2,560 and a 15:10 aspect ratio, producing screen dimensions of 423x282mm, making it nearly as large as a sheet of A3 paper. The tablet can be placed flat on the table or propped upright in a landscape orientation using a desktop cradle which also provides additional ports including Ethernet, HDMI and three more USB3 ports. The cradle can also support the tablet in an almost flat configuration designed to make it easy to draw on. The version of the cadle we saw wasn’t designed to support the tablet in portrait mode, although the tablet itself can detect its orientation and adjust its display accordingly.


Panasonic has announced that there will be both standard and performance models of the Toughpad 4K, although only full details of the standard version have been announced today.

Both are just 12.5mm thick, but the standard model is designed primarily for marketing, sales and product display purposes, although we can also see it being used for 2D graphic design work and photo editing. With an Core i5 rather than an i7 processor, it’s less powerful than the performance model, but also lighter and less expensive.

Although a more powerful version is to come, the standard specification is already fairly impressive, with an 1.9GHz i5-3437U processor, 2GB Nvidia 745M GPU, and either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. The performance version of the tablet also comes with either a 128GB or 256GB SSD, a USB3 port, an SDXC slot, a 3.5mm headphone port and an 802.11n wireless adaptor to connect it to your network. Its battery is designed to last for two hours of heavy use.

With a primary target audience of designers, photographers, architects and illustrators, the performance version of the Toughpad 4K will be far more powerful. Although the exact specification is being kept under wraps, we got to take a look at the tablet in action. While the standard version struggled slightly when displaying high quality 3D rendered images, the performance version handled massively complex objects in the CATIA CAD application with ease.

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