Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review
The Toughpad FZ-M1’s unyielding chassis, long list of features and thoughtful design make it the ultimate rough-and-tumble Windows 8 tablet
When Panasonic unveiled the Toughpad FZ-M1 at this year’s CES, we came away mightily impressed. Arriving as a stablemate to last year’s 10in Toughpad FZ-G1, the Toughpad FZ-M1 delivers the same burly, ruggedised design in a diminutive 7in tablet.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review: Design
At 18.8mm thick and weighing 540g, the Toughpad FZ-M1 is hefty by compact-tablet standards. It would be churlish to hold its heft against it, though, as it’s purpose-built to flourish in the kind of environments that would spell doom for most devices. The hardened exterior is cast from metal and hardened plastics, and a strip of black rubber encircles the tablet’s edges, flaring out to protect the corners from accidental drops. The rubber edges offer a decent amount of grip, and their rounded profile makes the Toughpad FZ-M1 comfortable to hold in the hand.
It also has the credentials to match its tough-nut physique. Just like its bigger brother, Panasonic has tested the Toughpad FZ-M1 to MIL-STD-810G standards, and this means that it’s able to survive drops of up to 5ft, as well as exposure to shock, vibration, humidity and extremes of temperature. It also boasts an IP65 rating for water- and dust-resistance thanks to its sealed design – its single USB 3 port, 3.5mm headphone jack and 19V PSU input are safely hidden away behind thick rubber flaps, and the microSD slot and SIM slot are sealed behind the battery at the rear.
Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 review: Touchscreen & display quality
Much like the chassis, the Toughpad FZ-M1’s 1,200 x 800 touchscreen is designed to take outdoor use in its stride. The matte IPS panel is lit by an LED backlight that tops out at a gleaming 492cd/m², and as a result the display remains legible on even the sunniest of days. Image quality isn’t exemplary, but while colours are lacking in vibrancy, the panel’s contrast ratio of 705:1 is wide enough to dredge up plenty of detail in shadows and highlights.
The Panasonic’s touchscreen is supremely versatile. It supports ten-point touch input as standard, but Panasonic’s Dashboard application gives access to touch, stylus or gloved-touch modes, and a “water” mode for using the touchscreen in bad weather. Our review unit was supplied with the optional capacitive stylus, which worked well in our testing, providing enough accuracy for scribbling notes and writing onscreen. The stylus also comes in handy for navigating Windows 8 with gloves on, and provides pinpoint control even in fiddly desktop applications.
|Warranty||3yrs Parts and labour|
|Dimensions||202 x 18.8 x 130mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,200|
|Resolution screen vertical||800|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1.6GHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0mp|
|Upstream USB ports||1|
|Mobile operating system||Windows 8.1 Pro|