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We've never understood why Panasonic chose to brand its top-line tablet as the Toughbook H2, but given the hairy-chested types who build and use the gear, we're not gonna challenge 'em. The company hasn't messed too much with the Windows 7 slate, except pushing the top chip to a 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U and to swap out the 320GB 7,200RPM shock-mounted HDD for a 500GB model. Panasonic has also tweaked the hardware's polycarbonate-encased magnesium alloy chassis, with MIL-STD-810G1 ensuring that the gear will survive drops from six-feet, as well as IP651 weather-proofing. The 3.5-pound unit also sees its battery life pushed to seven hours and also gains boosted WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1+EDR connectivity. Once you've selected a unit, there's a hefty list of possible add-ons, including barcode scanners, smart card readers, Gobi-running 3G, LTE and GPS options. There's even a model that meets MIL-STD-461F standards for electromagnetic protection -- useful if your day job involves battling superheroes. The standard unit will set you back $3,349 and comes with a three-year international warranty, so you'd better get buttering-up your procurement manager now.

Panasonic Toughbook H2 (2013)

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Panasonic Upgrades Toughbook® H2 Rugged Handheld Tablet PC

Improved processor, storage, battery life and connectivity advance productivity for mission-critical mobile professionals

Secaucus, NJ, May 15, 2013 – Panasonic, an industry leader in rugged, reliable mobile computers since 1996, today announced upgrades to the Panasonic Toughbook® H2, the industry's most rugged handheld tablet PC. The MIL-STD-810G1 and IP651 certified device includes a faster processor, expanded storage and other improvements, while retaining critical features to enhance usability and durability – including the ability to survive a 6-foot drop. With these upgrades, the Toughbook H2 delivers an improved return on investment for businesses with mobile workforces and greater performance for clinicians, field service workers, first responders and other mission-critical mobile professionals.

Panasonic Toughbook® H2: Key Improvements

Upgraded processor: Intel® Core™ i5-3427U (up to 2.8GHz) with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
Expanded storage: 500GB 7200rpm hard drive (shock-mounted flex-connect with hard drive heater) with optional 128GB SSD
Improved battery life: Twin, hot-swappable batteries deliver 7 hours of uninterrupted work per MobileMark 2007 testing
Enhanced connectivity: Intel® Advanced-N 6235 Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth® v4.0 + EDR (Class 1) standard on all models. Integrated wireless broadband options include 4G LTE or 3G Gobi™ and dedicated GPS

For a full list of Toughbook H2 specifications, visit http://www.panasonic.com/toughbook/H2.

"With its versatility, portability and sheer toughness, the Toughbook H2 is a critical tool for workers in diverse industries," said Kyp Walls, director of product management, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. "The improvements we're announcing only serve to increase its value in helping these workers stay efficient and productive, no matter where their jobs take them."

Flexible Functionality, Rugged Durability

The 3.5 lb. Toughbook H2 handheld tablet PC runs the Microsoft Windows® 7 Professional (32-bit or 64-bit) operating system and includes optional integrated technology such as barcode, fingerprint, insertable or contactless SmartCard/RFID readers. Further, with standard USB 3.0, serial, and Ethernet ports, connectivity is unparalleled in its class. Its 10.1-inch XGA LED transflective touchscreen with Panasonic CircuLumin™ technology allows for full circle viewability from the brightest sunlight to pitch darkness, and screen brightness can be adjusted from 6,000 nits to as low as 1 nit for concealed nighttime use for the safety of military and public safety users.

The Toughbook H2's polycarbonate-encased magnesium alloy chassis is built with an IP651 certified sealed all-weather design, and is MIL-STD-810G1 certified for drops up to 6 feet, shock, vibration, rain, dust, sand, altitude, freeze/thaw, high/low temperature, temperature shock, humidity and explosive atmospheres. A MIL-STD-461F certified model for electromagnetic compatibility is available.

Healthcare-Compliant Design

For healthcare environments, the Toughbook H2 has a fully-sealed design, with no fan vents or exposed ports, for easy disinfection, reducing the risk of potentially pathogenic microorganisms being spread from patient to patient. The device is a secure and intuitive platform for barcode medication administration (BCMA), vitals capture and electronic medical records (EMR) capture and review.

Pricing and Availability

In the United States, the Toughbook H2 is available from authorized Panasonic resellers starting at an estimated street price of $3,349.

The Toughbook H2 is backed with a three-year limited international warranty.

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Panasonic refreshes Toughbook H2 with faster processor, bigger storage and stronger shell