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Panasonic Toughbook 31 packs Core i3, i5 processors, tough inside and out

Joanna Stern
05.11.10
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You know what we could always go for? A really good rugged laptop drop, and that's exactly what we got tonight at the launch of the Toughbook 31. Panasonic not only flung its newest 13.1-inch fully-rugged portable off the stage, but also off the deck of the USS Intrepid. Oh, and you guessed it, Windows XP still booted after the 20-foot drop onto the pavement. While that may seem like all there is to the MIL-STD-810G certified, magnesium alloy laptop, it has got the internal strength to match. It will be available with Intel Core i3 / i5 processor options, a choice of 250GB or 160GB shock-mounted hard drives and ATI discrete graphics...did we mention it also has a touchscreen that's viewable at wide angles, outdoors, and with night-vision goggles? We got to play around with the 8-pound system for a bit, and lived to tell that the thing is truly a beast of a machine. The ports can be sealed shut with a rubber coating -- seriously, it took quite some effort to get to the HDMI port -- and the screen can be locked with an aluminum latch when you want to carry it with the metal handle. But sadly, durability has it price -- the Core i3 version starts at $3,799 and should be available immediately. Not willing to shell out that sort of cash just to throw your laptop out a window? At least you have the pictures and video below.

Gallery: Panasonic Toughbook 31 hands-on | 18 Photos




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PANASONIC UNVEILS THE TOUGHBOOK® 31 – THE MOST POWERFUL FULLY-RUGGED MOBILE COMPUTER
Enhanced computing capabilities, screen brightness and battery life with unrivaled durability


Secaucus, NJ, May 12, 2010 – Panasonic Solutions Company, manufacturer of durable, reliable Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computers, today introduced the Panasonic Toughbook 31, the most powerful fully-rugged notebook computer on the market. With an Intel® Core™ i5 or i3 processor, 1,100 nit touchscreen display and rugged certifications beyond MIL-STD-810G and IP65, the new device enables superior data access and productivity for any mobile professional facing extreme environments. These professionals include first responders, military personnel, and field workers in industries such as telecommunications, utilities and energy.

Desktop-Class Performance in a Fully-Rugged Notebook

The Toughbook 31 is the sixth generation of flagship Toughbook clamshell notebooks, which have become the gold standard of rugged computing over the past 14 years, boasting the lowest failure rates in the industry. Now, powered by a new Intel® Core™ i5 or i3 processor, the Toughbook 31 offers desktop-class performance alongside world-class reliability. The availability of discrete graphics from an ATI Radeon™ HD 5650 card also delivers significant improvements in 3D graphics, important for GIS and other graphic-rich applications.

The Toughbook 31 continues Panasonic's tradition of delivering no-compromise, reliable computing for mission critical users. Additional processing power using the Core i5 is made possible by a unique new hybrid cooling system that keeps the internal temperature down while still maintaining optimal protection from liquids, dust and other environmental hazards. The Toughbook 31 provides unrivaled ruggedness and shock protection, and is certified to MIL-STD-810G and beyond. The notebook is protected from drops of up to six feet and has achieved an IP65 rating for unparalleled protection from water and dust.

"The Toughbook 31 combines the best of three worlds – mobility, performance and ruggedness," said Erik Reid, mobile client marketing director, Intel Corporation. "This is achieved by combining the high performance of the Intel® Core™ i5 and i3 Processor technology with the ruggedness of the Panasonic design which enables users to perform compute intensive applications in almost any kind of conditions."

Brighter Touchscreen, Long Battery Life

The Toughbook 31 includes a 13.1-inch XGA LCD touchscreen and is available with Panasonic CircuLumin™ technology, allowing for full-circle viewability from the brightest sunlight to pitch darkness. The notebook features the brightest standard screen available, at 1,100 nits, but can drop as low as 2 nits for concealed nighttime use which is critical to the safety of military and public safety users.

By leveraging Panasonic's advanced battery technology, the Toughbook 31 offers up to 11 hours of battery life despite its brighter screen and more powerful processor. New LED backlighting generates lower power consumption and delivers superior performance in cold weather. Charging time has been significantly reduced as well: the battery fully charges up to 47 percent faster than its predecessor, the Toughbook 30.

Extensive Embedded Mobile Broadband Options

Panasonic has over 14 years experience designing embedded wireless products to provide customers with superior mobile connectivity and throughput. The Toughbook 31, like all Toughbook mobile computers, helps maximize mobile productivity through a variety of embedded wireless technologies. Each device combines Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth® v2.1 +EDR, with an option for WiMAX capability and Gobi2000™ mobile broadband technology from Qualcomm. Gobi simplifies complex multi-carrier wireless deployments for IT departments and allows improved connectivity options for mobile employees traveling at home or abroad. By combining embedded mobile broadband technology with the Toughbook 31's new optional built-in webcam, workers can easily transmit video in real-time from anywhere back to their field office or dispatch.

"As richer data becomes more available to first-responders and field workers, greater computing power is needed without sacrificing ruggedness," said Rance M. Poehler, president, Panasonic Solutions Company. "Like all of our products, the Toughbook 31 was designed based on vast customer input because the performance of each device is mission-critical. The Toughbook 31 is the first device of its kind to perfectly blend performance and durability. It combines the speed of a desktop computer with the reliability of a rugged mobile computer, helping end-users work with richer data in a variety of challenging environments. The no-compromise approach of Panasonic's engineers enables us to deliver the industry's best display with the long battery life our customers have always valued."

Platform Stability Lowers TCO
In accordance with customers' requests, the Toughbook 31 maintains a platform footprint virtually identical to past flagship products. This marks 11 consecutive years of consistent vehicle docking capabilities, allowing customers to upgrade Toughbook computers without replacing vehicle docks, and significantly lowering the total cost of ownership.

The Toughbook 31 also supports numerous security features, including options for an insertable SmartCard reader and fingerprint reader, using biometrics to protect mission-critical data.

Panasonic Toughbook 31: Select Features and Specifications


Choice of three models
Intel® Core™ i5-540M CPU 2.53GHz with vPro™ (with Turbo Boost up to 3.07GHz)
250GB HDD, ATI Radeon™ HD5650 & Intel QM57 video controller
Intel Core i5-520M CPU 2.40GHz with vPro (with Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz)
160GB HDD, Intel QM57 video controller
Intel Core i3-350M CPU 2.26GHz
160GB HDD, Intel HM55 video controller
Genuine Windows 7® (with XP downgrade option)
13.1" XGA LCD touchscreen
Panasonic CircuLumin™ technology (1,100 nits, AR, AG and Circular Polarizer*)
LED backlighting
Concealed mode – turns off or dims screen, all LED lights and sound with touch of one button
2GB RAM (DDR3 -1066MHz), expandable to 8GB
7.9 lbs (with light weight battery on i3 model), 8.2 lbs. (with long life battery on i5 models)
11.5" (L) x 11.9" (W) x 2.9" (H)
Fully-rugged
MIL-STD-810G (6 foot drop) and IP65-certified
Full Magnesium alloy case
Spill-resistant
Hybrid cooling system
Reinforced locking port covers
Shock-mounted flex-connect HDD with quick-release
Up to 11 hours battery life
Long Life Battery Pack (i5 CPU models)
7 hours battery life
Lightweight Battery Pack (i3 CPU model)
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2*
Embedded Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 a*/b/g/n
Bluetooth® v2.1 + EDR
Optional Gobi™ mobile broadband
3-year limited warranty, parts and labor
Interfaces
Port replicator
External video (HDMI, VGA)
Headphones/speaker
Microphone/line-in
Serial
USB 2.0 x 4
SD card (SDHC)
PC card
ExpressCard
10/100/1000 Ethernet
Optional 2nd 10/100 LAN* or Modem or FireWire
Optional integrated features
Webcam*
GPS receiver
Backlit keyboard (emissive or rubber)
SmartCard reader
Fingerprint reader
HDD and battery lock

*On i5 CPU models only
Pricing and Availability

The Panasonic Toughbook 31 will be available worldwide starting May 12, 2010. In the United States, the Toughbook 31 is expected to be available starting at an estimated street price of $3,799 from authorized Panasonic resellers.

The Toughbook 31 includes a full three-year limited warranty, parts and labor, providing coverage wherever the unit may be deployed.

Gobi is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated.
About Panasonic Solutions Company

Panasonic Solutions Company empowers people whose jobs depend on reliable technology. Panasonic Solutions delivers collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within the company's portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computing solutions, projectors, professional displays (including both plasma and LCD), and HD video acquisition and production solutions. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic is known for the reliability and longevity of its products. Panasonic Solutions Company is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

All brand and company/product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies. All specifications are subject to change without notice. Information on Panasonic's full line of products can be obtained by calling 877- 803-8492 or at www.panasonic.com/business-solutions.

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