Panasonic has unveiled a refreshed Toughbook 31. While the company has retained the same rugged exteriors of its flagship laptop, customers can expect more power brought to them by a faster processor and battery life that can exceed 24 hours.
On Monday, Jan. 26, Panasonic announced the new Toughbook 31, which can last up to 18 hours on a single charge on its main battery and can extend up to 27 hours with a second optional battery for power users. Of course, the exact battery life depends on individual users and the tasks performed. Naturally, battery-intensive activities such as video streaming and online conferencing will consume more juice than emailing and editing documents.
The Toughbook 31 also runs on the fifth-generation 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz based on Intel's Broadwell microarchitecture, which is claimed to be more energy-efficient than Intel's Haswell processors. Intel claims the new Broadwell chip alone is responsible for extending the battery life of the Toughbook 31 for a full hour when watching high-definition movies.
The only other two laptops that can live up to at least 20 hours of battery life are Dell's XPS 13, which Dell says can last up to 22 hours on the second battery, and Lenovo's ThinkPad X250, which touts up to 20 hours, also with two batteries. Both laptops were introduced during last month's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The massive battery life does come with its limitations. The Toughbook 31 is one huge slab of metal to lug around. At 2.9 inches thick and 7.9 pounds heavy (8.2 pounds with the optional second battery), the Toughbook 31 is certainly inconvenient to lug around.
However, this laptop is not made for the average user. Instead, Panasonic designed Toughbook 31 for professionals working in harsh environments, such as paramedics and construction workers. The 1,200-nit 13.1-inch touchscreen is coated with a polarizer and anti-reflective and anti-glare treatments so that users can see whatever is on the screen even when working directly under bright sunlight.
Like the previous Toughbooks, the latest version comes with the same durable magnesium case that can withstand six-foot drops, vibrations, shock and extreme temperature and is water and dust-resistant.
It also has a handle that makes carrying the laptop around easier. Panasonic says this continuity in design allows professionals and enterprises to upgrade more easily because they do not have to invest in new accessories, such as car mounts and docks, for the Toughbook 31.
Authorized Panasonic retailers will begin selling the Toughbook 31, which can run on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, for $3,699 in February. The price includes a three-year warranty from Panasonic.
The video below shows the Toughbook 31 going through the stages of Panasonic's ruggedness testing.