Panasonic has refreshed its rugged Toughbook 31 with an Intel Broadwell processor. Overall the updgraded laptop offers longer battery life, a "significant" increase in performance over the previous model, faster Wi-Fi and enhanced features to withstand extreme environments. However the new model seems to have no discrete graphics options, it is advertised with Intel HD 5500 graphics only.
The Toughbook 31 battery life, away from the mains, has been improved to 18 hours (or up to 27 hours with an optional second battery) from the 14.5-hour rating of last year's model, according to the maker. Under the hood, there is a new 5th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor (3MB cache, 2.3GHz-2.9GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology), Intel HD Graphics 5500, and either Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 pro 64-bit. Connectivity wise, the laptop now supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band to offer faster Wi-Fi with a compatible router.
Looking at the rugged specs of the laptop, the Toughbook 31 meets both IP65 and MIL-STD-810G specifications, and is designed to withstand a 6-foot drop. In addition, it carries over features from previous Toughbook models including a shock-mounted, flex-connect quick-release hard drive, a sunlight-viewable touchscreen and a full magnesium alloy case with handle. The unit measures 11.5 (L) X 11.9 (W) X 2.9 (H) inches, or 29.21 X 30.23 X 7.37 cm, and weighs in at 7.9 pounds (3.58 kg) with the optional second battery.
Other hardware specifications include 4GB to 16GB of DDR3L-1600RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM HDD with integrated heater, SSD options (128GB to 512GB), a 13.1-inch display with a 1024x768 resolution, an optional backlit keyboard, USB 3.0 (x1) and USB 2.0 (x3) ports, and GbE LAN.
Customers will be able to upgrade without having to replace their existing vehicle docks as the new Toughbook 31 is compatible with those used for previous Toughbooks. The rugged laptop will be available in February with prices starting at $3,699 (about £2,500). Panasonic offers a three-year limited warranty with the purchase.