Panasonic Upgrades Toughbook 31 with Better Battery, Intel Processor

The design features a shock-mounted, flex-connect quick-release hard drive, sunlight-viewable touchscreen and a full magnesium alloy case with handle.

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Technology giant Panasonic announced updates to the Toughbook 31, its best-selling fully rugged laptop. The updated portable offers up to 18 hours of standard battery life and 27 hours with an optional second battery. It also has better connectivity and performance than the previous model.

Built on Intel’s Core i5-5300U vPro processor, the new version has been certified to meet 19 MIL-STD 810 G tests, including shock, drop, vibration, extreme temperature and altitude.

"Toughbook rugged laptops are built for professional use in the field, and our customers don’t have the luxury of stopping work to recharge their devices mid-shift," Anthony Mungiello, Toughbook product manager told eWEEK. "The Toughbook 31 is a critical tool for people in a variety of professions including public safety and utilities."

Mungiello noted that Toughbook laptops have been taken to Antarctica, Mt. Everest and on a trans-Atlantic expedition.

Another improvement is enhanced graphics with the Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics processor, which can be useful for geographic information system (GIS) and military logistics applications.

"Many of our users are performing sophisticated tasks in the field ranging from geographic information systems to video editing," Mungiello said. "Having the ability to do this work in the field eliminates the need to go back to the office, meaning workers can be more efficient with their time."

The Toughbook runs Windows 8.1 Pro Update 64-bit or Windows 7 Professional. It also maintains consistent vehicle docking capabilities with a platform footprint almost identical to past products. This allows customers to upgrade Toughbook computers without replacing vehicle docks.

The device is available next month from authorized Panasonic resellers. Pricing starts at around $3,699, and includes a standard three-year limited warranty.

"Toughbook devices have a higher sticker price, but they are purpose-built for long-term operation in the harshest environments and even in these settings, have a failure rate that is 6 times less than the industry average," Mungiello said. "Lower failure rates translate to less downtime, fewer repair expenses, less of the IT department’s time to support the laptop, and a lower overall total cost of ownership."