Not a smartphone: Panasonic 5-inch Toughpad FZ-E1 tablet (hands-on)

Join us as we take a look at the fully ruggedised slate from Panasonic that the company says is not a smartphone at all.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low

Panasonic Toughpad is half tablet, half tank
Watch this: Panasonic Toughpad is half tablet, half tank

Based on its specifications, you'd expect Panasonic's 5-inch Toughpad FZ-E1 to be a smartphone -- albeit a chunky looking one. That's not the case, however, as the company insists that the FZ-E1 is a tablet first and foremost.

Look: Windows Phone (not really). Aloysius Low/CNET

Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3GHz, the FZ-E1 runs the upcoming Windows Embedded Handset 8 operating system (meant for enterprise use), but with a Windows Phone 8 skin -- the OS has not been released, and Microsoft doesn't want to reveal how the UI looks like just yet. Panasonic assures me that you'll be able to run emulated Windows Phone apps.

Panasonic Toughpad tablets look a lot more like beefy smartphones (pictures)

See all photos

Unlike other 5-inch devices, the FZ-E1 doesn't bother to hide its ruggedised bulk. It's big, bold and will survive a drop from 3 meters without damage. The tablet can also survive underwater for 30 minutes at up a maximum depth of 1.5 meters.

You can drop this and hurt someone (most likely yourself). Aloysius Low/CNET

Inside, the tablet has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, LTE connectivity, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a hot-swappable 6,200mAh battery. This means you'll be able to take the battery out, swap it for a fresh one, and get back to what you were doing without having to reboot.

The FZ-E1 has a massive 6,200mAh battery. Aloysius Low/CNET

Meant for use in places such as warehouses, the FZ-E1 comes with a built-in barcode scanner that also doubles as a flashlight. THe FZ-E1 will launch in June with a retail price of around 130,000 Japanese Yen ($1,269).

Aloysius Low/CNET