The Panasonic Ruggedbook U1 Ultra offers a really unique mobile computing experience, with extremely compact package and the full versatility of Windows 7. Based on a highly efficient processor, the Intel Atom Z530 1.6GHz processor, the highly durable tablet fields ergonomic and purposeful design; that’s easy to carry, hold and use. It weighs only 2.5 pounds, and its dual-battery configuration can offer 9 hours of uninterrupted use. Panasonic’s tablet is not only light and compact; it also offers a documentation camera for built-in data capture technology. Available wireless connectivity options are Gobi2000 mobile broadband and GPS. The 5.6” display is equipped with resistive digitizer and it handles reflection well, allowing operators to use the tablet under bright sunlight. The Toughbook U1 Ultra is appropriate for people who work where things may spills and drop.
The tablet is made to take some abuse and punishment. It has magnesium-plastic case with IP65 sealed all-weather design. It can easily survive a 6 feet drop onto a hard surface and based on the MIL-STD-801G certification, it may resist vibration, dust, spill and rain. The “drop specification” is important because the tablet is intended to be used by workers in a standing position, which make accidents inevitable.
There are a few caveats of course, though the physical keyboard is useful, it still requires a good deal of getting used to. While it has a sharp and bright display, it is still too small to fully accommodate the huge desktop version of Windows 7. Performance is adequate, however you may often wish for some more as there are moments when the low-powered chip has a difficult time keeping up with video playback, camera and others. Also, while built-in features such as broadband, scanning and wireless work great, the camera is rather marginal.
Using the Toughbook U1 Ultra requires adapting, learning, understanding as well as a few sacrifices. But with the full Windows 7 implementation, the Toughbook U1 Ultra can go to places where many tablets, including the iPad, can’t.