Panasonic gets tough on the Toughpad, adds hot swap battery, new features to the FZ-G1

Panasonic has updated its Windows 8.1-powered Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet, adding in a new battery bridge mode to keep the device up and running, along with some other general improvements too. Introduced at CES earlier in 2014, the Toughpad isn’t aimed at the person trying to decide between a Nexus 7 and a Kindle Fire, but at professional users who will be using it for their jobs.

The company is hyping up the new battery bridge system on the FZ-G1, which lets users to “hot swap” batteries on the go, changing out the standard 10-hour cell for either another one, or the optional 20-hour long life battery, without powering down the tablet. A matter of convenience for you and me, but a potentially essential feature if it’s displaying blueprints for the building you’re working on.

Panasonic has ensured the Toughpad lives up to its name, and that it isn’t afraid to hang out on building sites. The shell meets IP65 water and dust proofing standards, and military-grade shock, temperature, humidity, and vibration resistance. Among the other new features is the option to add in a UHF RFID reader, and a contact-less smartcard reader. Later this summer, Panasonic will produce a self-encrypting drive for the Toughpad.

The Toughpad now ships with the most recent 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 Pro, or if you’d prefer, there’s the option to downgrade to Windows 7 Professional — although there are many that wouldn’t consider this a “downgrade” at all. A new Intel Core i5 Pro processor powers the tablet, and there is an 8-megapixel camera on the rear. The 10.1-inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel screen remains the same, but it has been given 10-point gloved multitouch, and the ability to work in wet conditions.

If thoughts of a Nexus 7 have been replaced with the Toughpad FZ-G1, you’re going to have to spend a little more money to get one in your hands. It costs $2,600, and is available from Panasonic right now.