We've seen Panasonic's 20-inch 4K tablet before, first at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, then at a Panasonic convention in France. Prototypes finished with the resulting Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 - a name that rolls off the tongue - will be ready to buy from November.
But this isn't a consumer tablet, it's for professional use - installations, architects' studios or other such places where touch-responsive super-high-resolution is a must. That 3840 x 2560 resolution screen will set you back around £4,500 after all (nearer £3,800 minus VAT, business heads).
The latest version of the tablet looks rather different from the earlier version. The silver-like rear of the tablet, which made the back of the older version hot to the touch, has been replaced by a new material that didn't feel so blistering.
What that material is, we're not entirely sure - we've not yet been provided with information about it and our Panasonic rep at the IFA show couldn't shed any more light on our queries either. Looks like some kind of tough woven resin. Although the new finish is good for size, weight and practicality we're not sold on its stripey patterning, particularly to the front edge. It's a bit busy on the eyes.
But this brings benefits: the 4K Toughpad weighs in at just 2.4kgs all in - not too heavy, given that plenty of smaller-screen laptops weigh just as much or more - and wasn't a problem to hold at all. It would even work on the lap, although we suspect a desk or easel-mounted position is more likely.
The Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 runs Windows 8 and feels much like any other Windows 8 tablet. But in the hands of a developer it could be locked out from the system to run specific applications: we were shown a mock-up example as if the tablet was being used in a museum space, complete with touch controls and pinch-to-resize samples to see close-ups of paintings and rotational 3D models of exhibits.
As before, the body handles an
1.8Ghz processor with 16GB of RAM and a for storage. Plenty of power then. Add an SD card slot, front-facing camera for interactive possibilities, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support and there are plenty of options available with this pro-spec slate.
Even if it's aimed at the professionals (and perhaps the well-off), we think this Toughpad is a lot of fun, if only to see what companies are doing with the latest technologies.