Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 brings a rugged exterior to the 7-inch tablet arena

Panasonic has announced a new addition to its Toughpad line of rugged and beefy tablets, this time opting for a 7-inch screen and Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit as the operating system.

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 runs on a fouth-generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, has 128GB of SSD storage and 8GB of RAM. Its 7-inch screen has a resolution of 1200 x 800, and it is coated so can be read in daylight.

The durability ratings for the tablet include the ability to withstand a 5ft drop and it is IP65 certified, being fully sealed and therefore completely waterproof. Panasonic also claims that this is the thinnest ruggedised tablet device yet, being just 18mm thick. It's also fairly light considering, weighing 544g.

Battery life is claimed to last for up to eight hours per charge.

There are a number of optional extras that can be added, including a stylus, dedicated GPS, barcode reader, NFC reader, SmartCard reader, 10-inch range RFID, magnetic strip reader and multicarrier embedded 4G LTE wireless connectivity.

It will be available from spring starting at $2,099 (£1,280).