There was a time when the word "tablet" invoked an entirely different vision, of keyboards and hinges and people working on stuff and, well, not this. The Toughbook C1, Panasonic's 2000s-style 12.1-inch rugged convertible tablet, remembers those days well.
That's not to say that the C1 is overly bulky, or necessarily outdated—its spec sheet suggests the opposite, listing its dimensions at a surprisingly thin 1.2-1.7 inches and its weight at a reasonable 3.2lbs, making it the "world's lightest" 12.1-inch convertible tablet. Behind the keyboard you'll find a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5, 2GB (expandable) of DDR3 RAM, a 250GB shock-resistant hard drive, and optional EV-DO or HSPA data. Battery life claims fall at 5 and 10 hours for the single and dual battery options, respectively, while the whole assemblage is tied together by Windows 7, or optionally, XP. The casing is, like every other Toughbook, water-resistant and just short of bulletproof. And lastly, the trackpad is circular, because why the hell not?
Anything beyond a superficial comparison to the new generation of slate-style tablets would be misguided, because this is a decidedly workmanlike device. It has multitouch in the same way that other Windows 7 tablets and notebooks have multitouch, which is to say, er, technically. It comes with a stylus. Under the hood, it's pure laptop. And then there's the matter of price: The Toughbook C1 will start at $2500. Not that this matters, since most of the people who use one will probably have it issued and expensed, but still: $2500! Ship date falls sometime in June. [Panasonic]