Panasonic’s new 3-in-1 rugged Toughpad set to benefit the transport and logistics market

Panasonic has today launched the world’s lightest fully rugged 3-in-1 handheld tablet, adding to its diverse portfolio of enterprise-grade mobile devices.

The Toughpad® FZ-N1 is unique to the Australian market and is designed to meet the increasing demands placed on workers in the transport and logistics industry, by boosting productivity while guarding against impacts on employees’ health.

The slim, lightweight and powerful handheld Panasonic Toughpad FZ-N1 is a 3-in-1 tool that combines the productivity benefits of a mobile barcode reader, phone and tablet into one fully-ruggedised device, built to protect against drops, heat and cold, vibration, dust and rain.

This launch follows the release of a Panasonic research study that reveals the health of UK mobile workers is suffering due to poorly designed mobile barcode scanners. It reported that over half (52%) of workers surveyed in the field suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury and 63% experience wrist or arm aches and pains.1

The Toughpad FZ-N1 has been specifically designed to overcome the similar operational and health challenges faced by Australian transport and logistics mobile workers.

In an industry worth nearly 9 per cent of GDP (almost $132 billion) in Australia which employs over one million people2, many businesses are seeking out technology advances as a key opportunity to reduce costs, increase speed and better service customers, while being mindful of staff health.

“These trends are being seen around the world and, fuelled by a boom in online spending3 and shipping volumes, some workers can be scanning hundreds of barcodes a day. Clearly technology must continue to innovate to support the productivity of Australian workers. It’s actually estimated that a 1 per cent increase in supply chain efficiency can deliver a $2bn2 benefit to Australia’s economy,” said Stuart Buxton, Senior Product Manager, Toughbook, Panasonic.

“The FZ-N1’s ergonomic angled barcode reader has been created for ease of use and has the potential to increase efficiency and at the same time provide greater comfort for workers. We’re in fact seeing ruggedised devices slashing field failure rates, raising productivity and lowering total costs of ownership compared to other commercial grade devices by over 15 per cent p.a.4

The new Toughpad is ideal for markets like transportation and logistics, manufacturing and retail, and is well suited for a wide variety of applications, such as inventory management, shipping and receiving, delivery routing and parcel tracking, and retail store queue busting.

Toughpad FZ-N1 purpose built features:

  • Angled barcode reader – The ergonomically designed, angled rear barcode reader allows the user to scan items without bending at the elbow or wrist while also being able to clearly read the screen. This purpose-built feature was designed to improve productivity and reduce the potential for repetitive strain injuries.
  • Full outdoor functionality – The Toughpad FZ-N1 has a daylight readable display and is built to withstand a 1.8 metre drop on concrete, and it even works with a wet screen or with gloves on. The device is fully sealed against dust and is submersible in 100cm of water for 30 minutes, meeting IP65 and IP67 certification requirements, plus it can withstand temperatures from below -100C to above +500C.
  • Android® Lollipop operating system – As the world’s lightest fully rugged handheld tablet, this 4.7” Android device features a quad-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor, delivering industry leading performance along with a purpose-built design and rugged credentials that live up to the brand’s heritage. The Panasonic FZ-N1 also gives companies the ability to develop in an open environment with thousands of enterprise grade applications at workers’ fingertips.
  • 4G phone connectivity – The FZ-N1 is also a full multi-carrier Band 28 4G LTE phone with dual SIM card support and up to 700 hours standby time. It comes with 100 decibel speakers with noise suppression and triple noise-cancelling microphones.
  • Military-certified toughness – It can operate in a wide range of environments and has passed a torturous tumble test that saw the device endure 2,000 consecutive 1m drops – so it can stand up to the trials of the most demanding enterprise and government usage environments.
  • Warm swappable battery – The tablet can operate beyond a typical 8-hour work shift on the standard, field replaceable battery, and with an optional extended life battery it can go well beyond two full work shifts. For times when a battery change is necessary during work hours, it can be accomplished while keeping the device operational. And when more power is needed, the quick charge capability delivers extended use after a one hour charge, with a full charge averaging only two hours.
  • Versatile optional accessories – A broad selection of accessories will be available for the Toughpad FZ-N1, including a vehicle dock, hand strap, single and multiple device cradles, multi-battery charger, passive and active stylus options and an extended life battery.

Buxton continued:

“Many handheld computer solutions in the market today are using an antiquated OS, are vastly underpowered and are larger and heavier than they need to be. The Toughpad FZ-N1 gives companies looking for an up-to-date, powerful, flexible and purpose-built solution, an excellent option that will improve efficiency, productivity and bottom-line performance for years to come.”

Key specifications

The handheld tablet will be available with dual SIM slots and certified on leading mobile carrier networks, providing 4G LTE/3G/GPRS/CDMA2000 mobile broadband for voice (or VoIP) and data. To ensure clear voice communication above industrial noise, the device is equipped with intelligent noise suppression capabilities and dual front speakers providing an astounding maximum volume of 100 decibels. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, near field communications (NFC), standalone and assisted GPS (A-GPS) and Bluetooth®, v4.1 (Class 1) are standard on both models.

Pricing and availability

The Android™-powered Toughpad FZ-N1 will be available in February priced at $2799rrp.

Key features

OSAndroid™ 5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Processor 2.3Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon
Memory & Storage 16GB, 2GB
Display 4.7" HD(1280x720)
Battery (standard) Continuous Operation: 8 hours, Standby: 700 hours and Talk time: 24 hours
Battery (Long life) Continuous Operation: 16 hours, Standby: 1,400 hours and
Talk time: 48 hours
Size & Weight 277 grams and 74mm (W) x 156mm (H) x 16.3mm (D)
Connectivity & I/OWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, GPS, Bluetooth® v4.1 (Class 1), micro USB

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1 Opinion Matters Research, 2015, commissioned by Panasonic Europe as “A Panasonic Toughpad Rugged Handheld Tablet Benchmark Test”
2 Australian Logistics Council, 2015, The Economic Significance of the Australian Logistics Industry
4 Venture Data Corporation, US, 2014