When Panasonic offered us a review unit of the new Toughbook S1 Android tablet, I was immediately interested. Not because I'm working in the IT department of a company with a massive warehouse or in the military watching drone footage, but because the Toughbook line is known for being, well, very tough. From Windows laptops to Android products, Toughbooks are designed to last in the harshest environments with high military durability ratings. As someone who has a tendency to break a lot of things, this device was instantly appealing to me.
The display on the Toughbook S1 is pretty bright, and should be good indoors. It's a 720p LCD display layered with plastic instead of glass. This is designed for durability and outdoor visibility. There's a selfie camera at the top alongside the device's only speaker and a few sensors. The back houses a large, protruding, warm-swappable battery and three removable plastic panels that can accommodate a series of attachments like an extra USB port or barcode scanner. This is really the most bulky part of the tablet. It almost looks unfinished, but that's just because of the modularity of the product.
The left side of the Toughbook S1 has the power button, volume controls, and USB-C port with sliding cover. On the right, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack with a water-resistant cover. This design and all the parts make the tablet feel very industrial and durable.
The software on this thing is pretty minimal. It's running basically stock Android with a few Panasonic Productivity+ features added throughout. It also offers apps for optional hardware features like the barcode reader, log sending, rapid configuration, wireless display, warm swappable battery, and more. Overall, it's pretty basic with just the essentials, since most things will be added while the device is being configured for its enterprise use.
You might have noticed I've mentioned this is for enterprise use quite a lot — that's because it is. This tablet will not be available publicly or to the consumer market. It's designed for industrial or military use. Panasonic tells us that it could be used to watch drones in the military, or for inventory management in industrial markets thanks to the optional barcode scanner. The software and hardware aren't meant to be used by general consumers, but to be customized to match the needs of the organization purchasing the devices.
I might not be an IT professional, so having me go over the features and connectivity within a professional environment is really not going to mean much. What I am is a college student with a tendency to break... everything. So while this is just my quick hands-on with the device, you can bet my full review is going to put this thing through its paces to see how tough the Toughbook S1 really is. Keep your eyes open for that.