September has been a busy month for Panasonic's ruggedized notebook line up. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had the Toughbook 19 convertible tablet PC; now it's time for Panasonic's new flagship to show off its sturdy, sturdy exterior.
The new Toughbook 31 builds upon the company's damage-resistant lineup by adding Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors (sorry, Intel, "4th Generation Core", right?). Inside of the new 31 is an Intel Core i5-3360M (systems start at the Core i3-3110M) clocked at 2.8GHz. These ruggedized laptops are no longer limited to the low-power chips of yesteryear.
Core i5 models are eligible for higher storage options, including a 500GB 7200RPM HDD with a shock-mounted flex connect, quick release and hard drive heater. Entry models start at 4GB, but Panasonic offers up to 8GB. Thanks to native Ivy Bridge support, USB 2.0 has been replaced by the much speedier USB 3.0.
In addition to a new CPU, Panasonic is promising a whopping 14.5 hours of battery life (according to MobileMark 2007) on the new platform. With an optional media bay battery, you can increase that up to 21 hours, for an almost full day of use.
Wireless connectivity includes 802.11a/b/g/n, and optional 3G and 4G LTE. There are promised improvements to the touch sensitivity of the Toughbook 31's 13.1-inch display (still only a regrettable 1024x768).
Of course, for all of that mil-spec goodness, you can expect to pay a substantial fee - the Toughbook 31 starts at $3,499, but it does come with a three-year limited international warranty.