Panasonic Toughbook FZ-55 – Casing, Connections, and Display
Panasonic Toughbook FZ-55 MK1 laptop in the test
Panasonic Toughbook FZ-55 –
A tough bone. With the latest 14-inch Toughbook, Panasonic has corrected many of the weaknesses of the previous model while still ensuring compatibility with the last generation of accessories.
The Panasonic Toughbook 55 MK1 is the direct successor to the Toughbook 54 MK3, which we tested last year. It offers some changes, including new IP certifications and better hardware. The housing remains essentially unchanged.
The lists of differences between the two generations and the features supported are long, as Panasonic itself points out in the comparison tables below. As part of this review, we will deal with the most critical aspects of the Toughbook 55, including display, performance, and battery life. The device competes directly against other rugged laptops intended for industrial or outdoor use, such as the Dell Latitude 7424 Ruggedand the Getac S410.
The appearance of the case, which completesby a magnesium alloy, has hardly changed since the Toughbook 54 – even the dimensions of the two models are almost identical. The surfaces and hinges are still firm and more stable than those of any consumer laptop.
In contrast to the older Toughbook 54, which trains with a full-size SD card reader, the Toughbook 55 uses a smaller and slower spring-loaded microSD card reader. Panasonic claims the slightly different dimensions of the new design are partly responsible for the switch to this smaller SD card reader. The transfer rates are still reasonable and are around 80 MB / s with our UHS-II card.
The Intel 9560 module is an improvement over the Intel 8265 in the previous model. It supports both WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5. Strangely, our test device could only connect to 802.11n networks and not to our 802.11ac network. That has never happened to us in other laptops equipped with the same Intel 9560 module.
The maintenance of the SATA bay and the batteries is relatively easy, as only a few latches have to unbolt. However, access to the RAM or the M.2 slots requires a Phillips screwdriver. Each SODIMM slot supports modules up to 32 GB; the device thus has a maximum capacity of 64 GB
Accessories and maintenance
The device is compatible with all accessories developed for the Toughbook 54. Panasonic gives the laptop a three-year guarantee.
A new feature of the Toughbook 55 is its removable keyboard, which users can replace if necessary, much like many ThinkPad laptops do. The keys have relatively soft feedback compared to most consumer and business laptops, and the typing experience largely corresponds to the keyboard of the Toughbook 54. It’s a shame that the arrow keys are still minor and close together.
We want to point out that, according to Panasonic, once the keyboard has removed from the case, it must be disposed of and replaced with a new one.
The Toughbook 55 uses an unusual InfoVision-M140NWF5-R3-IPS touchscreen panel. Exceptionally few laptops refortified with InfoVision panels – one of them is the Lenovo Yoga 530-14IKB, which has an InfoVision-M140NWF5-R2 panel installed.
The most outstanding feature of the display is its exceptionally high brightness. Panasonic advertises a brightness of 1,000 cd / m², and we can confirm this value with our measurements. The display’s weaknesses are the slow black and white response times and the limited color space. Fortunately, these aspects shouldn’t bother the industrial target audience any further.
Other weaknesses, such as the medium to solid backlight bleeding, the pulse width modulation, and the relatively grainy display (see below), could be a bit more annoying. The PWM frequency is up to 99 percent at 694 Hz at every brightness level, which could potentially be a problem for users who are sensitive to flickering screens. The grainy display is probably due to the thick, matte overlay, which better protects the screen from damage
The Intel U processor design for applications that require little power. At the same time, the optional AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 GPU should offer enough power for graphically intensive applications with video playback, recording, or even to be able to support lightweight CAD software. LatencyMon shows problems with DPC latencies even with deactivated WLAN, which is regrettable for a device aimed at working people.
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