Panasonic 4K tablet review: Hands-on

The Panasonic 4K tablet is due to hit the shops in 2013

What is a hands on review?
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The Panasonic 4K tablet, which runs on Windows 8, was unveiled alongside a 4K OLED TV, and is aimed squarely professionals such as photographers and architects. While it may be out of reach for most of us mere mortals, it's still an interesting piece of kit - here's what we thought...

Panasonic 4K tablet: Size and build

The tablet is a chunky beast, so it's not something you're likely to be casually chucking into your man bag too often. The metallic back panel gives the tablet a premium finish, while the white plastic bezel on the front gives it the look of a giant iPad.

Weighing in at 2.2kg, it's not for weaklings and it's certainly not intended for one-handed use. Even two-handed use seems a tad optimistic, given its gargantuan proportions (474.98 x 332.74 x 12.7mm). This is a gadget that you're more likely to lay flat, or tilted on a drawing board-style stand.

Panasonic 4K tablet: Features

The tablet packs an Intel Core i5 3427U vPro processor, clocking in at a speedy 1.8GHz, and you'll also get the benefit of an Nvidia GeForce graphics processor.

There's only 4GB of built-in memory plus 128GB on SSD and there's also a micro SD card slot for topping up the capacity.

Connections are limited to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a USB 2.0 and there's also a Digital Pen stylus, similar to those that come with Wacom's graphics-focused tablets.

According to Panasonic, you'll get up to two hours of battery life, which doesn't sound like much for a tablet, but then the 4K screen is sure to be pretty power hungry.

Panasonic 4K tablet: Screen

The massive 20-inch screen is LED backlit, so it's nice and bright and colours pop out, which is obviously good news for the design pros and shutterbugs. The 3840x2560-pixel resolution means that photos are packed with detail, even when zooming in.

The screen ratio is slightly odd 15:10, but then at 16:9, this monster tablet would be probably just that little bit too unwiedly.

We weren't bowled over with the Windows 8-toting Microsoft Surface tablet, but maybe the Panasonic's larger screen, and keyboard-less design will prove to be a better fit for Microsoft's new touchscreen-friendly OS.

Panasonic 4K tablet: Verdict

The Panasonic 4K tablet is a stunning piece of kit, but it's likely to have a very niche market. May design pros who need a big high-res screen will likely 'make do' with the infinitely more portable 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina. For those on photo shoots, or maybe architects showing off floor plans it may well be a useful tool, but it's not likely to come cheap.

Panasonic is remaining tight-lipped when pushed on the subject of price, but it's going to be the most expensive tablet around when it finally appears (assuming that nothing similar surfaces in the meantime). Hopefully we'll manage to get our mitts on one again later in the year...

Panasonic 4K tablet release date: 2013

Panasonic 4K tablet price: TBC

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.