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First look: Panasonic’s new Toughbook 40 Windows 11 laptop is so rugged your floor is scared of it

The new Panasonic Toughbook 40 for 2022.
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)
  • Panasonic Connect just announced its latest Toughbook, the Toughbook 40.
  • The new laptop is fully rugged, meeting MIL-STD-810H, MIL-STD-461H, C1D2, and IP66 ratings.
  • The Windows 11 PC is aimed at law enforcement departments, federal agencies, and utility companies.
  • The Toughbook 40 goes on sale this spring with a starting price of $4,899.

Panasonic, now known as Panasonic Connect, is no stranger to making the world’s most rugged laptops. Indeed, we’ve already reviewed the Toughbook G2, Toughbook 33, and the semi-rugged Toughbook 55. But what the company was missing in its lineup was a modern, fully rugged Windows 11 PC that also adopts its new xPAK modular strategy.

Today, Panasonic is fixing that gap in its lineup with the new Toughbook 40. It’s a massive, 7.4lb (3.37kg) 14-inch Windows 11 PC that is likely the most rugged laptop on the planet. Aimed at military use, federal agencies, law enforcement, fire/rescue, and utility companies, the Toughbook 40 can withstand multiple 6-foot drops and meet rigorous MIL-STD-810H, MIL-STD-461H, C1D2, and IP66 ratings.

OSWindows 11 Pro
ProcessorIntel Core i5-1145G7 vPro
Intel Core i7-1185G7 vPro
RAMUser-upgradeable up to 64GB (2 DIMMs)
DDR4-3200MHz
GraphicsIntel Iris Xe or UHD
AMD Dedicated GPU (optional)
StorageMain: 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB quick-release OPAL NVMe with heater
Optional 2nd: 512GB or 1TB quick-release, OPAL, SATA
Display14" full HD (1920x1080) capacitive gloved touch
1 to 1,200 nits with anti-reflective treatment
Ports1x Thunderbolt 4, 2x Type-A, microSD, HDMI 4K, Ethernet, audio in/out
Optional/additional: 2x Type-A, HDMI, VGA, RJ-45, Series (True) D-sub 9-pin
AudioTetra-array microphone
Top-facing dual 95db speakers
WirelessBluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Optional: 4G (LTE, LTE-A), 5G (Sub6, C-band, mmWave)
Satellite GPS and DBRS Band 48 capable
Camera5MP full HD with IR and privacy shutter
SecurityWindows Hello
Secured-core PC, TPM v2.0, NIST BIOS compliant
Persistence technology by Absolute, Secure Wipe, Kensington
Battery18 hours (36 w; opt. 2nd battery)
10.8V, 6500mAh
Dimensions11.9"(L) x 13.9"(W) x 2.1"(H)
Weight7.4lbs (3.36kg)
AvailabilitySpring 2022
PriceStarting at $4,899

From the outside, the Toughbook 40 looks like most other Toughbooks: You get a magnesium alloy chassis with a handle, lots of ports, and a familiar design. But where the Toughbook 40 veers from the Toughbook 55 is thickness and size, coming in at 2.1-inches thick (53.3mm). By comparison, that’s almost five Samsung Galaxy Book S laptops (11.8mm) stacked on top of each other.

All that size, however, is put to good use. Like more recent Toughbooks, the Toughbook 40 adopts Panasonic’s new xPAK modular technology. The concept behind xPAK is simple: Four multiple bays can house swappable expansion abilities like adding a Smart Card Reader, DVD drive, or barcode reader. Customers can also repair or replace the battery, memory, storage, and keyboard with a simple screwdriver.

With xPAK, customers can buy this laptop, use it for the next five years, and never have to send it in for repairs or upgrades. It should be no surprise that the xPAK feature has been an enormous success.

Craig Jackowski, GM of Product Management at Panasonic Connect North America, noted in the press release:

"The TOUGHBOOK team is laser-focused on supporting the mission-critical jobs of our customers who work in the most extreme environments, and the new TOUGHBOOK 40 provides them with the perfect balance of performance, modularity, durability and innovation … This is our most rugged TOUGHBOOK laptop ever and it was designed and engineered uniquely for customers across the enterprise, public sector and federal agencies, leveraging their direct feedback and experience to provide a world-class solution combining hardware, software, accessories and professional services. With up to eight user-replaceable and upgradeable areas, the TOUGHBOOK 40 combines power, ruggedness and flexibility to elevate the customer experience now and into the future.”

To always be connected, customers can add on 4G (LTE, LTE-A) and 5G (mmWave, C-band, Sub6) to the Toughbook 40. It also supports both a physical SIM and eSIM.

Powering this beefy laptop is either a Core i5-1145G7 vPro or Core i7-1185G7 vPro Intel processor with Iris Xe graphics. Customers can add AMD graphics, too, if they require a bit of extra power. While Intel 12th Gen is coming out, unfortunately, the Intel vPro versions aren’t likely to drop until later this fall, which didn’t line up with Panasonic’s release schedule.

The new Panasonic Toughbook 40 for 2022.

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

And no worries about battery life. The Toughbook 40 can reportedly hit 36 hours of longevity with the optional secondary battery onboard.

Everything else about the Toughbook 40 is very familiar. A 14-inch full HD touch display with AR supports glove use and can hit a massive 1,200 nits of brightness. Dual top-firing 95dB speakers. There is a new 5MP full HD webcam with Windows Hello IR and a privacy shutter. And for ports, there are plenty of those, including Thunderbolt 4, Type-A (x2), microSDXC, HDMI 4K, Ethernet RJ-45, and a headphone/mic. Customers can add additional ports like Type-A (x2), a second HDMI, VGA, second RJ-45, or Series (True) D-sub 9 pin.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing some benchmarks and more on the Toughbook 40 to see how it stacks up to the others in the Toughbook line. So far, however, it’s quite the experience with a magnificent touch display and excellent keyboard.

The Toughbook 40 is available for purchase in late spring, with MSRP starting at $4,899. For complete product details and to learn more about the lineup of accessories, please visit na.panasonic.com/TOUGHBOOK40.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.