Panasonic’s 20-inch 4K resolution tablet appears to be much more than a proof of concept product – and it that demands attention, with four times more pixels than standard full HD. Announced to the world back at January's CES in Las Vegas, but annoyingly contained within a glass box, Panasonic's stunning technical achievement was handed to us for a proper hands-on at a trade convention in Nice, France.
It has an immediate disadvantage; its battery last for a mere two hours. If that could be a sticking point for some, its advanced technical superiority to every other tablet so far manufactured is undoubted. As well as its massive 3,840x2,560 resolution – which achieves an impressive 230ppi – this 15:10 aspect ratio tablet comes with an Intel i5 3427U vPro 1,8 GHz processor and between 4GB and 16GB RAM. Consequently, it runs Windows 8 Pro as smoothly as any tablet we've seen so far.
Packed with a 128GB SSD (there's a SDXC Card slot for expansion and photo insertion) graphics are handled by an NVIDIA GeForce chip, while there's a 720p rear camera. WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a USB 2.0 slot all feature.
Measuring a large, but surprisingly not too cumbersome-feeling 474.5x334x10.8mm, this 2.4kg tablet is nevertheless aimed at only professional users. “This is the world's first 4K 20-inch tablet, less then 11mm in depth,” said Mamoru Yoshida, Director at Panasonic, announcing the 4K tablet, “and it will be useful for photographers to view high resolution images, and to creators performing hands-on work.”
He's not wrong; we can imagine this going down a treat with designers, creative types and serious snappers because the pixel structure is virtually invisible. The viewing angle – thanks to the use of an IPS Alpha LCD panel – is very wide, too, while a few still images we inspected appeared rich in both contrast and colour as well as detail.
However, this monster tablet is at its best and most ambitious when handling enormous architectural drawings. During our demo we were able to seamlessly zoom-in on some plans for a building, with an Anoto Live pen – which uses a tiny top-loaded camera to navigate an infra-red pixel grid overlaying the panel – able to leave exactingly precise marks on the 10-point multi-touch panel. The marked-up document can then be exported.
Panasonic's 4K tablet is slated for a release late in 2013, although neither price nor launch date are confirmed, although by our guess is for Christmas - although don't consider its price to be anywhere near stocking filler territory.
Read more about 4K on Recombu Digital.