Panasonic's semi-rugged Toughbook 55 has a modular design, 4G LTE, and more

Today, Panasonic announced what it's calling the "worker's best friend", the Toughbook 55. It's a semi-rugged laptop that has a ton of features designed for workers in the field, such as 4G LTE connectivity. And of course, that LTE comes with support for FirstNet Band 14, which is dedicated to public safety and first responders.

What's interesting about the Toughbook 14 is its modular design. Panasonic is selling separate expansion packs which can be easily swapped out of the PC. You can pack it out with two batteries, so that one can be hot-swapped without ever powering down the device. The larger expansion bay can be used for an optical drive, a dedicated GPU, or a secondary SSD. Other expansion packs include a fingerprint sensor, I/O ports, and more.

"Each year, we spend hundreds of hours with customers across industries so that we can anticipate the trajectory of their digital transformations and best support them throughout," said Brian Rowley, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America. "The TOUGHBOOK 55 is shaped by our customers’ voice and delivers the customization, modularity, extended battery life and configurations they need today and tomorrow. The next chapter of mobile technology is not how well rugged devices withstand extreme work environments -- something TOUGHBOOK has proven over three decades -- but how rugged mobility facilitates an evolving business climate."

The 14-inch display goes up to 1,000 nits, making it easy to see in the toughest of conditions, and it also goes all the way down to two nits, the minimum for night vision. It's necessary to pass the first MIL-STD-810H test, which is the successor to MIL-STD-810G. In fact, Panasonic says that it's the first to use MIL-STD-810H.

The Toughbook 55 includes Intel's eighth-generation 'Whiskey Lake' processors, up to 2TB of storage, and 64GB RAM. Both the SSD and the RAM are easily upgradeable, as are pretty much all parts of the Windows 10 Pro PC. The bottom of the machine has a bunch of panels that can either be removed with a switch (expansion bays, SSD), or the removal of one or two screws (RAM, etc.).

The Panasonic Toughbook 55 is available now, starting at $2,099.

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