Review Panasonic 20-inch 4K tablet

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For the last few weeks, I've been sitting every evening with 4 iPads on my lap at the same time, but in one impressive, 20-inch tablet from Panasonic. An A3 print with a higher Dmax than barite paper. A glossy photo magazine without staples. More pixels and the same resolution as the Retina screen of the biggest MacBook Pro. Is this a glance at the future? Or an innovative product that isn't going to make it? Is such a large tablet ideal for quality-conscious photographers and videographers? I think it is.

Review Panasonic 20-inch 4K tablet, Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5

What do I do with a 20-inch tablet?

With an Electronic Touch Pen, it's a terrific, large sketch pad.

The Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 is the world's first 20-inch tablet, with a screen on which you can view Ultra-HD/4K video. It seems big, but it wouldn't surprise me if we think a tablet of these dimensions is normal in a few years. It's the same size as an opened photo magazine.
A few years ago, I had my doubts about whether everyone would want to have a plasma-screen or LCD of a meter or more in their living rooms. What would I do with that? Do I really want a screen of a meter or more in my living room? I thought to myself. Yet big-screen TVs became common at lightning speed.

Tabletpen

The transition to a large tablet is even easier. It has no impact on the appearance of your living room. A tablet is stashed away when you're not using it. And because you view the tablet from closer by than a large screen, the viewing experience is just as overwhelming as a very large big-screen. The Panasonic Toughpad is an extra-solidly built tablet—hence, toughpad—weighing 2.35 kg and a bit more than one centimeter thick, which will be used in the field by employees of utility companies, in order to be able to view very detailed drawings in one glance. For the same reason, it is also interesting for photographers, I think: you have 8 megapixels in view at the same time, without scrolling, when you view a photo at real size. It is, thanks to the high resolution, not only beautiful to look at, but it also works better.
The Panasonic Electronic Touch Pen makes Photoshopping on a tablet familiar for everyone who is already accustomed to working with a Wacom tablet. Thanks to the size of the Toughpad, you can work accurately on the one hand, while you can maintain the overview.

Is 4K / Ultra HD interesting?

4KPanasonic

What's the use of 4K? you might be thinking. In the picture above, you can see that with 4K, you have twice as many pixels both horizontally and vertically as with full HD. In short: you get the beautifully sharp image of an iPhone, iPad or Retina screen of a MacBook Pro, but in a mature execution. That's not only interesting for video. Printed media is increasingly replaced by electronic media. Imagine what it's like to view a glossy photography magazine on a touchpad, with a higher contrast and practically the same high sharpness as a printed copy. That might sound like wishful thinking because there aren't that many qualitatively high-value books available in electronic form. There's no 4K TV yet either.

4Ktablet

Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 isn't alone

Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are convinced of the success of 4K and offer even more attractively priced TVs and cameras with 4K. Seen from a photographic viewpoint, it is not mysterious that all these companies would be convinced. Every photographer knows from experience that the difference in resolution between a 2-megapixel camera and an 8-megapixel camera is much greater than the difference between a 16-megapixel camera and a 24-megapixel camera. The step from full HD video to Ultra HD or 4K video is exactly like the step from 2 megapixels to 8 megapixels. Without being able to show you the difference, you have a pretty good idea, I think.

User experience with a 20-inch, 4K tablet

I cannot deny that I was not initially impressed by such a big tablet. But that changed for me quickly. For my girlfriend, it was different: she prefers a smaller tablet on her lap. The use of 4K is still in the early stages for some programs as well. It is, for example, not possible to increase the letter type or the icons in Adobe's Bridge, so that the icons are almost unworkable and the letters are terribly small. In Photoshop, the letters and icons can be enlarged under standard settings, on the "Experimental" tab. Apple has a better solution for now, but it will get better over time because it appears that 4K will also quickly become common.
The wireless internet connection in our house means that viewing 4K videos on YouTube wasn't always without hiccups, but that wasn't about the Toughpad. When I stored a video on the Toughpad and then played it, it went flawlessly. The extra image quality of 4K was quite addictive in my case. After I sent the review copy of the 20-inch Toughpad to Panasonic, I replaced my own monitor with a 4K screen.

Specifications Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5

  • Intel i5-3437U vPro™ 1,9-GHz processor
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • NVIDIA GeForce 745M graphics
  • 4K (3840 X 2560) ultra-high resolution, 230 ppi and 15:10 image ratio
  • 20-inch IPSα multi-touch display
  • Panasonic Electronic Touch Pen
  • 4 of 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD
  • 2.35 kg, 12.5 mm thick
  • Built-in USB 3.0 port, SDXC card slot, headphone connection and docking connector
  • HD-front camera
There are many photographers who take along a tablet when travelling in order to edit photos or videos, but for that the tablet is in my view a bit too big. For editing photos, the 4K UT-MB5 was enough. If you want to do heavy (4K) video editing on a 4K tablet, then a larger version (UT-MA6), with an Intel i7, Nvidia Quadro, 16-GB RAM and 256-GB SSD is available.

Conclusion Panasonic Toughpad 4K UT-MB5 review

Panatablet700

Pros

  • Big picture: like an open magazine
  • Beautiful picture: image quality of a glossy magazine
  • 4K video looks fantastic
  • Nice operation: no fiddling
  • Lots of extras: USB connection, operating with a pen is possible, optional docking station
  • Solidly built

Cons

  • Limited battery life
  • Viewing 4K video via internet hiccups sometimes
  • Big
  • Not inexpensive

Looking at the image quality, I was soon sold. 4K for me is no longer a question, but an exclamation.

Not everyone is happy sitting with a big book on their lap. I am. Even so, a 20-inch tablet on my lap initially felt like having a TV on my lap. You get used to it. Just like a laptop, a Toughpad also gives off heat. It's like having a cat on your lap, but bigger, flatter and lighter. Some users swear by a laptop, others by a touchpad. The screen of an iPad is also beautifully sharp, but quite small. The operation of a 20-inch tablet puts an end to the fiddling that you have to do on a smartphone or tablet. I also had to get used to typing on a 20-inch Toughpad since your arm stretches further.

The exceptionally high sharpness of the image comes close to that of a glossy magazine. And the dynamic range of a Toughpad is even greater than that of magazine. Viewing photos on a 20-inch tablet with 4K resolution couples the sharpness and contrast of a Retina screen with the format of an A3 print or a glossy magazine. For certainty, plug in the tablet at the beginning, because even a fully loaded battery will be empty in an hour. The photographer who meets a customer or potential client with a 4K portfolio on a Panasonic Toughpad will make an overwhelming impression with his work. That applies for both photos and video.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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