Panasonic U1


Price: $3,499

Tested against moisture, drops, dust, vibrations and everything else you can think of, the U1 is designed for engineers, technicians, miners and other field workers to take into harsh conditions, and it lives up to each promise about its durability.

How comfortable it is to use is another matter. It’s designed to be held with one hand thanks to the harness attached to the back, but it’s not a light device. Nor is typing on the keyboard easy — despite the keys being as prominently and evenly spaced as they can be — or easy to see what you’re doing on the 5.6 inch screen, although zoom shortcut keys help. A thumbprint reader, barcode scanner, camera, GPS, 3G mobile and two batteries that automatically kick in when the other goes flat all give it expanded life and features. Rating: 3


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