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Panasonic 4K Review

The Ultra HD Windows 8 tablet – with a massive 20-inch screen, a slick Window 8 user-interface and a powerful processor the Panasonic 4K tablet could change the way professional creative’s work.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Overview 

Panasonic’s 20-inch 4K ultra HD Windows 8 tablet shoves two very high-definition fingers in the faces of all things fashionable. Just in case it escaped your attention – that´s 20 full inches of display screen we´re talking about here. The gargantuan IPS Alpha LCD panel mean the 4K offers almost nothing you would normally look for in a tablet – portability being the obvious. But, well ahead of its release – and still just a prototype – Panasonic does promise a host of features to make previous tablets feel tiny.

Running the recently updated Windows 8 platform, the 4K can access all the software possibilities of any Windows PC – eg. Photoshop – at over four times the resolution of full High Definition. And with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB memory, and SSD of 128GB, the Panasonic 4K is designed to cope with the demands of heavy-duty software. But this is not a tablet aimed at the average gadget-nut; but rather the professional – the photographer, the designer, the architect, etc. And it’s pretty obvious how Panasonic are going about getting their attention.

 

Size and Screen //

The behemoth of a screen is the stand out feature of the 4K. A full 20-inches of touch-screen delivers a resolution of 3840 x 2560 pixels, at a density of 230 pixels per inch. It may not seem anyway near the pin-sharpness delivered by the 9-7-inch iPad Retina displays 264 ppi, but the Panasonic will be used from greater distance than the 10-inches of distance Apple suggest you distance yourself to get the most out of the iPad. To sum up, the 4K offers some impressive visuals.

With a unique aspect ratio of 15:10 the Panasonic can display an A3 page-size at almost full size, in stunning ultra HD – ideal for presentations and the kind of creative projects the 4K is presumably intended for. The downside is that, with dimensions of 18.7” (W) x 13.1” (D) x 0.4 (H) and a weight of 5.3lbs, the term portable becomes a very generous phrase. The 4K looks like a device best suited for wall mounts or independent stands – which might able to internet TV and downloaded movie fans.

 

Software //

There is a lot of talk about the cosy pairing up of Adobe’s Photoshop and the Panasonic 4K. Pro photographers will be able to sync the 4K with their cameras for live, remote controlled photography and picture editing, but Panasonic didn´t stop there and made an effort to get the basics covered too – and with the responsiveness of Windows 8 photo editing as never been more enjoyable.

Having said that there are a few issues. Due to the outlandish 4K resolution, icons in the Photoshop tool bars are too small for finger operation – something presumably not exclusive to Photoshop. And you can’t help but think that there will be similar problems when zooming in on most web pages to fit a 20-inch screen. But the 4K does not work alone. It’s partner in design comes in the shape of a stylus.

From annotating documents to drawing freehand in design suites, the 4K and Anoto live pen are Panasonic’s combined answer to digital paper. Architects in two different continents will be able to annotate and see each other’s notes live, over connected 4Ks, including a nifty little trick of measuring the area of certain shapes with a single stroke. However, the pen is as bulky as its partner and feels a little sluggish to match.

 

Processor //

An Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB RAM and SDD space of 128GB make for some pretty impressive specifications and the driving force under the hood revs up a pretty good performance. Compare that to the Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon, which boasts 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, but run on Qualcomm’s latest quad-core processor, with each core running at 1.5GHz. Either way, the 4K is a Goliath in power as well as size and are not the kind of specifications you would normally associate with a tablet.

Whilst these numbers are impressive you have to question how the 4K would handle some of the real CPU crushing programs in the creative industries. Try running a couple of 3D animations, or some film and sound editing software at the same time, and then see how the 4K holds up. But let’s be optimistic here. Let’s say your music editing software is running like a dream. Time to get out the USB synth! But wait- the only USB port already has your external hard drive plugged in.

Now what? Yeah. Despite the 4K’s stocky build, Panasonic were only able to find enough room to fit a solitary USB 2.0 port and one microSD slot. That’s it. Admittedly, this has allowed Panasonic to maintain a sleek design and minimise weight, but for a device that is aimed at busy professionals this seems like a big compromise.

 

Camera //

The 4K is fitted with a standard 720P HD embedded, front-facing camera which is perched at the centre of the top panel. We still don’t really know what to expect for camera resolution in tablet and haven’t had a chance to see what the camera is capable of in the 4K, but you realistically be taking photographs with this thing? Of course, it will come in useful for video conferencing and a front-facing camera on a device targeted primarily at photographers will sufficiently cater for video chats and maybe a little more with occasional hilarious avatar portraits.

 

Battery //

If portability is almost entirely out of the window by its sheer size, then a piddly two hours estimated battery life leaves the 4K securely anchored to nearby power supplies. How big an issue this will be is hard to say at this stage. On one hand, this jumbo touch-screen can’t afford to lose any more points in this department. And on the other, if it’s barely portable anyway then what does it matter except during power cuts? Even still, two hours is a bit of a disappointment.

Saying that, any more than two hours lugging this hefty unit around would leave you needing a recharge too – and in its defence, the 4K´s only real competitor – the gimmicky Sony Vaio Tap 20 – weighs in at twice that of the 4K for less than double the battery life.

 

Who is it for?

Panasonic tell us that it is for the professional – the designers, photographers and other visual creatives of this world although it may also suit people that liv in small spaces as a wall mounted internet TV.

 

Value for money?

Prices for the UK market have not been announced yet, but to give you an idea the 20-inch Sony Vaio Tap is tops £800.

 

Final thought

The Panasonic 4K makes a big impression. The display is truly stunning and Panasonic have enough power behind their 20-inch ultra-high definition screen that the 4K could be a real option for creative professionals. That being said, there are many niggles with it and equally as many questions as to whether a product like this will really appeal to anyone. How many professional photographers will put up with Photoshop icons shrinking beyond use? What happens when you want to copy something from one external device to another? Small gripes from a very large bit of kit.

But let’s not forget the 4K is fundamentally a prototype and consumers can expect improvements – in which case the 4K has the potential to revolutionsie the creative workplace. We can hope that some of these issues are resolved by the release date which thus far has been broadly stated as 2013. And even if these lesser features of the 4K make it through to the production phase, we can’t judge fairly without knowing what kind of price-tag Panasonic think their latest creation is worth. Either way, success of the 4K rests entirely on the reaction of the photographers, designers and other testers which could be the make or break decision for Panasonic. Although it is touted as a tabelt, it is likely to have a price tag and functionality closer to a notebook which creatives may ultimately find a better option. The Panasonic 4K is capable of doing many things but it is capable of doing them well enough to convince professionals to make an investment?

 

 

Panasonic 4K Review

The Ultra HD Windows 8 tablet – with a massive 20-inch screen, a slick Window 8 user-interface and a powerful processor the Panasonic 4K tablet could change the way professional creative’s work.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Overview 

Panasonic’s 20-inch 4K ultra HD Windows 8 tablet shoves two very high-definition fingers in the faces of all things fashionable. Just in case it escaped your attention – that´s 20 full inches of display screen we´re talking about here. The gargantuan IPS Alpha LCD panel mean the 4K offers almost nothing you would normally look for in a tablet – portability being the obvious. But, well ahead of its release – and still just a prototype – Panasonic does promise a host of features to make previous tablets feel tiny.

Running the recently updated Windows 8 platform, the 4K can access all the software possibilities of any Windows PC – eg. Photoshop – at over four times the resolution of full High Definition. And with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB memory, and SSD of 128GB, the Panasonic 4K is designed to cope with the demands of heavy-duty software. But this is not a tablet aimed at the average gadget-nut; but rather the professional – the photographer, the designer, the architect, etc. And it’s pretty obvious how Panasonic are going about getting their attention.

 

Size and Screen //

The behemoth of a screen is the stand out feature of the 4K. A full 20-inches of touch-screen delivers a resolution of 3840 x 2560 pixels, at a density of 230 pixels per inch. It may not seem anyway near the pin-sharpness delivered by the 9-7-inch iPad Retina displays 264 ppi, but the Panasonic will be used from greater distance than the 10-inches of distance Apple suggest you distance yourself to get the most out of the iPad. To sum up, the 4K offers some impressive visuals.

With a unique aspect ratio of 15:10 the Panasonic can display an A3 page-size at almost full size, in stunning ultra HD – ideal for presentations and the kind of creative projects the 4K is presumably intended for. The downside is that, with dimensions of 18.7” (W) x 13.1” (D) x 0.4 (H) and a weight of 5.3lbs, the term portable becomes a very generous phrase. The 4K looks like a device best suited for wall mounts or independent stands – which might able to internet TV and downloaded movie fans.

 

Software //

There is a lot of talk about the cosy pairing up of Adobe’s Photoshop and the Panasonic 4K. Pro photographers will be able to sync the 4K with their cameras for live, remote controlled photography and picture editing, but Panasonic didn´t stop there and made an effort to get the basics covered too – and with the responsiveness of Windows 8 photo editing as never been more enjoyable.

Having said that there are a few issues. Due to the outlandish 4K resolution, icons in the Photoshop tool bars are too small for finger operation – something presumably not exclusive to Photoshop. And you can’t help but think that there will be similar problems when zooming in on most web pages to fit a 20-inch screen. But the 4K does not work alone. It’s partner in design comes in the shape of a stylus.

From annotating documents to drawing freehand in design suites, the 4K and Anoto live pen are Panasonic’s combined answer to digital paper. Architects in two different continents will be able to annotate and see each other’s notes live, over connected 4Ks, including a nifty little trick of measuring the area of certain shapes with a single stroke. However, the pen is as bulky as its partner and feels a little sluggish to match.

 

Processor //

An Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB RAM and SDD space of 128GB make for some pretty impressive specifications and the driving force under the hood revs up a pretty good performance. Compare that to the Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon, which boasts 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, but run on Qualcomm’s latest quad-core processor, with each core running at 1.5GHz. Either way, the 4K is a Goliath in power as well as size and are not the kind of specifications you would normally associate with a tablet.

Whilst these numbers are impressive you have to question how the 4K would handle some of the real CPU crushing programs in the creative industries. Try running a couple of 3D animations, or some film and sound editing software at the same time, and then see how the 4K holds up. But let’s be optimistic here. Let’s say your music editing software is running like a dream. Time to get out the USB synth! But wait- the only USB port already has your external hard drive plugged in.

Now what? Yeah. Despite the 4K’s stocky build, Panasonic were only able to find enough room to fit a solitary USB 2.0 port and one microSD slot. That’s it. Admittedly, this has allowed Panasonic to maintain a sleek design and minimise weight, but for a device that is aimed at busy professionals this seems like a big compromise.

 

Camera //

The 4K is fitted with a standard 720P HD embedded, front-facing camera which is perched at the centre of the top panel. We still don’t really know what to expect for camera resolution in tablet and haven’t had a chance to see what the camera is capable of in the 4K, but you realistically be taking photographs with this thing? Of course, it will come in useful for video conferencing and a front-facing camera on a device targeted primarily at photographers will sufficiently cater for video chats and maybe a little more with occasional hilarious avatar portraits.

 

Battery //

If portability is almost entirely out of the window by its sheer size, then a piddly two hours estimated battery life leaves the 4K securely anchored to nearby power supplies. How big an issue this will be is hard to say at this stage. On one hand, this jumbo touch-screen can’t afford to lose any more points in this department. And on the other, if it’s barely portable anyway then what does it matter except during power cuts? Even still, two hours is a bit of a disappointment.

Saying that, any more than two hours lugging this hefty unit around would leave you needing a recharge too – and in its defence, the 4K´s only real competitor – the gimmicky Sony Vaio Tap 20 – weighs in at twice that of the 4K for less than double the battery life.

 

Who is it for?

Panasonic tell us that it is for the professional – the designers, photographers and other visual creatives of this world although it may also suit people that liv in small spaces as a wall mounted internet TV.

 

Value for money?

Prices for the UK market have not been announced yet, but to give you an idea the 20-inch Sony Vaio Tap is tops £800.

 

Final thought

The Panasonic 4K makes a big impression. The display is truly stunning and Panasonic have enough power behind their 20-inch ultra-high definition screen that the 4K could be a real option for creative professionals. That being said, there are many niggles with it and equally as many questions as to whether a product like this will really appeal to anyone. How many professional photographers will put up with Photoshop icons shrinking beyond use? What happens when you want to copy something from one external device to another? Small gripes from a very large bit of kit.

But let’s not forget the 4K is fundamentally a prototype and consumers can expect improvements – in which case the 4K has the potential to revolutionsie the creative workplace. We can hope that some of these issues are resolved by the release date which thus far has been broadly stated as 2013. And even if these lesser features of the 4K make it through to the production phase, we can’t judge fairly without knowing what kind of price-tag Panasonic think their latest creation is worth. Either way, success of the 4K rests entirely on the reaction of the photographers, designers and other testers which could be the make or break decision for Panasonic. Although it is touted as a tabelt, it is likely to have a price tag and functionality closer to a notebook which creatives may ultimately find a better option. The Panasonic 4K is capable of doing many things but it is capable of doing them well enough to convince professionals to make an investment?

 

 

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