Although you’re unlikely to be able to afford one, Panasonic’s new Windows 8 tablet is certainly an object of desire. This oversized iPad has a whopping 20in screen with a 4K resolution. UPDATE: See Panasonic 4K tablet: specs, release date - what you need to know
We’ve already seen plenty of 4K TVs at CES, but to cram 3840x2560 pixels into a screen less than half the size of the smallest ultra HD TV is an impressive feat.
It would be easy to scoff and point to one of the full HD smartphones which has a far higher pixel density (Sony’s Xperia Z has a 5in screen with 443ppi) but the Panasonic tablet still has the wow factor with just 230ppi. Unusually, it has a 15:10 aspect ratio.
A screen this big means photographs from most digital cameras can be viewed at 100%, or close to it. We looked at a variety of photos and were amazed at the level of detail. Panasonic says it’s aiming the as yet unnamed tablet at photographers who need to quickly check their shots for focus, and who might even use it as a live preview screen.
We were shown a demo of a Lumix camera hooked up to the tablet and, while the preview certainly wasn’t particularly high resolution, the resulting photo was shown on screen seconds later and looked seriously impressive.
Thanks to an IPS panel, colours were well saturated and viewing angles nice and wide. It also supports 10-point multitouch, for full Windows 8 gesture compatibility.
A separate demo showed another possible use: in car showrooms. Here, customers could read about a potential purchase and see high-resolution video of the car’s interior and other features.
A final example was architectural drawings. We had a look at a floor plan which showed an amazingly fine level of detail, so it was possible to read tiny details such as measurements without zooming in on the image. As the tablet is roughly A3 in size, it should appeal to architects and designers.
Panasonic will bundle an optical pen (the Anoto Live Pen) with the tablet so you can make notes and share these in real-time with others. We gave the pen a brief test and were impressed with its accuracy and responsiveness. It didn’t feel too dissimilar to writing with a pen and paper.
Being a Windows 8 Pro tablet, you can run applications on the traditional desktop as well as using the modern UI. Powering the device is an Intel Core i5 3427U 1.8GHz processor along with 4GB of RAM. There’s also a 128GB SSD for storage and a front-facing 720p camera.
Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi provides the necessary connectivity and there’s a USB 2 port and a micro SD card reader.
Measuring just 10.1mm thick, it’s surprisingly thin, but it’s heavy at 2.4kg. Panasonic says the battery will last for around 2 hours – hardly surprising considering the huge screen – which means it will have to be plugged in for most of its life.
The samples we saw were well finished and looked production-ready, but there was no real information on price or availability. Panasonic suggested that it would launch “some time this year”.
See all CES 2013 coverage.