Overview and Introduction:
The Fujitsu LifeBook T Tablet PC is for business people and students who are always on the go and don’t want to bring a charger everywhere. It’s lightweight and good enough to use everyday for typing essays, using VOIP, watching movies, or even basic gaming. This tablet and included accessories has in total set me back a good $2,377 CDN. This is my first Tablet PC and I’m a first year university student that is very knowledgeable about desktop computers with an average amount of knowledge about portable computers. In this review, I will be very critical of the minor flaws of the tablet, so please do not think that I hate it, but instead I just want to make sure to cover all minor flaws (some of which I don’t mind) that buyers might want to know before making the purchase.
Custom Fujitsu T Specs:
- Vista Business Edition (Vista Ultimate fresh install) with Onenote 2007
- 12.1″ WXGA indoor/outdoor display with active digitizer and wide viewing angles
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Ultra Low Voltage U7600 (1.2 GHz, 2 MB L2 cache, 533 MHz FSB)
- 1 GB DDR2 533 MHz memory (1 GB + Empty slot)
- OCZ Value Series PC2-5400 2GB 1X2GB DDR2-667 200PIN SODIMM Memory
- 80 GB S-ATA (5400 rpm) hard drive
- 1 GB Intel Turbo Memory
- 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN, and Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (802.11a/b/g/n) with Bluetooth wireless
- High-capacity main Lithium ion battery
- 302 x 224 x 35 mm (11.9″ x 8.8″ x 1.36″)
- Accessories: 2x Keyboard skin
Reasons for Buying:
My first reason for buying the tablet was because of the gorgeous 12-inch LED backlit widescreen display. I’d heard great things about the color of the display and when the tablet arrived, I wasn’t disappointed. The backlighting, when set on 100% actually hurts my eyes a bit because it’s way too bright, but when used outside, it’s just right. Before I purchased the T, I was considering purchasing the Fujitsu T4220 or the Lenovo X61T, but because neither of them had widescreen it was a huge turn off. The reason why a student like me would want a widescreen tablet is because it feels more natural to write on. Instead of writing on what feels like a square, I feel like I’m writing on a regular A4 sized piece of paper. Widescreen also has the added bonus of looking and feeling smaller. I find it much easier to carry compared to one of my other notebooks which was also a 12 incher without widescreen.
In my humble opinion, I believe that students and businessmen alike shouldn’t buy a laptop/tablet beyond 13 inch scren size because beyond this size, it would be considered more of a desktop replacement. What I’m looking for is portability and how long the battery can last, not how many FPS it can get from a game. This leads to my next reason for buying, which is the battery life. The battery life is pretty good compared to the competition. I’ve had the tablet for a week or so now and I bring it to university every three out of five days from 9:00am-5:00pm and I can’t carry extra things to add more weight to my backpack, namely the AC adapter, because by the end of the day my arms get too sore. I also like the fact that there is a dual array microphone built in so that I only need to bring small discrete ear buds to talk on Skype. I use the tablet moderately (Wi-Fi on, msn,OneNote 2007, firefox browser with four tabs open all the time) and I can last the day with around 3 hours extra when I return home. Of course I’m not using it continuously as I don’t use the laptop in some classes and so put it in hibernation and standby.
Where and How it was Purchased:
I live in Surrey, BC and I can say that there are absolutely no retail stores that sell Fujitsu PCs, so you’ll need to purchase it online. If you are a Canadian that is considering purchasing this tablet, let me just say that we have it pretty bad. My tablet didn’t come with any free accessories and the student discount was only 3% off. I don’t believe that the tablet is worth the $2,377 dollars that I paid for it, simply because in the US, you could get the tablet at a much cheaper price with a free accessory such as the Targus carrying case or the creative headset. I can’t believe that the tablet didn’t come with a case, as my Toshiba laptop came with one. I’ve also heard that the student discount in the U.S. is way better then it is over here. Considering that USD is now less then CDN, I don’t know why Fujitsu couldn’t slash the price down a bit.
Some people be wondering why I didn’t purchase it myself from the Fujitsu website and the reason is that the site is extremely buggy, so I didn’t want to deal with it. The first time I called the sales rep and finished customizing the tablet, he told me he couldn’t buy it for me because there was a problem with the site. The second time I called Fujitsu, I got transferred to the American sales department, so there is a problem with the phone system as well? The site displays something about server certificate expired before you log on to check an order, or to view a saved cart. When you try to buy the accessories, it is double listed?
When I finished buying the tablet from the American sales rep, I got a receipt a few days later saying that I’d ordered 2 keyboard skins and the tablet pc even though I told the sales rep two times that I wanted the tablet with 1 keyboard skin and a T2000 Convertible bump case. A mistake like this is very difficult to make, so I’m assuming that this is the websites fault. Because of the mistake, I wasted 15$ on an extra keyboard skin and didn’t get a case for my tablet, so make sure you read your receipt carefully as I couldn’t get a refund for it because the keyboard skins were shipped from the factory already.
The keyboard skin is just garbage, so don’t buy it because it’s definitely not worth 15$. When applied, it makes it difficult to type and it comes off easy even though there are adhesives on the four sides. If you keep taking it off and putting it on, the adhesives will come off easily. The skin is a good fit, but not perfect, so it gets rather annoying sometimes.
Build and Design:
I didn’t like how the screen moved when I grabbed it in laptop mode, but I guess all convertibles with single hinged designs are like that. If you purposely wiggle the screen in tablet mode, you will see that it moves quite a bit, but other then that, I didn’t really notice any significant wobbling when I was writing. Another thing to note is that when you want to get back into laptop mode (from tablet), you won’t really know which direction to turn back to. This is a little annoying because you will have to test both sides to see which way you should rotate, so that you don’t break the hinge. There won’t be ripples on the screen if you do grab the display (as I often do), so this is not an issue. Something to note when in laptop mode is that once you have the display open to a point where it’s parallel to the keyboard, the screen feels loose and falls till it hits the desk. This is especially annoying when you have the T in laptop mode and use the pen to click on object. If you press too hard when your screen is at such a large angle, the screen falls and hits your knee. I would cringe at the thought of the display hitting the desk if that happened.
I thought that the tablet was fairly stylish and many people were asking me what laptop this was. I tell them that it’s a Fujitsu and they ask me what a Fujitsu is! The T’s main competitor is the HP 2710p, and my opinion is that the simplistic design of HP’s tablet loses to the sophisticated design of Fujitsu’s tablet. I love the fact that there is a strip of shiny black at the back of the screen, it makes it less dull and makes me feel that Fujitsu cares about the extra details. When I pulled out the tablet for the first time, I was drawn towards a sticker that had an anti-theft sign on it. I didn’t really know what that was about, but be it refers to the Kensington lock?
I’ve already mentioned how great the screen is, but I’ve read, within the TabletPC Review forums, that some people are experiencing backlight bleeding at the top of the screen. I didn’t experience this, but it be because I’ve already taken the screen apart before I turned it on when it first arrived. Some people are saying “what the… why did you take the screen apart? “
Well, when I first unboxed the tablet, there was dust inside and outside the screen. The outside didn’t matter because I could just wipe it off, but dust INSIDE the screen? I have to admit, I was a bit angry at Fujitsu for something like this because I shouldn’t have to take apart the machine even before I use it just to get dust out. It was very vexing seeing 0.5 cm carpet fibres within the screen. I couldn’t get it out, so I took apart the whole screen and cleaned it myself. But from this, I’ve learned that the actual LCD is protected behind a pretty durable sheet of plastic.
Before purchasing the tablet, I was so worried that my unit would have a dead pixel on it, this of course would be very unfavourable and I would definitely never buy from Fujitsu again. I know some of you reading this are going to say that it’s not Fujitsu’s fault for dead pixels as all manufacturers have defective units and you would be correct. But do consider that I’ve never seen a Fujitsu unit in my life, because no retail stores sell them here, it would be quite troublesome to deal with sending it back and such, but if I’d have purchased from another brand who had their laptops in a retail store (ie Lenovo), I could get something worked out with the store. Overall it would be a much easier process to deal with someone who was 5 minutes away from you compared to someone who was a few provinces away. For those of you who are wondering, I’ve called customer support to see what their dead pixel policy was. They say that if you have a single dead white pixel OR if you have 3 coloured dead pixels, you return it.
The tablet, as many of you already know, doesn’t have a latch. Though it is quite sturdy, but a latching mechanism would be a lot better. Something I should mention for those of you who are like me who take out the battery after it’s done recharging, the whole front section is where the battery is supposed to be, so when you take it out, there is a big gap. Because of this, you need to grab the tablet from the back end because if you grab the front (where the battery used to be) then you’ll probably drop it because the screen flips open.
I love the fact the display has wide viewing angles because it makes things so much easier to read in different positions. I can also take it out and read outside in direct sunlight, so to me, this tablet has the ultimate screen.
The sound on the speakers is what you would expect from other tablets/notebooks of this size. If this is your first ultra portable then you can compare the sound quality to what feels like a cell phone speaker as they both only have one tiny speaker on them. I would strongly advise people to get a headphone (especially Bluetooth headphones) for the tablet if you plan on watching movies on it.
Processor and Performance:
The processor on this tablet is the 1.2 GHz version and I’ve got 3 GB of memory in total with a 1 GB Intel Turbo Memory. Booting up for the first time took forever (Vista optimizing), but after that, boot times were much faster. I think that the tablet was faster than my previous notebooks in booting up, so if you’re used to how long vista boots up (which is pretty fast) then there’s really not much to say about it. The tablet is plenty fast for watching movies on probably because the hard drive is spinning at 5400 rpm. I don’t play games on the tablet that much as I’ve got a desktop to do the job. I do find that when I’m in the Power Saver plan with a maximum processor state of 55%, Onenote does freeze for 5 seconds (be auto saving? ), but I wasn’t sure if it was because of the maximum processor state settings. I also found that when changing the orientation, the table was a bit slow. It takes ~3 seconds for it to be fully functional again. A really annoying issue is that hibernation seems to take forever. I feel as if I’m waiting a few minutes for it to hibernate and it’s only a little faster at waking up, so I recommend using the standby instead, as it only takes a few seconds to sleep and wake up again.
SuperPi is a tool to measure relative CPU performance
NotebookTimeFujitsu LifeBook T (1.20GHz Intel U7600)1m 38sThinkPad X61s (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo L7500)1m 08sThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300)1m 01sMacbook Pro (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo T7700)53sHP 6515b (1.6GHz Turion64 X2 TL-52)2m 05sThinkPad T42 (1.8GHz Pentium M 745)1m 58sSony TX850p (1.2GHz Core Solo U1400)1m 22sDell D420 (1.2GHz Core Duo U2500)1m 57sPortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200)1m 04sHP dv5000z (2.0GHz Sempron 3300+)2m 02sThinkPad R60 (1.66GHz Core Duo T2300e)1m 26sLenovo C100 (1.5GHz Celeron M)2m 19sVAIO S380 (1.86 GHz Pentium M 740)1m 45s
PCMark05 is a benchmarking software which compares overall system performance.
NotebookPCMark05 ScoreFujitsu LifeBook T (1.20GHz Intel U7600, Intel X3100)2,842 PCMarksThinkPad X61s (LV 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel X3100)3,610 PCMarksThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel X3100)4,153 PCMarksThinkPad R60 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, Intel 950)2,975 PCMarksFujitsu A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel 950)2,994 PCMarksMacBook Pro (2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia 8600M) 5,536 PCMarksVaio SZ-110B (1.83GHz Core Duo, Nvidia 7400)3,637 PCMarksThinkPad T61 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel X3100)4,084 PCMarksSamsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, ATI x1700)4,555 PCMarksAsus G1J (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, Nvidia 7700) 3,427 PCMarksHP dv2500t (1.83GHz Core 2 Duo, T7300 Intel X3100)3,376 PCMarks
3DMark measures system 3D graphics performance, as you would expect, the Fujitsu T didn’t perform so well with a low score of 414:
Heat and Noise:
When plugged in to the AC, I find that the tablet becomes fairly hot. The fan constantly blows hot air at the side and it is noticeable. I’ve bought a third party stand for the tablet, and depending how you position it on the stand, the heat could really bother you.
Sometimes I have the exhaust fan pointing at my right hand in landscape mode, and that constant flow of hot air feels very good right now because it’s winter, but when summer comes, I’m sure I wouldn’t want the position it as such. The famous Fujitsu suede patches do help a bit to make the tablet seem cooler, but it still gets warm after a couple hours of use in battery mode. I usually set my tablet to the power saver plan and when in battery, the fan doesn’t really run for the first 2-3 hours, but after that it will start to get warm and blow softly. I’m not sure if the intake fan even intakes anything, because when I put my hand near it, I can’t feel a thing. I really have to say that coming from a couple of notebooks, the placement of the fans on the T is very good. I’ve never liked how intake fans were usually on the bottom of the notebook and the exhaust port takes up the whole backside, so you can’t really place it on your lap, but on the T, there is nothing on the bottom, so people don’t need to worry about where they place it. When in tablet mode, the hot air blows out from the exhaust port at the top and the intake is at the lower right hand side (much like my Toshiba R100). I find myself covering up the intake port though.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
I’ve read that the keyboard on the T really bugs people a lot because there is a lot of flex. To me, the keyboard on the T feels pretty good, but yes, I would’ve loved it if the keys were a bit stiffer, but I can still do a good 90 words per minute on this. I think that this is probably personal preference. One flaw that I did find was that when typing the space bar with the right hand, sometimes it just doesn’t register. For those of you who are worried about the issue, the spacebar doesn’t register when you type at an angle (when you’re not directly in front of the tablet). If you hit the space bar at the top right hand corner, then the space won’t register at all. Granted, I type the space bar with both my hands and only hit the top right a few times (1/50 spaces), but I can see why it could bother a lot of people.
The tablet has a full-sized keyboard and you could really type out a couple of essays on this, but one thing that I did find was that if you typed rigorously, then the keyboard is fairly loud. I find that the keyboard placement is fairly good, but I do find myself accidentally pressing the PgUp button and PgDn quite a lot when trying to using the directional buttons because six buttons on the bottom feel very similar and are pretty small.
Many people don’t like using the touch stick, but if you’re buying a tablet, then you probably don’t really use it except when you’re in notebook mode all the time. There really is no space for a mouse pad, because the battery takes right up to the mouse buttons. I didn’t like the mouse buttons at all because they were very loud when pressed. If the left click button really annoys you, there is an alternative, which is tapping the center of the track stick. The track stick is very fast so precision work is very difficult, but this could be adjusted and after 4 days of use, I finally got used to it.
I must say that writing on the tablet is very enjoyable. Many of my friends have tried it out and they were amazed how vista recognized their ugly handwritings. I find that for some applications (such as msn messenger), drawing on the side of the screen is very difficult and results in ugly writing/drawings. Sometimes writing programs such as Evernote and msn messenger produce trails in the writing.
When using the eraser function for the first time, the pressure you would need to exert for it to recognize was just madness. When using it, I thought I would crack the screen from using so much force, but over time, you need only apply the same amount of force that you would for a pen. I’d suggest when you first get the tablet that you repeatedly click on the eraser over and over as you would to keep clicking a pen as this would loosen the button. I found that the two buttons on the side weren’t very easy to press in the beginning because they didn’t really register. I use the first button as a left click and the second for right click and much like the eraser, you need to keep pressing it until it starts to work properly.
Input and Output Ports:
The T has an acceptable range of ports:
- 1 USB at the Back
- 1 USB at the Right
- SD/SDHC (tested with 8GB)/Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro slot in the Front (can only use one type of format at a time)
- Headphone and Mic port at the right
- 4 pin Firewire port at the right
- VGA out port at the back
- Gigabit Ethernet at the back
I find that the VGA port is in a bad position if you plan on using it in tablet mode, which many of us will, because the wire would be connected from the bottom of the screen in landscape mode. If you think you can change the orientation so that the wire connects to the top, then the display that you’ve attached it to will flip upside down. If you will only use the VGA out in laptop mode, then you’ll be fine. When I connected the T to my plasma tv, vista notified me that aero has been turned off. It didn’t really much matter because I really didn’t notice it anyways.
I find that 2 USB ports aren’t really enough. What I would’ve liked to see was a USB port on each side of the tablet, as this would make life a lot easier.
Something else I should mention is that Memory Stick is not memory stick pro duo. I didn’t really read about what type of card that was so I shoved in my Memory Stick Pro Duo (what the PSP/camera usually uses) and it went in deep. Though it was fairly easy to take out by using two exacto knives and sandwiching it out, it was very nerve racking. If you wish to use the Memory Stick Pro Duo cards, you can get a one of those mini adapters that converts it into a Memory Stick, but be warned, when using a Memory Stick, it is quite noticeable when plugged in.
I thought the wireless was just average compared to my other notebooks because signal strength was about the same when using Wifi G. I don’t have an N router yet so I couldn’t really test that out. The Bluetooth was really easy to use if you have prior knowledge on how to use it. In case you were wondering, the Bluetooth uses the Toshiba Bluetooth stack.
As mentioned before, you can get a full days work without having to recharge with a high capacity battery on power saver mode. This is around 9 hours of work with Wifi off, and screen at ~65%. With Wifi on, I think I can get 5 hours of battery life.
When in high performance mode, battery dies at around 5.5 hours without Wifi and around 4.5 hours with Wifi and brightness at ~75%. Take into account that these are MY stats, and so my usages differ from somebody else. In power saver, I’m usually just typing up notes and lightly browsing the web or using Skype and msn messenger. When in high performance, I play a game (Age of Japan), do heavy browsing, and tasks that I know will require a bit of push.
When you come out of hibernation or standby, the estimated battery life drops a lot. When I say a lot, I mean by 3 hours of actual battery life, but after 5 minutes, the estimates become a little more reasonable. I’m guessing that’s because it takes a lot of effort to go in and come back out of standby/hibernation.
Operating system and Software:
The tablet came with vista business with restore and partition tools CDs, but I deleted the partition with the included CD and did a fresh install of vista ultimate. Though I will be reverting back to business as I see there are no actual advantages for me to use ultimate. Unlike some Toshiba notebooks, Fujitsu doesn’t require a manufacturer CD-Rom drive for a boot disc to work (any USB disc drive will work).
I’m not sure if this is a problem in vista, but I find that the screen sometimes auto rotates by itself, which is really annoying because I would have to press the rotate button a couple of times to get it back. Another problem that I’ve been having with rotate function is when I’m watching a video in full screen, and I suddenly decide that I want to watch in portrait style(because it’s easier to hold) then the video is cropped and I would have to exit full screen and re-enter it again.
As mentioned before, the vista battery monitor is also problematic and at times, it tells me I have 6 hours left and after 5 minutes, I suddenly only have 4 hours left. I really do hope that they improve the accuracy of the battery meter because it is very important for road warriors to know when they should turn down that backlighting to get the extra juice needed to last the rest of the day.
The tablet comes with a copy of a full copy of:
- Microsoft Office OneNote 2007
- Google Desktop
- Adobe Reader
- Norton Internet Security (90 day trial)
- EverNote Plus
- Fujitsu Display Controls
- Fujitsu HotKey Utility
- Fujitsu Security Application Panel
- Fujitsu Driver Update Utility
- Softex OmniPass Fingerprint Utility
- Shock Sensor Utility
- TPM Drivers and Application CD
So there is some bloat ware, but some of the software is really good. I really like Omnipass because I’ve never had a fingerprint scanner before, so now, I can just swipe my finger and log in, but I’m not sure how to set it up with the FireFox master password or Skype. When I try to set it up skype, it tells me that “the field that Omnipass is trying to fill is partially or completely obscured by another window. Omnipass can not fill in the window.” but my gmail in FF works very well.
I don’t really know what the TPM drivers are, but a quick search online told me that it was something relating to do with backup and such so the average user will probably not use it.
The customer support that you get from Fujitsu is fantastic. As I’ve said above, my call was picked up by an American sales rep and after we finished configuring my tablet, he gave me a really low price and some free accessories and somehow I figured out that it must be USD. So I ask him if this was USD or CDN, and he got confused. I told him I was Canadian and so he asked me what phone number I had dialled. I didn’t dial the wrong number as I used the same number to talk to the Canadian sales rep with my first failed purchase. He could’ve just asked me to dial again to see if I can get a Canadian sales rep and reconfigure the tablet for the third time, but when I asked him if he could do anything about it, he actually went back ordered it for me somehow. He was very polite and complimented my last name. Talking to him, felt like talking to a normal person, because he asked me what the weather was like in BC and such, and it just felt so much better compared to other companies employees, who just want to get the job done and over with.
The warranty on the tablet is 1 year and I didn’t bother with purchasing the extended warranty or the display warranty. The extra warranties do cost a lot, so I didn’t want to ratchet up the cost.
I’d also like mention that no notebook is perfect, and one can only consider a notebook that suites their need, that’s why I recommend this tablet to students, businessmen, and any other road warriors who have the cash to buy the tablet. I doubt that the tablet would be useful for a gamer or any other graphics-intensive user out there. So in summary, the pros and cons listing (from important to less important):
- Battery Life
- Bright LED Widescreen
- Great design (personal preference)
- Built in Dual Array Mic
- SDHC support
- 5200RPM HDD
- Good software
- Polite Customer Service
- High Price Tag (especially for Canadian buyers)
- No latch for screen
- Fan runs a little loud
- Gets quite warm
- Rotation problems
- Slow Hibernation
- Only 2 USB ports
- VGA port position in tablet mode
- No retailers have it in stock (BC, Canada)
- No free case (Canada)
- Buggy website
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