In the spirit of Festivus here is our full list of the worst technology products and services of the year.
Caption by: Sandra Vogel
Fujitsu Siemens' LifeBook range of business notebooks includes a couple of convertible Tablet PCs. The 13.3in. T1010 is a bit of a giant as far as this format goes, but it does tick a lot of boxes.
Fujitsu Siemens describes this convertible tablet as combining style and functionality. It certainly has a distinctive look. The casing is white, both outside and in: the inside is matte and slightly creamy, while the lid section is a shiny brilliant white with a linear patterning. It's definitely more 'dress down' than pin-striped, but nonetheless welcome for that.
The 13.3in. T1010 is a 2.3kg convertible Tablet PC, with a distinctive white-clad chassis.
This is a sizeable notebook for a Tablet PC, measuring 31.9cm wide by 24.4cm deep by 3.9cm high. More importantly, perhaps, it weighs 2.3kg. That is quite a lot to carry in the crook of an arm for an extended period of working in Tablet mode. What you get in exchange for the dimensions and weight is a 13.3in. screen with a native resolution of 1,200 by 800 pixels. The system's integrated graphics module will send a maximum of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels to an external monitor.
The screen has an anti-glare coating, but despite its matte appearance was still quite reflective with a light source behind it. The touch-screen is responsive to both the stylus and to fingertips, allowing for versatile input methods.
The screen swivels both left and right on a central hinge and lays flat over the keyboard for use in tablet mode. In this orientation, and also when the notebook is closed, an excellent clasp holds the lid and system unit sections together. Indeed, build quality all round is good. The lid section exhibits just a little flex, and the chassis is very solid.
A solid clasp holds the lid and system unit sections together, in both tablet and closed-clamshell modes.
The keyboard is superb. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's one of the best we've ever used on a notebook. Keys are large and depress evenly. There is absolutely no flex in the keyboard and even the satisfying 'thunk' when keys are pressed is pitched perfectly. The number keys are full height and the function keys are only a little smaller.
The touchpad has two slightly raised mouse buttons beneath it and a vertical scroller built into its right edge. Oddly there's no horizontal equivalent on the touchpad. This is actually built into the lid section as a second flat, touch-responsive scroller. Separating vertical and horizontal scrolling like this is a bad idea: we're disinclined to reach for the lid-mounted scroller when working in notebook mode and unhappy that only one direction is available when in Tablet PC mode.
The lid section contains several other buttons to aid use when in (keyboard-obscured) tablet mode. The main on/off switch is here, along with buttons for accessing the Windows Mobility Center (for tweaking system settings) and rotating the screen orientation.
Our review sample of the LifeBook T1010 had a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor. There was 2GB of RAM, expandable to 4GB. Two other processors are available — a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo 8600 and a 2.16GHz Celeron M585. Graphics are handled by the GMA 4500MHD chipset integrated in Intel's Mobile GM45 Express chipset.
The LifeBook T1010, which has a particularly good keyboard, is available with Windows Vista and/or XP.
Our review sample had Windows Vista Business installed, but a number of other options are available. You can opt for Vista Home Premium or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 if you prefer — the latter OS is provided on DVD.
Bluetooth (2.0+EDR) and Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g, Draft-N) are integrated, the latter benefiting from three dual-band antennas. There was no mobile broadband in our review sample, although the spec sheet lists a 'made4you' UMTS option.
The 1.3-megapixel webcam at the top of the screen isn't the most capable we've seen built into a notebook. It comes with ArcSoft's WebCam companion software, which supports video conferencing, stills and video capture with motion sensing.
For storage, our review unit had a 160GB hard drive, although 120GB and 320GB units are also available. All hard drive options spin at a middling 5,400rpm and benefit from shock protection. The optical drive sits on right-hand side, towards the back.
The font edge of the LifeBook T1010 is clear of ports and connectors but it does house the slider switch for the wireless modules. On the right side there's just the optical drive noted above. The left side carries an ExpressCard slot, a USB 2.0 port, a pair of audio jacks and, towards the front, a slot for the notebook's digitiser pen.
Finally, at the back there are two further USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet (RJ-45) port, plus a VGA-out connector protected by a solid hinged cover.
The Windows Experience Index (WEI) for the LifeBook T1010 was 3.7 (out of 5.9). As usual with integrated-graphics systems, the lowest scores (3.7 and 3.9) went to Gaming Graphics (3D business and gaming graphics performance) and Graphics (desktop performance for Windows Aero).
All the remaining subsystems scored over 5: Primary hard disk (Disk data transfer rate) and Processor (calculations per second) both rated 5.2, while RAM (Memory operations per second) got an excellent 5.8.
To test battery life, we selected the Balanced power plan and set a DVD to play: under these conditions, we got two 2.5 hours' playback from a full battery charge. When using the notebook for less gruelling typing and web surfing — our staple working mode — we got nearly four hours.
The LifeBook T1010's distinctive chassis suggests that Fujitsu Siemens may have the student market in mind for this notebook, but business users will also find it useful. Many will welcome the 13.3in. screen, although of course there are trade-offs in the form of increased size and weight, and lower battery life.
If you're picky about keyboards, you should love this notebook, which in this respect is right up there with the best we've seen.
Caption by: Sandra Vogel