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Fujitsu Lifebook P1610

The Fujitsu Lifebook P1610 Tablet PC is a pint-sized tablet notebook which can handle a full range of applications, albeit at less than stunning operational speeds.
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Written by Michael Palamountain on
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Fujitsu LifeBook P1610

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The Fujitsu Lifebook P1610 Tablet PC is a pint-sized tablet notebook which can handle a full range of applications, albeit at less than stunning operational speeds.

Test Procedure
PCMark2005, 3DMark06, Cinebench 9.5, and Sandra Pro provide us with our hard performance scores when testing. We also provide the "Windows Experience Index" scores provided by Vista.

Aside from raw performance, we also consider a number of physical design issues. PCMark assesses the machine's overall performance with specific scores given for CPU, Memory, Graphics and HDD; this gives us a useful indicator of performance dealing with typical office tasks.

3DMark and Cinebench are indicators of the machines graphics capabilities. We also use Sandra Pro to give some specific figures on processor, memory and drive performance. Battery life is tested with Battery Eater (Reader's Test), which gives scores very similar to MobileMark.

Useability issues include location (and type) of ports and buttons as well as image quality (where monitors are provided) and additional software utilities. Construction elements of interest are case material quality and ease of opening for maintenance and upgrades. Sound quality is also considered along with the software included with the machine.

Design and features
With a footprint little bigger than an A5 page the P1610 could be squeezed into a decent sized handbag. The casing is black with a silver keyboard-surround. The keys themselves are about 25 percent smaller than standard.

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Additional buttons facilitating tablet functionality can be found around the screen bezel. The screen hinge is sprung to ensure the lid stays closed or open as required and a small lever can be used to prevent the screen swivelling when flat against the keyboard (when not in use or in tablet mode). There is a "Quick Point" joystick for want of space for a touchpad.

The machine ships with Windows Vista Business as well as Bluetooth and 3G communications. A scarcity of internal space denies the possibility of an internal optical drive, but you can always plug a drive into one of the two USB ports. Other ports supplied are, modem, network, microphone and headphone jacks, plus VGA output and docking port. There is also an SD slot, a PCI slot and a fingerprint reader.

The 1.2GHz Intel Core Solo processor requires only a tiny fan for cooling -- and, if the machine is idling, the fan is off and thus silent. Obviously such a CPU won't be winning any performance awards, but they are very efficient at 5.5W (compared to 15W for a Core Duo CPU).

At just under nine inches, you may need a microscope to read the screen; nonetheless, the picture is sharp and bright. Resolution is up to 1280x768 -- wide-screen format, driven by integrated Intel GMA950 graphics. The hard-drive is an 80GB Toshiba. Standard RAM is 512MB, while the maximum supported RAM is only 1GB.

A six-cell battery pack is available which has double the lifespan of the standard pack. Fujitsu claim up to four hours battery life from the three-cell pack (of course "up to" tends to mean the machine is idling with every available option turned off and screen savers itching to turn on at every opportunity).

When testing, we allow some power saving measures (eg: disable wireless LAN and lower screen brightness), but ensure that the screen remains on at all times.

The buttons around the screen support the interface shortcuts and tablet functionality. By default the buttons control: screen orientation, brightness, scrolling plus an enter key and shortcuts to calculator and notepad. The touch screen worked well in terms of accuracy (once calibrated), but it we fell that such screens could afford to be a little more sensitive. Adobe Reader software is preinstalled along with Fujitsu tools for diagnostics and hardware configuration -- including the 3G access.

Security features include biometric fingerprint reader, Kensington lock support BIOS and HDD locks, Trusted Platform Module and 3D shock sensors on the hard-drive.

Performance

Benchmark Test Score
PCMark05 Score 1245
CPU 1773
Memory 1909
Graphics 541
HDD 2218
3DMark06 Score 136
CPU 485
Cinebench 9.5 Rendering (1x CPU) 160
Rendering (2x CPU) N/A
C4D Shading 192
OpenGL SW-L 270
OpenGL HW-L 311
Sandra Pro Lite 11.17 Processor, Arithmetic 4016MIPS ; 3008MFLOPS
Processor, Multimedia 9341 it/s ; 12728 it/s
File System 22MB/s ; 13ms
Memory Bandwidth 1839MB/s
Battery Eater 2.7 Reader's Test 175 minutes
Classic Test 110 minutes

Verdict
The components in this machine are good quality, but there simply isn't space for high performance parts. Almost any full-sized PC or notebook you buy today will have a dual-core processor, but this is not practical for this tiny computer and thus the low performance scores are to be expected.

Nonetheless, the Lifebook acquits itself well when performing everyday tasks. High-end applications, particularly graphics programs, would suffer due to lack of memory and processing power, but standard office applications should not cause you any problems.

As expected this is not a powerful machine, but it chugs along and gets the job done; Windows Vista and test applications all ran smoothly. Vista gives the machine the following performance scores: Processor, 2.7; Memory, 4.3; Graphics, 3.9; Gaming graphics, 2.8; Hard-drive, 3.7.

Battery life is not spectacular -- about three hours with a fairly easy workload and two hours when we push hard. Remember that a double capacity battery pack is available.

It is our opinion that the consumer pays a high price for mobility. You can get a lot of computing power for around AU$3,000, but this handy sized wonder is a bit lacking in the power department.

Nonetheless, the P1610 would certainly be a boon to the business person who needs to travel light. You could pack it easily in a briefcase (or even a largish handbag) and take advantage of any 3G hotspots encountered. We would suggest that this machine could offer problems for some users; the small keys could hinder smooth typing and the 8.9-inch screen demands excellent near-vision. Outdoor usage might be limited by screen visibility, so stick to the shade.

Notebooks like these are great for travelers, but I would still like to see notebooks that reduced their weight by slimming down rather than reducing their other dimensions. Users suffer when screens and keyboards are too small. Of course we appreciate that there are considerable technical difficulties in reducing the thickness of notebooks.

The LifeBook has a two year nationwide pick up and return warranty covering both parts and labour. The Web site also provides FAQs and a portal for online enquiries.


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