Monday, August 18, 2008

Fujitsu T2010 = Perfect Tablet PC?

I saw a thread on GottaBeMobile recently that was asking for input to the perfect Tablet PC or UMPC that was very interesting. One could surmise that the unique needs of everybody would make it impossible to produce the perfect tablet PC. There were a lot of great ideas there.

For my own needs, I think I found almost all of them in my recently acquired Fujitsu T2010. This seems so far to be an almost perfect answer to my search. I use it for MS Office tools, especially Outlook with the Franklin Covey Plan Plus add-in. I also use OneNote, Visio, and Project. Additional tools include Mindjet MindManager to map thoughts. Finally I do the normal browsing and eBook reading a tablet can be so good at, especially with the PDF Annotator tool from Grahl Software, which allows me to review and markup documents or articles I save from the web.

The factors that are important to me and how it provides for them are below; loosely in the order in which I appreciate or value them.

  1. Performance: I used to do more programming and database work, but now spend most of my time communicating and planning, often on the road. The lesser needs I have for raw power mean that the U7600 Core Duo processor running at 1.2Ghz is adequate for my needs, without generating a lot of heat or more importantly taxing the battery.
  2. Battery life: this is a big issue for me, mainly because I do not want to worry about it, or "make sure I will be near an outlet in 3 hours". This device gets 9-11 hours with the 9 cell battery, and close to 8 with the 6 cell version. That is amazing, and greatly appreciated. To me the holy grail of battery life is a full day of work without plugging in, and this device gets me there, and does it without adding a lot of weight.
  3. Portability: the size of the device is also important and where most people diverge about preferences in the laptop/table PC space. Some want something smaller, and some want larger. My personal preference is a device that offers a keyboard that is easy enough to type on, without making the device so large that weight or dimensions affect portability. The T2010 is a nice size, with a non cramped keyboard, and a 12" WXGA screen. In the convertible type tablet PCs the keyboard size and screen size are directly related. I have a smaller Fujitsu U810 with a 5.7"screen, but it renders the keyboard almost unusable for hands my size. I think anything less than a 10" screen would make the keyboard a limited tool for data entry. The T2010 is about 3.5 lbs with the 9 cell battery, making it a lightweight.
  4. Screen: A tablet is expected to be used at different angles than a regular notebook, often pointing at the fluorescent lighting or direct sun. This makes the ability to see it in bright light important. The T2010 offers an indoor/outdoor screen option which I have. It does improve the readability of the screen in offices, and outdoors, but brightness needs to be at the highest level in order to really see easily.

Overall the Fujitsu T2010 meets my basic needs. Laptop/Tablet preferences are highly personal and subjective, so others may vary in their thoughts on it. I have a client who needed a new notebook recently, and if it had been a desktop, I would have just ordered the appropriate model from an approved list; but after discussion it made more sense for her to go and look at some devices to see which she liked.

Some things I might change about the T2010 include:
  • Add an external hardware speaker control. Using the function key combinations is a hassle.
  • Add a webcam just above the screen
  • Add an internal broadband connection to a 3G network. This is now apparently available, but my model does not have this. Thankfully I can pair it with my AT&T 8525 phone for a high speed connection almost anywhere.
  • Increase the CPU speed; while adequate now more is always nice when the next generation of software comes out. A faster CPU would extend the life of the device.

None of these additional enhancements I may want should affect the battery life; that would be counterproductive for my needs.

I am not sure I can say the T2010 is the perfect PC, but it is very close for my needs at this point in time.

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