The tiny Fujitsu LifeBook P1510D convertible tablet delivers a great compromise between a handheld form factor and laptop-quality performance. While its cramped keyboard makes extensive typing challenging, its size makes it extremely portable. And though the tablet runs on Windows XP Professional, included software lets you convert handwritten notes to text with remarkable accuracy. If you're looking for a small tablet--or an extremely lightweight laptop--the $1,649 Fujitsu LifeBook P1510D is a good choice.
About the size of a thick paperback, the LifeBook P1510D measures 9 inches wide, 6.5 inches deep (7.5 inches with the optional extended-life battery), and 1.4 inches thick. At 2.2 pounds, it's by far one of the smallest and lightest convertible tablets we've seen; the (also small) ThinkPad X41 weighs nearly 1.5 pounds more. In fact, the LifeBook P1510D is among the smallest laptops we've seen, though the diminutive Toshiba Libretto U100 is smaller. With its 0.6-pound, two-prong AC adapter, the Fujitsu LifeBook P1510D hits the road at a featherweight 2.8 pounds.
Of course, with a case this small, you'll sacrifice some creature comforts. Typing lengthy documents on the tablet's 12mm keys will certainly fatigue your hands; however, unlike the Libretto U100's ridiculously small keyboard, the LifeBook P1510D's is quite reasonable for typing quick notes or e-mail. The tablet's textured pointing stick proved responsive, and the small mouse buttons and the middle scroll button were adequate.
The LifeBook P1510D's small 8.9-inch (diagonal) display, featuring a 1,024x600 native resolution, provides just enough space for basic productivity tasks (for users with good eyesight). While some tablet displays, such as the Toshiba Satellite R15, wobble on their single hinge, the LifeBook P1510D's screen stays firmly in place. With the P1510D in tablet mode, the screen space is similar to that of a steno pad. The included passive stylus, made of lightweight plastic, closely resembles a Palm's in length and width. While it was serviceable, we'd prefer a weightier, more penlike stylus, such as the one found on the Gateway CX200X. The LifeBook P1510D runs slightly warm, but its temperature is not uncomfortable for extended handheld use.
Despite its small size, the LifeBook P1510D packs in all the basic ports and connections: one VGA and two USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, and both CompactFlash and SD card readers. You can get online via modem, Ethernet, or 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. There's also a Trusted Platform Module for security and a biometric fingerprint reader that lets you log in keyboard-free. Those features are nearly identical to the ones on the larger ThinkPad X41, which has a PC Card slot but no CompactFlash card reader. Like many convertible tablets, the LifeBook P1510D lacks an optical drive.
Unlike most tablets, the LifeBook P1510D runs Windows XP Professional (a Windows XP Tablet PC Edition version is forthcoming). For now, Fujitsu offers a sufficient software package, including RitePen handwriting-recognition software and the EverNote Plus note-taking app. Some tablet purists will miss Windows XP Tablet's advanced annotation features. An XP Pro bonus: the included DialKeys software lets you choose from six types of onscreen keyboards for entering text with your fingers.
We tested the $1,649 LifeBook P1510D, configured with a 1.2GHz Pentium M processor, 512MB of quick 400MHz RAM, a sluggish 4,200rpm 30GB hard drive, and an integrated Intel graphics chip that uses up to 128MB of system memory. On CNET Labs' mobile benchmarks, those components kept the LifeBook P1510D running at the level of the $1,999 Toshiba Libretto U100, the $1,899 ThinkPad X41, the $2,002 Dell Latitude X1, and the $2,300 Sony VAIO VGN-TX670. For performing basic business tasks on the road, the LifeBook P1510D's performance should be adequate.