Combining a screen that's roomy enough to avoid eye strain and a weight that's still reasonable enough to carry to the coffee shop or on the occasional business trip, 13.3 inches may be the most perfect size for a laptop. How much better, then, that Fujitsu has issued the LifeBook T1010, a tablet whose 13.3-inch display rotates and folds down over the keyboard to let you take handwritten notes? Viewed as a laptop, the LifeBook T1010 seems fairly average, with a typical assortment of features and the entry level of Intel's latest Centrino 2 components. Viewed as a tablet, however, the LifeBook T1010 seems more compelling: it's priced lower than many 12.1-inch tablets, yet provides a little extra screen real estate. We think it's a good choice for students and executives who prefer to take handwritten notes in lectures and meetings.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$1,399 / $1,349|
|Processor||2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400|
|Memory||1GB at 1,066MHz*|
|Hard drive||80GB*, 5,400rpm|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel PM45 Express|
|Graphics||Mobile Intel GMA 4500 MHD|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Business|
|Dimensions (WDH)||12.6 x 9.6 x 1.4-1.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||13.3 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||5.2 / 6.1 pounds|
We like the look of the Fujitsu LifeBook T1010, which includes a glossy, silver lid with an abstract, almost bar code-like pattern as well as a matte-silver interior. Its squared-off corners are consistent with Fujitsu's reputation for slightly boxy laptops, but the 13-inch screen means its overall footprint is compact and appealing. At 5.2 pounds, the Fujitsu is heavier than other 13.3-inch systems, such as the Dell XPS M1330 and the Toshiba Satellite U405D; and it's more than a half-pound heavier than such 12.1-inch tablets as the Toshiba Portege M700. Nevertheless, the Fujitsu's weight is reasonable for semi-frequent travel and for regular trips to the coffee shop or library.
Like any other convertible tablet, the Fujitsu LifeBook T1010's display connects to its base on a single hinge that lets you swing the screen around (in either direction) and fold it over the keyboard to take handwritten notes on-screen. Unlike other convertible tablets, the LifeBook T1010 incorporates a 13.3-inch wide-screen display. The size is not only our preferred compromise between portability and usability, but it also provides a comfortably roomy amount of space for writing notes by hand.
The screen's 1,280x800 resolution is fairly typical for a display of this size, and its matte finish cuts down on distracting reflections--a huge plus for taking notes in a meeting room or lecture hall. The screen surface provides a pleasing amount of drag when you're writing with the included stylus, and five buttons in the display bezel--up and down arrows, screen rotation, a Function key, and an Alt key--help you navigate without the keyboard while in tablet mode.
Rather than an active digitizer that requires a specific stylus, the LifeBook T1010's touch-screen display accepts input from any pointing device--even your fingers. As we used the tablet, we found ourselves relying less on the touch pad (which seems a small, though functional) and more on the touch screen, even in laptop mode. We still type faster than we write, though, and the LifeBook T1010's broad keyboard feels solid and responsive.
|Fujitsu LifeBook T1010||Average for thin-and-light category|
|Video||VGA-out, Webcam||VGA-out, S-Video|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, built-in microphone, headphone/microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||3 USB 2.0, multiformat memory card reader||3 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader|
|Networking||Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth||modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|
The LifeBook T1010 offers the average selection of ports and connections you'd expect to find on a laptop of its size. Unsurprisingly, the laptop's built-in speakers produced tinny, unbalanced sound.
We tested an early, preproduction configuration of the LifeBook T1010 that was built with Intel's 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400 CPU, integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics, 1GB of 1,066MHz RAM, and an 80GB, 5,400rpm hard drive. Currently shipping configurations offer many of the same specs, but with 2GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive, for $1,399. Even with half the RAM, our preproduction LifeBook T1010 bested the previous generation of 13-inch systems and scored in line with the Centrino 2-based ThinkPad SL400 on the Multitasking and iTunes portions of CNET Labs' benchmarks. The results were less stellar on our Photoshop test, where the early LifeBook T1010's RAM allotment held it back; we fully expect the 2GB configuration that's currently being sold to perform in line with the ThinkPad SL400.
On our video-playback drain test, the LifeBook T1010 lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes using the included six-cell battery. That's average for a laptop of its category, though we'd hoped to see closer to 3 hours of battery life from the Centrino 2 platform. Nevertheless, our drain test is particularly grueling, so you can expect to see longer life during typical Web surfing and productivity work.
Fujitsu covers the system with a one-year warranty. Support is available through a 24-7, toll-free phone line, and technicians can connect to your computer over the Internet to diagnose problems. Standard FAQs and driver downloads also are available. Adding an extra year of service costs $100, and upgrading to next-business-day on-site service is an additional $50 per year. Fujitsu is also unique among laptop vendors in offering a no-questions-asked Screen Damage Protection Plan that costs $150 for one year and $383 for three years.