Fujitsu LifeBook T900 review: Fujitsu LifeBook T900
The 13.3-inch Fujitsu LifeBook T900 has an excellent touchscreen and is a fast performer, but its poor battery life and chunky design let it down.
The Fujitsu LifeBook T900 is a tablet laptop with a 13.3-inch multi-touch display, aimed squarely at business users. Priced at around £2,300, it's not exactly a cheap option, but does it have the performance and functionality that business users are looking for?
Hard tablet to swallow
The T900 may feature a multi-touch display, but it's certainly no iPad when it comes to design. For starters, measuring 319 by 244 by 37mm, it's rather chunky. It's also fairly hefty, weighing a considerable 2kg, so your arms are going to get a workout if you're planning on carrying it around all day. The design doesn't help its aesthetic appeal, either. The T900 is very boxy and has a boring matte black and plasticky silver finish. On the other hand, the build quality is decent and the rotating hinge for the screen feels like it's built to last.
The keyboard uses standard, tapered-style keys. Fujitsu hasn't included a numerical keypad, but the individual keys are large and there are no compromises with the layout. The keyboard feels fast and comfortable to type on. Unfortunately, the trackpad isn't so hot. It's a little cramped for our liking, although at least the two trackpad buttons are large and respond to presses with a satisfying click.
What sets this laptop apart from the crowd is its 13.3-inch touchscreen display. This is mounted on a rotating hinge, so you can completely rotate the display and snap it back against the keyboard to use it as a tablet PC, or just leave it pivoted upwards like a traditional laptop. The screen's resolution of 1,280x800 pixels is reasonably good for this type of machine, and its LED backlighting helps colours look bright and vivid.
The screen uses Wacom technology for its touch input, which means you can use either a pen or your finger. Thankfully, the screen is very accurate and responsive. It also supports multi-touch gestures, so you can pinch to zoom in and out of the display in compatible applications, including Internet Explorer and Windows Photo Viewer. Unfortunately, Fujitsu hasn't loaded any of its own touch applications. The T900 comes preloaded with the Windows 7 Touch Pack, which provides a few, mostly novelty touch applications, such as a zoom-capable 3D globe.
Under the bonnet, the laptop is powered by a fast, dual-core Intel Core i7 processor that races along at 2.67GHz. This is backed up by a healthy 4GB of RAM, which gives the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional plenty of room to strut its stuff. With such a meaty specification, it's hardly surprising that the laptop managed to post a very impressive score of 6,545 in the PCMark05 benchmark test. This type of score shows it's more than capable of handling multitasking with even the most demanding of applications.
The machine doesn't break the business laptop mould when it comes to 3D graphics, however. As with most models aimed at suits, it uses integrated Intel GMA HD graphics rather than a discrete chip. Integrated graphics never perform well in our 3DMark06 test, and the T900's integrated chip was no different in this regard. It managed a rather poor score of 2,115, so while it'll be fine for most business-related graphics applications, you're not going to be using this machine for a spot of lunchtime gaming.
The powerful processor may help with number crunching, but it's not so kind to the T900's battery life. In our Battery Eater test, it only lasted for a rather short hour and five minutes, so it's not a machine that likes to be away from the mains for too long. That's not exactly ideal for a tablet machine, since you're likely to want to use it on the move.
As you would expect from a business machine, all the main connectivity options are covered including 801.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet. Fujitsu has even managed to pack in a 3G modem, so simply add a SIM and you can surf the Web from pretty much anywhere there's a mobile phone signal.
The range of ports on offer is also reasonably good. There are three USB ports as well as an ExpressCard slot, VGA port and mini-FireWire socket. Security features include a fingerprint reader, mounted on the screen surround, and a SmartCard slot on the right-hand side of the chassis. If you need more ports, you can always go for the optional dock, which adds extra USB ports and an HDMI output for connecting the laptop to an external display. Storage is taken care of by a reasonably large 320GB hard drive along with a DVD writer.
The Fujitsu LifeBook T900 is a well-equipped machine with a fast processor and an excellent touchscreen. Unfortunately, it's big, heavy and awkward to use as a portable tablet. In addition, the battery life just isn't sufficient for this style of machine.
Edited by Emma Bayly