Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Fujitsu Lifebook U1010 3.5G
- The inclusion of 3.5G HSDPA, QWERTY keyboard, headlight-style keyboard light, 650g weight
- Poor performance in WorldBench 6, poor viewing angle on the screen, small keyboard takes getting used to and isn't great for typing long documents
The Fujitsu Lifebook U1010 3.5G is a great example of the increasingly popular ultra mobile PCs. It's easily held and is comfortable to use while also being extremely portable. If the size and weight weren't enough to get you excited then the addition of 3.5G HSDPA speeds of up to 7.2Mbps should help.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Check out our video review here
Fresh from its début at CES, Fujitsu's Lifebook U1010 ultra mobile PC has at last reached Australian shores, exhibiting its meagre 650g frame and 5.6in screen with a full version of Windows Vista Business edition, not to mention a 3.5G Wireless adapter for complete mobile Internet access.
Although we were given the opportunity to look at Fujitsu's Lifebook U1010 in its pre-production state back in August 2007 (see our review here), the addition of a wireless adapter for complete mobile Internet access makes this already mobile PC a free spirit, limited only by your mobile provider's network coverage.
Not only does the Lifebook U1010 offer high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), but it offers the full 7.2Mbps speeds that are currently available in Australia through Telstra's Next G network. It also includes Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g for regular wireless Internet at home, at the office, or even at hotspots.
Despite the fact it's only twice the size of your average smartphone, the Lifebook U1010 is packed with all of the functionality that's normally associated with a notebook or tablet PC. A QWERTY keyboard is available, which can be used by typing with two or more fingers, or with the thumbs in a game-controller style. The keys are quite small but the layout remains relatively standard, including numbers across the top of the keyboard, which double as function keys. It's not ideal for writing essays or other long documents, but even a fairly lengthy e-mail would be comfortable to type once you get the knack for it. One feature we like is the pair of headlight-style lights that can be turned on to illuminate the keyboard when it's dark.
Navigating around the Lifebook U1010 can be done by using the touch-screen LCD panel or the track-point and mouse buttons. A stylus is included for tablet mode, but using your finger to tap the screen is just as effective. The screen rotates on a hinge and lies flat on the keyboard to convert the U1010 into a slate form-factor.
Below the screen are a number of buttons including two programmable application buttons, two programmable up/down buttons, one screen rotation button and an Alt button for the task manager. Pressing a special function button also gives each of the programmable keys a second action. A biometric fingerprint scanner is also positioned for ease of access in tablet mode, though it's also fairly easy to swipe in notebook mode, too.
Measuring 171(L)x133(W)x32(H)mm it's one of the smallest PCs we've seen that includes a fully functional installation of Windows Vista, and despite being built on low power and low performance hardware by necessity, it does a fairly good job of running the operating system.
An 800MHz Intel CPU with a 400MHz front side bus and a 512KB L2 cache is at the heart of this tiny machine, providing fairly low performance, but ensures that heat doesn't become too much of an issue. We did find the U1010 warmed up a bit after use, enough to get uncomfortable in a hot environment, but otherwise acceptable. A full 1GB of DDR2 400MHz RAM is installed, which certainly helps maintain smooth performance in the Vista environment. Only 40GB of hard drive space is available, but it's plenty for normal operational needs.
Only one USB 2.0 port is installed as well as Compact flash, SD, MS and xD card slots, plus there's a port extender for VGA and 10/100 LAN ports. A set of headphone and microphone jacks are also available with a jog dial for volume control. On top of these, Fujitsu has managed to squeeze in a webcam above the screen.
The screen itself is bright and has good enough contrast levels for comfortable viewing. On the other hand the viewing angle isn't great, but the small size of this machine means you can position it as necessary and the resolution of 1024x600 is plenty for this small screen, keeping the image sharp and crisp. On the sound front there's one speaker, which produces a fairly hollow sound, but has some reasonable volume to it.
In WorldBench 6 it scored the lowest we've ever seen, an 18, but there were no surprises here as this minuscule computer is clearly not designed for power. The battery is rated by Fujitsu at up to three hours of usage, but this figure will vary greatly depending on usage. As well as using the Windows Vista power management software, the Lifebook U1010 has its own power management system pre-installed, which will allow you to quickly disable idle devices, such as the Wireless LAN adapter and the media card slots; helping to increase battery life.
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