Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 Convertible All-Purpose Laptop

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Nate Ralph, PC World
PC World
Thursday, October 22, 2009; 12:19 AM

The Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 convertible laptop is built for business. Running on the Centrino 2 vPro chipset and packed to the gills with IT-friendly security features, it's designed to be an efficient portable workstation for the mobile professional.

The T5010 runs Windows Vista Business Edition on a 2.4GHz P8600 Core 2 Duo CPU. Also inside are 2GB of RAM and a 5400-rpm, 160GB hard drive, plus an Intel 4500 MHD graphics controller to power the display. Overall, in our tests it made a good showing, earning a score of 83 in the WorldBench 6 test suite and clocking in a few minutes shy of 4 hours in battery life (though the average is a little over 4 hours).

As far as aesthetics are concerned, this business-centric notebook is best described as utilitarian. It's sturdy, without the slightest hint of bend or flex to be found from screen to base. When it's in laptop mode, it offers a spacious, capable keyboard. The keys are responsive and evenly spaced, great for error-free typing. While the trackpad is a bit narrow, it's coated in a matte texture for smooth pointing movements, and the buttons are adequately responsive.

Of course, the whole point of this machine isn't really about mousing around--you're more likely going to use the T5010's touchscreen. At 13.3 inches and with a 1280 by 800 resolution, the T5010's screen might not be ideal for watching movies, but it makes for a comfortable writing surface. The screen is well lit, though colors appear muted. The configuration I tested was equipped with the optional dual digitizer, which provides a capacitive touchscreen for two-finger gesture support. This feature comes at the cost of an outdoor-ready display option, so users will have to decide if multitouch capabilities are more important than being able to work efficiently outside.

As the tiny Fujitsu LifeBook U820 shows, Vista can handle handwriting recognition and general tablet work with finesse. The included Wacom pen (with a nifty digital eraser) presents a convincing imitation of the ink-and-dead-tree experience. While lacking the robust pressure sensitivity of a full Wacom tablet, the combo here worked like a charm with light image editing and casual doodling in GIMP. When you aren't using the pen, you can store it in a slot just under the base of the machine.

You can use only one control scheme at a time: Touching your finger to the screen disables the stylus input, and vice versa, nice for preventing mistakes. The optical drive is automatically disabled once you enter tablet mode, as well, to prevent discs from ejecting into your chest.

I experienced some drawbacks with the T5010. During my testing, I had to recalibrate the finger-touch settings twice, as the pointer lodged itself into a corner. That issue is likely Vista's fault, but the lack of warning or explanation might be disconcerting to some users. Fortunately Windows 7 is just about here, and the T5010 comes with a free upgrade. And we're looking forward to taking full advantage of the multitouch functionalities in the new OS.

Scattered along the sides of the boxy T5010 are three USB ports (one on the left, two on the rear); a multiformat card slot; a VGA port; a PCMCIA card slot; modem, ethernet, and FireWire jacks; and jacks for your headphones and microphone. You can replace the optional DVD burner with an additional hard drive or a second battery. The machine also has Bluetooth and a shock-sensor utility, which prevents the hard drive's head from spinning when it detects vibrations.

Situated around the screen's frame are a touch-sensitive scroll sensor, two microphones, a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, a fingerprint reader, the power latch, and a five-button control panel that doubles as a combination lock. At a glance the layout feels haphazard, but it starts to make sense once you swivel the screen down into tablet mode.

The T5010 tends to run a bit hot. If you're holding it in the crook of your arm, you'll start to notice this rather quickly, as both the landscape and portrait orientations will put you in the path of the exhaust fans. Some users might also find the T5010's 4.9-pound weight (with the optional DVD burner) a bit much to tote about.

And if sound quality on your business tablet is a deal breaker, you'll want to look elsewhere--the T5010's speakers are fairly quiet, delivering a metallic sound devoid of bass. Headphones or dedicated speakers are mandatory.

Bundled software includes Microsoft's OneNote 2007, the PortShutter application (which can disable individual ports to prevent data leaks), and the industry-standard, 60-day Microsoft Office sampler. You'll also find documentation explaining the ins and outs of the robust security features--for all intents and purposes, the Fujitsu LifeBook T5010 is a digital fortress.


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