Feb 9, 2007

Tablet compromise: best of both worlds

Wanting something in between the Asus R2H UMPC and the Asus R1F convertible, I came upon an elegant little convertible that is barely larger than the UMPC. The Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook P1610 definitely fit the bill. At just over 1kg and sporting an 8.9" screen, it offers most of the functionality of the R1F and portability of the R2H in one small package.

Missing is a wecam, but most will probably not miss it. It does, however, sport a fingerprint scanner as the R2H does. The battery life of the unit is definitely acceptable: approximately 3.5 hours using WiFi actively. The resolution of the panel is 1280x768, giving a high detail widerscreen which is quite readable. Video looks fantastic on this screen, or just plug in an external monitor for larger viewing area, using either the port on the machine, or the included docking station.

The digitizer is passive, which means no stylus with buttons...works just like a PocketPC. The screen doesn't respond to skin contact, however, avoiding vectoring problems. This means that it functions in practice like an active digitizer in the sense that you can rest your hand on the screen while writing.

All in all, I am very happy with the device. Although some may feel the high resolution on such a small screen makes it a bit unreadable, I think it's ok. If I hadn't, it is always possible to increase default font size. Unfortunately, the graphics driver for the P1610 doesn't seem to support lower resolution widescreen formats (ex. 800x480), though I am sure with 3rd party utilites this shouldn't be too much of a problem. I will try to get that working soon just to have the resolution available in case it is needed.

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