Just laid my hands on a Fujitsu P1610 (3G) and I am going to give the low down on it. At first sight, this is probably no bigger than an ordinary note book – the paper ones and probably just as thick as a 200-page textbook that I can easily find in the school’s library. Weighing just over 1kg with battery included, this seems to spell the end of heavy days for me.

The set that I got comes installed with Windows XP tablet – not because it is the default installatin, but because I requested for it. The Vista DVD comes together with it so that I can review it if I ever want to. Powering up this baby, it gives the familiar POST screen, showing its prowess as a U1400 Intel 1.2Ghz machine come loaded with the maximum of 1GB of RAM. Not a lot of RAM to run Windows Vista on, as I had assumed but this proves to be suffiient for Windows XP.

Starting up the machine in Windows XP was easy. There was the familiar screen of Omnipass that allows the user to log in with his fingerprint – a good alternative to trying to recall hard-to-remember passwords. For a machine that’s still running in the lower of the 1-2 GHz range, starting up is faster than expectation – mind you, this is a new machine and had not been subjected to the evils of mountains of software installation.

LCD screen and digitizer

I was eager to test out the tablet mode and hastily logged in and twisted its screen so that it becomes an instant slate. Navigation with the stylus was easy – as long as you did your calibration before hand. As this is a passive digitizer, there’s no additional functions that allows you to use other parts of the stylus for other purposes, such as erasing your text or drawings. However, the pros of it is that it allows you to nagivate using your finger tip.

The digitizer recognises gestures and writings very well and is not affected with your palm resting on the screen. Its sensitivity is precise and accurate, leaving very little fuss with whatever I wanted to do. Overall, I think Fujitsu had done a good job on it.

Peripherals

Used as a normal notebook, the mouse pad that I am so used to is sorely missing. In it’s place is a mouse stick which requires a little bit of familiarizing. The good thing about having a passive digitizer is that it allows you to scroll by just moving the scrollbars with your fingers – no fumbling over the stylus as with an active digitizer. To a certain extent, it is as convenient as it can get – until I am used to the mouse stick.

The keyboard is confined to a space of slightly more than 9 inches diagonally – and probably needs a little getting used to for people with bigger palms and fingers. However, the pitch is the keys is really confortable and there is very little mistyping, if any at all. The keyboard layout is the same as most other Fujitsu notebooks – with the use of the Fn function key to access the Page Up/Down and Home/End keys. While this may sometimes be a little daunting for first-time users, it becomes intuitive with time.

Display

This ultraportable also comes with function buttons just below the screen, which allows the user to configure and access frequently used programs at the touch of a button. There is also a function button that allows – at a single press – to toggle the backlight in the LED, hence allowing the user to turn of the backlight without turning off the monitor entirely. This is allows a quick toggle of the backlight to save power when the laptop is not in use momentarily without having to meddle with the actual LCD display. Think of it as putting the LCD brightness to the dimmest possible at a single touch.

Connectivity

The SIM slot that enables 3G capabilities is located behind the battery – and this means having to remove the battery and slipping the SIM card in. At first instance, I thought this was rather anti-intuitive. However, on second thoughts – it prevents the SIM card from being accidentally removed, or worse, stolen. Connection to the local 3G network was a breeze as the P1610 comes with a pre-installed network that makes connection as easy as firing up notepad. It also comes with wireless LAN capabilities that allows connection to A/B/G networks at the flick of the switch on the side. However, do note that this switch also controls the 3G connectivity, so selective wireless connection would have to be done via the application that comes with it.

Configuration

The P1610 also comes with standard ports, including 2 USB ports, 1 set of audio in/out, 1 SD slot, 1 PCMCIA slot, 1 VGA output port, 1 10/100Mbps LAN socket and a 56 Kbps modem socket. A Keningston port is also available for securing your P1610. At the bottom of the laptop is a docking port for an optional port replicator.

The laptop has a maximum memory configuration of 1 GB of RAM, which I suspect may not be sufficient for Windows Vista – and this should be a consideration if you have an option for the Operating System to be installed. It also comes with a 1.8 inch 80 GB HDD, which is partitioned into 2 drives. It should be generous enough for most usage as the largest 1.8 inch drive that is available in the market at this point is only 120 GB. The user should consider external storage if more hard disk space is desired.

Conclusion

Overall, the P1610 can be described with one word – sexy. It’s small built with a bundle of functions and crystal clear screen makes it an ideal companion to bring along for travel and redefines mobile computing in its own class. While a mouse touch pad would have been desired, I have no qualms sacrificing it for the power that it packs for its weight.



Reader's Comments

  1. Miccheng | December 23rd, 2007 at 1:37 am

    Looks good!

  2. Simon Dale | December 30th, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Hi,

    That’s a great article! Thanks for posting it.

    I also bought a P1610 with 3G recently, mine two days ago. I’ve posted some thoughts on my Blog http://www.havethat.co.uk also.

    You’re not the first person that I’ve read that doesn’t recommend Vista on the P1610 which is a shame. I tend to agree with you but I really miss Vista on this machine.

    The most annoying thing so far is the mouse stick. If you accidentally touch it whilst typing (which is inevitable) then it registers a click. So when typing I keep finding that I’ve clicked somewhere totally different and my text is somewhere totally unexpected!! I’m sure this can be turned off but I can’t find the setting yet. Have you managed this?

    I also bought a Sony VAIO G11VN on Friday for my Dad and I have to admit I’m really tempted to go and get myself one today. It really is a shockingly good machine. Its has a 12.1″ screen, DVD-RW, U1500 1.33Ghz, 2GB RAM, 100GB drive, 9 hours battery and it weighs less than the P1610…only 1.13kg. I even weighed it next to mine (mine with extended battery) and it is lighter. Its carbon fibre and incredibly sexy! Oh, and it has a trackpad! I also got him a 3G datacard to fill that gap.

    I’m so tempted to buy one and put the P1610 on ebay… I should give it more of a chance though!! Have you tested the screen outside yet?

    Thanks a lot

    Simon

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