Fujitsu Lifebook T900 review

Is this Windows 7 tablet an iPad rival?

Image 1 of 3 Fujitsu Lifebook T900
Fujitsu Lifebook T900
Image 2 of 3 Fujitsu Lifebook T900
Fujitsu Lifebook T900
Image 3 of 3 Fujitsu Lifebook T900
Fujitsu Lifebook T900

Fujitsu takes tablets back to business with a twist.

Fujitsu has taken all the glamour of multi-touch consumer tablets and repackaged it for the suits. It ain’t cheap and sure don’t look like no iPad but it is ripped with next generation components and a slinky multi-touch screen. As a business model, it doesn’t have much the way of competition.

For years, tablet laptops were business booties designed to perform yawn-inducing niche tasks. Then manufacturers realised there might be a market for chic consumer models but refused to call their products tablets for fear of offending the masses.

Now, with Apple’s iPad and multi-touch tablet technology wooing planet Earth, Fujitsu is taking this year’s in thing and taking it back whence it came – business. Enter the T900. It’s heavy; it’s purposed for business and too expensive but it does what it does well.

More on tablets:
Apple iPad Review: Full Test
Apple iPad WiFi + 3G review
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Fujitsu Lifebook T900: Design and build

Compared to consumer tablets, the T900 wouldn’t muster more than a second glance. However, in the corporate world, it is a handsome beauty that is robust and well-designed. At 2.3Kg and with large dimensions, it is what you would diplomatically call big boned.

The model we reviewed has a standard issue gun-metal case on the inside with every other surface – including the keyboard – decked in matte black. Fujitsu has added nearly every kind of connectivity, port, LED and hotkey to the T900 so it looks too busy. It doesn’t say pick-up-and-play simplicity or ease of use.

But that’s kind of the point. If the T900 doesn’t have it out of the box, Fujitsu gives you more with an optical dock for £100 smackers. This adds more USBs than you could shake a stick at and an all-important HDMI-out if you need to output movies or company presentations, to high-def. There’s no Blu-ray optical drive for that job but you will get an all-format DVD drive for everything else.

The keyboard doesn’t have a chiclet finish so there’s no gap between the keys. If the board was on a chassis smaller than 13.3-inches this would be a problem, making it really difficult to type without errors. However, we found the board easy to type on for long periods, making it fine for creating office applications. This was aided by a firm bounce and oversize return and shift keys.

Fujitsu Lifebook T900: Display Nirvana

Where Fujitsu gets it bang on the money is that display. The T900 has a twist screen with a swivel base. This means the screen can be twisted 180 degrees in both directions. With the screen turned around, it can then be clicked down and locked in to tablet mode.

The screen has a wide-angle 1280x800 resolution with a LED backlit and matte finish to reduce glare. The colour balance is great and surprisingly vibrant for a non-reflective screen. It didn’t show our ugly mugs staring back at us when we used it over a range of applications but it does dull more in direct sunlight.

The screen is also very responsive. It’s no iPad screen but it is one of the better Windows based multi touch screens we’ve used. It is a shame then that Fujitsu doesn’t have a wider array of multi-touch applications to make the most of it - it only comes with Microsoft’s Touch Pack. At least Fujitsu pack in dual input functionality; the T900 comes with a digi-pen that can be used in tablet mode.

The T900 does have other cool features. We got the anti-drop protection to kick in after a couple of shakes and it is more secure than Fort Knox. It has biometric security and a stealth tracking anti-theft software so you can hunt the laptop down. We most loved the more pointless automatic ambient light sensor, which adjusts the LED display depending on how much light there is in the room.

Fujitsu Lifebook T900: Performance

The T900 is great to use and multi-task on thanks to 4GB and Intel’s Core i5 running at 2.53GHz – it helps that the touchpad is equally responsive to our commands. It comes with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition and TwinLoad Windows® XP Tablet PC Edition 2005

Our review unit had a small 160GB hard drive but it should ship with a bigger 360GB, though we were let down by the lack of a solid state drive on such an expensive machine.

The graphics are handled by Intel’s shared graphics. This can take up to 1.5GB of system memory to playback graphics but it’s not a dedicated card so it can only handle mid-range gaming at best.

This didn’t seem to have too much impact on how well the T900 performed. It didn’t have any trouble flying through a bit of You Tube HD playback while we left other applications running in the background.

Fujitsu claims between seven and eleven hours of playback from the battery, but we didn’t get anywhere near that time. We used Battery Eaters performance test on classic mode which drained the battery in a mere 83 minutes. That is awful for a model designed for mobile business use, so if you want the T900, buy the extra battery.