Fujitsu aims for mini computing

Fujitsu aims for mini computing

Instead of calling its LifeBook U1010 an ultraportable or ultramobile portable PC, Fujitsu calls it a mini-notebook, which might be more of a marketing term than a specific product category.

The company has taken a Windows PC - users can decide whether to have Vista or XP pre-installed - and shrunk it as much as possible so it can be carried more easily than a standard or an ultralight notebook. The convertible design lets the U1010 be used as a notebook (with a keyboard) or - by swivelling the screen - a tablet.

The little U1010 may weigh just 700g but it's a heavyweight in terms of features including Intel's A110 processor (800MHz, 512KB of Layer 2 cache and a 400MHz front-side bus); 1GB of system memory; a 5.6-inch touchscreen with WSVGA resolution (1024 x 600 pixels); a 40GB hard drive; integrated digital camera and Webcam (VGA resolution), wireless LAN (802.11a/b/g) and Bluetooth connectivity.

An included dongle supports Ethernet connections and a VGA connection for an external monitor. The device includes has a Compact Flash card slot and Secure Digital card slot for additional memory storage (or for transferring fi les), and has one USB 2.0 port for additional peripherals. Security features include an integrated fingerprint scanner, BIOS lock and support for the Trusted Platform Module.

With full support for Windows applications, the U1010 is much smaller and lighter than a standard tablet PC, so it should be attractive to healthcare professionals and others who are away from their desk for long stretches and don't want to carry around a heavy notebook. For many years, users who've wanted the ultimate in mobility have had to sacrifice performance or other features to get something lighter or smaller, and Fujitsu has done a good job at providing most, if not all, of the key features that notebook users need.

In addition, the company claims a single battery will last up to 5.5 hours, which is impressive considering that no extra, heavy batteries are needed. Although a single battery charge won't last a full work day, as some companies would prefer, it's long enough for road warriors to get some work done while travelling without having to worry about their battery dying.

We're not sure why Fujitsu didn't include a wireless WAN-connectivity option. This may limit organisations that have to be in locations where WLANs aren't ubiquitous. Some enterprises could be wary of the integrated digital camera-Webcam, but others may like this feature if their workers need to take photos on the road or hold videoconferences. In addition, the unit we tested had Windows Vista preinstalled, and it seemed to run slower than we would have liked. Fortunately, this unit can be ordered with Windows XP.

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