Despite a handful of successes, Android devices still have yet to achieve a major breakthrough in the enterprise market, what with the omnipotence of the Apple iPad. So Fujitsu, looking to create a respectable contender, has released the Stylistic M532, a 10.1-inch, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) tablet designed for business users.
With powerful specs like an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 1280 x 800 display, and a durable build that meets a series of military endurance standards, the Stylistic M532 looks to be a capable device on paper. Did it fare just as well in practice?
Build & Design
The Stylistic M532 is one seriously sleek tablet, so it looks and feels great in the hands, but above all, it makes its MIL-STD-810G endurance surprising. This particular standard indicates that the M532 can not only survive, but can be operated in high altitude, extreme temperatures (-20 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius), and humidity up to 95%, while also providing protection from heavy vibration and dust. For a tablet that's meant for enterprises and usage in the field, it's good to know that the M532 is so tough.
That being said, seeing as the tablet measures only a third of an inch thick (8.6 mm), weighs only 1.2 pounds, and, at least on the outside, appears to offer little in the way of protection, I would be surprised if the M532 could actually survive anything but the smallest of drops. It may provide decent protection from the elements, but it just doesn't feel very rugged or like it could withstand that much rough and tumble, so I looked into the notes from the M532's testing (rather than testing it myself and risking being held financially responsible for a broken review unit).
The MIL-STD-810G drop test that the M532 was put through was a one meter drop onto two inches of plywood, once on each corner and once on each face. Sure enough, while the test results indicated that the unit "passed functional performance test" after each drop, it specifically noted that "some minor mechanical damage was observed."
So while the M532 should be lauded for maintaining such a svelte form while also offering protection from so many different hazardous environments, it loses points for not being able to withstand drops, the most common source of damage to a device being used in the field. What's more likely? That someone handling the M532 in a doctor's office accidentally drops it on the floor or that someone is attempting to use it in -20 degrees Celsius weather at 15,000 feet?
Its durability issue notwithstanding, there is very little to dislike about the design of the M532. Aside from the fact that it's light and feels good in the hands, it has a nice matte finish on the back to compliment the subtle Fujitsu branding (just the logo) and the red trim around the camera lens. Everything is logically positioned, with the rear speakers down towards the bottom to avoid being covered by the hands when being held, and both cameras being centered on the top edge of the front and back.
The top edge plays host to the power/standby button and 3.5mm headphone jack, while the volume rocker, micro USB port and a (covered) micro SD card slot are on the right side. The tablet does not charge via the micro USB port, however, which is a mild inconvenience. That's handled via the proprietary port found on the bottom of the device (which can also be used with an optional docking cradle accessory).
Display and Speakers
The 10.1-inch display on the M532 looks great with its 1280 x 800 resolution, and the sheen from the Gorilla Glass gives it a very sleek, professional look. That's not to say that it's a particularly reflective screen, though; at maximum brightness, the display looks great and the wide viewing angle certainly doesn't hurt.
Unfortunately, I did experience some issues with the screen's sensitivity. I regularly experienced issues with taps not registering, but the biggest problem was with commands that involved dragging my finger around the screen. If I was, for example, dragging my finger across the screen to move an item, the connection would arbitrarily get severed sometimes, and the item would get dropped. For a tablet that could ostensibly be used in situations that would call for the user to drag his or her finger around the screen to mark up documents, this could prove to be especially frustrating when the lines being drawn are broken up halfway through when the screen suddenly no longer detects the user's finger.
The speakers are a little on the weak side, even for a tablet. Part of this could be due to the fact that they're both small and rear-firing, which is never a good combination. Either four rear-firing speakers (e.g. Lenovo IdeaTab S2109) or two front-firing speakers (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) should do the trick, but not two diminutive, rear-firing speakers.
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