by Tyler Robertson
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 Tablet PC User Review
After about three months of waiting for the Santa Rosa platform and two months of searching, I finally decided on the Fujitsu T4220. Unlike my experiences with the other two companies I was contemplating I received no shipping delays, and no double orders. Fujitsu is a great company and it shows in the design and build of the T4220.
The Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 converting into tablet mode. (view large image)
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 Tablet PC Specs as reviewed (tested price $2,000)
Reasons for Buying
I am entering my first year of college in a couple of weeks and I am studying electrical engineering. Although typing advanced mathematical and physics equations seemed like loads of fun, I would much rather write them with a tablet.
At first I wanted a gaming tablet that was lightweight, small and powerful. This posed a problem since such a tablet does not exist yet. Eventually I looked around in my room and noticed my three gaming consoles and began wondering… ‘Why don’t I just play on these?' I came to my senses and realized I would rather have the fastest lightweight tablet money can buy than an 8lb hog. The Fujitsu T4220 seemed to fit the bill the best. It was one of the only ones available with a fully fledged Core 2 Duo processor on the Santa Rosa platform. Fujitsu also offers enough customization options to make Sonic Drink founders jealous.
Design and Build
The T4220 is solid in design and construction. The lid is matte black, which looks great while hiding fingerprints. The bezel is light silver and accented by a white keyboard. The keyboard being white won’t hide much dirt, but it sure does look great next to the silver. One thing I really liked about the design is the pen placement. Some people complain that it is ugly and in the way, but I think the exact opposite. I never have to worry about the silo scratching the pen, forgetting if the pen is in the silo or buying a replacement pen that won’t fit in the silo. All of those problems cease to exist with the T4220’s pen placement. Another great feature is the bi-directional hinge, which will get heads turning. It is so nice to be able to turn the screen right or left depending on who is sitting next to you and wants to see. I will also rest a little easier knowing that my brother or sister can’t accidentally try to force the screen in the wrong direction and damage the hinge.
My best efforts to produce ripples were laughed at by the very durable tablet screen. I doubt I could produce a ripple even if I stood on it. (By the way there is actually a video of someone demonstrating this on the Internet somewhere. Crazy!)
The T4220 in notebook mode. (view large image)
I didn't notice any screen wobble on this tablet. If I poke hard enough with my stylus the tablet will lift off the ground though. Rotating into tablet mode is easy and the screen snaps into place with no problems There is a little bit of a gap (about 1 cm) between the back of the screen and the keyboard while in tablet mode. If you are in a car you may notice it jostling about a tiny bit.
Walking around with the T4220 is a breeze. I am used to an 8lb beast, so it is nice to have this lightweight machine. It has many great features, but I really liked the modular bay drive because if you ever need to double your battery life or lose half a pound just flip the switch.
However there are a couple of things I think could have been improved. The built in vibration sensor is a little annoying. I know it is designed to protect the hard drive in case of fall, but if the tablet is on my thigh and I tap my foot the alarm goes off. Even on the most relaxed setting the alarm goes off. I ended up just turning it off completely… way too sensitive. I also wish there was some dedicated volume buttons or a volume scroll somewhere on the body of the machine. Not an issue, but something they could have included.
Wow! That is the first thing that came out of my mouth when this machine was powered on. This is my first tablet so I was expecting a little graininess, but there was none present. The T4220 display looks almost exactly like a regular notebook, which wasn’t something I was expecting. The colors are rich and vibrant and movies like Terminator 2 look fabulous.
One thing I was worried about was the XGA resolution being too cramped for me, but I love it. It is the perfect size for me and I couldn’t imagine a higher resolution. Nothing is cramped and as I write this I have four windows open not including iTunes.
The T4220 in tablet mode. (view large image)
I didn’t go for the indoor/outdoor screen, but I did get the wide viewing angles. If you plan on using this in direct sunlight often I would opt for the outdoor screen because it becomes virtually useless under the sun. Under the lights or in the shade it looks great and works flawlessly, not too reflective at all. The viewing angles are great… so great it is kind of worrisome. I don’t want a nosy neighbor at Starbucks seeing whatever I have going on.
Using the screen in tablet mode is easy. It gives you some friction so it feels like you are actually writing on paper instead of glass which is neat. The screen automatically orients itself when you flip into tablet mode and the rotate buttons work like they are supposed to. There is also a small LCD screen, which displays the status of the machine (battery life, wireless, etc).
The speakers are well placed at the front of the tablet, but aren’t the most powerful. The sound is crisp and clear and if you increase to max volume you don’t get much distortion. Volume gets pretty loud… a lot louder than I expected those little speakers to go. As I was watching Minority Report, my sister was sleeping in the next room over and I woke her up. If you want better sound quality there is a very convenient headphone jack on the front.
Processor and Performance
The system I have came with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 processor, a 80GB 5400 rpm HDD, and 4GB Ram (2 x 2GB). It is fast. I am coming from a slow laptop and a custom built gaming desktop, so the T4220 is a major improvement. Beyond the superior graphics card of the desktop this machine gives it a beat down. Did I mention it is so fast! I tried slowing this system down, but I don’t even have enough programs installed yet to tax it fully. I am extremely impressed with the performance so far.
Booting up is quick. It takes less than a minute from pressing the power button for me to be fully productive. Restarting is just as quick.
I haven’t tried too many games. F.E.A.R. ran on the lowest settings possible, but it ran. The only other game I have tried is Rise of Nations and it ran perfectly fine without changing any settings. I can’t say I’m too impressed with the X3100 graphics, but I’m optimistic about the driver updates boosting my performance.
Comparison Results for PCMark05
PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole:
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||3,911 PCMarks|
|HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||2,453 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||3,473 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics)||4,171 PCMarks|
|Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,205 PCMarks|
|LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300)||2,568 PCMarks|
|Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,187 PCMarks|
|HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150)||3,052 PCMarks|
|Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics)||2,724 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)||2,860 PCMarks|
|Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV)||1,390 PCMarks|
|Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950)||2,732 PCMarks|
In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits:
|Notebook||Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 2s|
|HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)||1m 39s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo)||1m 10s|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo)||54s|
|Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo)||1m 58s|
|LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo)||1m 49s|
|Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo)||2m 10s|
|Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo)||1m 20s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)||1m 24s|
|IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M)||2m 02s|
|HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 13s|
|Dell Latitude X1 (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M)||2m 40s|
|Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV)||2m 11s|
|Toshiba Portege M400 (1.83GHz Core Duo )||1m 19s|
Comparison Results for 3Dmark05
3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, and overall the T4220 did about average.
|Notebook||3D Mark 05 Results|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics)||841 3DMarks|
|HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics)||634 3DMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics)||812 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics)||925 3DMarks|
|Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||500 3DMarks|
|LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300)||1,392 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150)||810 3DMarks|
|PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950)||590 3DMarks|
|Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950)||519 3DMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,092 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)||2,273 3DMarks|
Below are the results from running the HDTune benchmark that tests hard drive performance:
Heat and Noise
On AC power or if the system is ever on high performance it gets a little hot on the bottom. The suede patches help, but it is still noticeably warm. It isn’t uncomfortably hot, but it is warm to the touch. The air being pumped out of the vent however is HOT. I wouldn’t recommend holding the tablet where the vent is blocked… you are asking for it to overheat.
Fan noise is not an issue. I don’t ever hear it running unless I put my ear up to the machine. Obviously when I ran the benchmarks the fan kicked it up a notch, but it is still hardly audible.
The modular drive is loud. It spins loud, but I think most do. If you are in a crowded library I wouldn’t recommend utilizing the drive. I can’t think of a reason I would be using the drive in a crowded/quite environment but nevertheless. Overall the machine is quite and although there is some heat it really isn’t an issue.
I like the keyboard. It has a little bit of flex, but that really softens the keys up, which is my personal preference. If you prefer a rigid keyboard it might annoy you a bit. The keys are white, so they will get dirty. I wipe mine off with a cloth after every use so hopefully I can keep them as "new" looking as long as possible. One thing I really wish Fujitsu would have included is easy access buttons above the keyboard… or anywhere. I don’t like having to control the volume through the speaker icon.
The T4220 keyboard. (view large image)
I am so glad Fujitsu decided to go with a touchpad. I am not too fond of trackpoints found on Lenovo’s X61 and HP’s 2710p. Having said that I think it would have been a wise decision to include both and appeal to a wider audience. The touchpad has a nice feel. It is slick enough to move around quickly, but not too slick that your finger slips all over the place. It sort of reminds me of alligator skin.
The pen input was a lot easier than I expected. I have absolutely horrible hand writing. I am the only one who can read it and a lot of times I find myself saying ‘what the heck does this say.’ Windows Vista hand writing recognition has really impressed me. After about 24 hours of use the machine very rarely missed ANY words I wrote in my chicken scratch. Writing on the screen is also painless and erasing is fun. There is a fair amount of friction to resemble a piece of paper, which is nice. I never found myself slipping around or wishing for more response. It was quite accurate.
The pen input on the T4220. (view large image)
I absolutely love the pen placement (as stated earlier). The screen sits perfectly in the center of the lid and the pen clicks into the silo on the left. Fujitsu included a tether so you can attach the pen to the tablet, which I did within the first five minutes of use (I lose a lot of things). The pen itself is good, not great but good. They could have put a little more weight on it to resemble a higher quality pen rather than a plastic one.
My first real qualm with the system is the placement of USB ports and locks. There are two USB ports on the back and one on the left. I am right handed so the placement of USB ports kind of annoys me. I have to run a cable to the back to hook up a mouse. Another thing is the locks. There are two on the right and that is it. There shouldn’t be two in my opinion and if there are going to be two one should be on the left and one on the right.
Beyond that there is a nice array of ports to choose from. On the back you get a VGA out, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, 56 k modem, and two USB ports. There is also a 3-in-1 memory card reader on the front. A cool feature is the silver covers that go over the ports on the back to protect from dust and it adds to the overall look.
Front view of the LifeBook T4220. (view large image)
Left side view of the ports. (view large image)
Right side view of the ports. (view large image)
Back view of the LifeBook T4220. (view large image)
Not much to write home about here. I didn’t opt for any Bluetooth, but it came standard with 802.11 a/g/n. I didn’t have any problems connecting to my secure network or any network like Starbucks or Barnes and Nobles either. I don’t have an N router so I can’t comment on the speed, but once I get to college I will. Signal strength is good; I get five bars wherever I go in my house or backyard.
Battery life has been a lot better than some have speculated. I managed 4 hours and 53 minutes from 100% to complete shutdown on power saver mode, with wireless on and while Web browsing. I have the modular battery, but I haven’t had enough time to do a thorough drain test. Battery meter shows 4 hours 15 minutes at full charge so if I went by that I could have a grand total of 9 hours battery life. That is more than enough for me and probably everyone else.
Recharging from 0% takes a good hour and a half to two hours. I would say an hour for 0% to 80% and another half hour or so from 80% to 100%. Not bad at all in my opinion.
Operating System and Software
I am running Windows Vista Business, which is great because I don’t get the annoying media center. One thing that annoys me a little bit is the sticker. I have a Vista Home Basic sticker. I guess they either don’t make a business sticker or it was a mistake. Beyond the sticker issue I really like Vista. It has truly been optimized for tablet input. Pen flicks are great for copying, pasting, deleting, scrolling on web pages, etc. You can really tell Microsoft put a lot of thought into designing it to work on a tablet.
The only software I have installed is Office 2007 Enterprise and a couple of games. Office is great, but when I learned it in high school it was on Office 2000. This looks completely different and will take some getting used to.
Fujitsu didn’t add very much bloatware. I only had to remove two or three programs which I didn’t want. The Shock sensor utility is annoying as I stated earlier, but that is about the only quirky Fujitsu software that was factory installed. I appreciate companies that don’t load their products with bloatware and waste consumers time.
I am very pleased with my purchase and can’t think of any other machine I would rather have. From the beautiful screen to the solid tablet functionality this is a well built and well designed machine. The weight, battery life and functionality make this one of the best laptops/tablets I have ever seen.
I would recommend this to any college student or business professional in need of a lightweight powerful machine. The Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 blew away all of my expectations.
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