Fujitsu ST5000 Series Tablet PC Full Review
It seems like all the excitement in the consumer Tablet PC market has recently been lent to Averatec’s C3500 and Toshiba’s R15 Convertible Tablet PC’s. Undoubtedly this is understandable. With prices for these models hovering between $1,100-$1,599 these are very tempting options – and for some value-minded consumers (especially students) a mandatory requirement.
However, before jumping on the Tablet PC bandwagon and making your purchase decision based on the two most popular consumer models, we recommend that you read further! The Fujitsu ST5000 series is a worthy heavyweight contender.
Case in Point(s)
1. Without any mention of the Fujitsu Tablet PC hardware itself, just the amazing support that this company offers after your purchase is something to consider.
2. In a nutshell, the quality of the Fujitsu ST5000 product is superior in just about every aspect, and you will get a solid machine period.
3. If ultimate mobility and connectivity is what you seek in your Tablet PC, this model literally defines “mobility”.
So What’s the Catch?
As with any device we have ever reviewed, the ST5000 is not without its flaws, and we will discuss our nitpicks (although minor) in this review. Additionally the cost of the ST5000 is going to range about 25%-45% more than you will pay for the Toshiba R15 or Averatec C3500. Is it worth it? Well we know it certainly would be to some people, so please read on to draw your own conclusions as to whether the ST5000 Tablet PC is the right choice for you.
|Clock speed||1.1 GHz|
|Core voltage technology||Ultra Low Voltage (ULV)|
|RAM installed size||512 MB|
|Max supported RAM||2 GB|
|Memory speed||333 MHz|
|RAM technology||DDR SDRAM|
|Hard drive size||60 GB|
|Hard drive||60 GB IDE Internal S.M.A.R.T.|
|Hard drive installed qty||1|
|Hard drive type||Portable|
|OS provided||Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition|
|CD / DVD type||none|
|Audio output type||Sound card|
|Audio input type||Microphone|
|Battery capacity||4400 mAh|
|Battery technology||Lithium ion|
|Installed battery qty||1|
|Max supported batteries||1|
|Mfr estimated battery life||5 hour(s)|
|Built-in devices||Wireless LAN antenna|
|Cache size||1 MB|
|Cache type||L2 cache|
|Max transfer rate||56 Kbps|
|Modem interface type||PCI|
|Modem protocols & specifications||ITU V.90|
|Modem type||Fax / modem|
|Chipset type||Intel 855GME|
|Data bus speed||400 MHz|
|Graphics processor||Intel 855GME|
|Video output interface type||AGP|
|Display (projector) diagonal size||12.1 in|
|Display (projector) technology||TFT active matrix|
|Max resolution||1024 x 768|
|Product line||Fujitsu Stylistic|
|Data link protocol||Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b/g, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet|
|Networking compliant standards||IEEE 802.11b/g|
|Networking type||Network adapter|
|Mobile technology||Intel Centrino|
|Notebook type||Tablet PC|
|Features||Locking device keyhole (cable lock)|
|Miscellaneous compliant standards||UL, CUL, TUV, ETSI, EN55024, UL 1950, EN 60950, ICES-003, CISPR 22 Class B, FCC Class B certified|
|Floppy drive type||None|
|Input device type||Digitizer, Tablet Pen|
|Interface provided||2 Hi-Speed USB, 1 Infrared, 1 Display / video VGA, 1 Modem Phone line, 1 Network Ethernet 100Base-TX/1000Base-TX, 1 IEEE 1394 (FireWire), 1 Keyboard / mouse Infrared, 1 Headphones Output, 1 Microphone Input, 1 Audio Line-in|
|Operating humidity range||8 – 85%|
|Max video RAM supported||64 MB|
|Video RAM installed||64 MB|
|Nominal voltage||AC 110/230 V|
|Power device form factor||External|
|Power device frequency required||50/60 Hz|
|Power device type||Power adapter|
|Removable storage native capacity||None|
|Removable storage type||None|
|Slot provided||2 Memory SO DIMM 200-pin, 1 (1 free) CardBus Type I/II, 1 (1 free) Memory Stick, 1 (1 free) SD Memory Card|
|Software||Microsoft Reader, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Fujitsu HotKey Utility, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003|
|Storage controller type||IDE|
|Service & support|| |
1 year warranty
Unlike the R15 and C3500 Convertible Tablet PC’s, The ST5000 is a “Slate”. While many users prefer a convertible-styled Tablet, others like the unique feel and unparalleled mobility of a Slate Tablet. The ST5000 offers exactly that and more. At only 3.3 pounds this machine is a laudable host to just about every feature a mobile professional demands.
The lightweight body and sleek streamlined case lends itself to the ultimate mobile computing experience. Beyond the super cool, ultra-modern design, the ST5000 feels exceptionally comfortable and secure to hold in your arm. The machine runs “mouse quiet” and stays comfortably cool, even during extended periods of use. User comfort is maximized by Fujitsu’s thoughtful suede backing that offers additional shielding from heat generated by the processor.
The right/front side of the unit is flanked by a row of buttons. The various easy access functions include Power On/Off, Ctrl+Alt+Del (LOL, We can’t live without this one!), launch email, screen orientation, escape, enter, function, security, launch Internet Explorer, display, customizable application launch, and launch “Fujitsu Menu”.
The “Fujitsu Menu” (software) in itself offers yet a whole group of handy controls that can be adjusted with your pen. With just a “tap” you can launch the Windows Control Panel, On-Screen Keyboard, Tablet and Pen settings, Fujitsu Display Controls, Display Brightness, Audio, Screen Capture, “Organize Favorites”, Power, Printers, LCD brightness MIN/MAX, Disable Button Panel, and customizable options.
Considering Fujitsu added both the hardware buttons and software controls, it is apparent that a good amount of thought was dedicated to the ST5000 user experience. I found myself relying heavily on both the buttons and the Fujitsu Menu constantly to set controls quickly. The combination alleviated frustrations I have experienced in the past when working with Slate Tablets that lack this feature.
Included in the Box…
– ST5000 Series Tablet PC
– Pen & Tether (to attach to unit)
– 2 Screen Overlays (with instructions)
– Getting Started guide
– User Manual
– Cleaning cloth
– AC adapter/charger
– warranty booklet/registration card
– Software and Recovery CD’s
As we discussed in our ST5000 “First Look” story, Fusjitsu deserves an honorable mention for including high-quality, customized screen overlays with the unit. I feel that a screen overlay is a necessary accessory to protect your touch screen from wear and tear. Although one school of thought suggests that the Tablet PC screen surface is made just for the purpose of writing, most damage will occur when small particles of dust are dragged across the screen by the pen. Eventually all touch screens will show signs of wear because of this reason. After shelling out $2,000 for a great piece of hardware, it is nice to know that the manufacturer cares enough to give you the basic necessities to use it without damage right out of the box.
The ST5000 unit that we reviewed has Fujitsu’s “indoor/outdoor” (160 degree wide viewing angle) display option. For less money, you can opt for the “indoor” display. Personally, I would prefer the indoor display as it is brighter and clearer for use under artificial light sources than the indoor/outdoor option. At 12.1″, and an XGA (1024×768) resolution, the display is just big enough to accommodate long-term viewing without excess eye strain. Anything smaller would be questionable.
The video chip is an Intel 855GME or better known as “Intel Extreme Graphics (2)”. This is the typical integrated graphics solution found on most current Centrino-based systems. To me this is a bit of a disappointment considering the somewhat steep price Point of the ST5000 series Tablet PC. I would rather see a 32-64MB dedicated graphics solution like the NVIDIA chip found in the Toshiba M200 model. Artists who might consider the ST5000 may wish to choose to look elsewhere for a Tablet PC if it will be used for 3D modeling or graphics rendering. Otherwise, the integrated graphics solution is just fine for standard business applications, internet, email and all common daily computer tasks.
The sound is generated by a Realtek ALC202 chip with wavetable, 3D effect, and 3D positioning. For a slate Tablet PC, the speakers are acceptable. Don’t plan to rock the house with your iTunes collection unless you purchase some good headphones or external powered speakers.
The ST5000 model we are reviewing has a 1.1 GHz ultra low voltage Pentium M processor 733 with a 2 MB L2 cache and 400 MHz FSB.
First, here are the good points: This chip runs and runs and runs! When carrying the Fujitsu with me for a day at work, I can relax and leave the AC adapter at home. Secondly, this chip does not create even a fraction of the heat that most Tablet PC’s and Notebooks generate. These two features make using the ST5000 a pleasure, keeping my arm cool while holding the Tablet and allowing me to carry the unit around for an entire workday without having to stop and recharge the battery.
Second, a minor gripe: The 1.1Ghz Pentium M is no speed demon. The machine although never “sluggish” or “unresponsive” can certainly take a bit longer to open some applications or performing large tasks like running a virus scan. Still, I the reduced performance is a fair trade off for the increased battery life and avoidance of uncomfortable heat dissipation.
Overall, I can honestly say that this chip is perfect for a slate Tablet PC in that it offers a truly “unwired” experience over a period of several hours. This is what a slate Tablet PC experience should be all about.
We used SuperPI to calculate the number Pi to 2 Million digits in this raw number crunching benchmark. This open source benchmark application allows the user to change the number of digits of Pi that can be calculated from 16 Thousand to 32 Million. The benchmark, which uses 19 iterations in the test, was set to 2 Million digits.
Comparison of tablet/notebook models using Super Pi to calculate Pi to 2 million digits (plugged in):
Fujitsu ST5000 Tablet PC (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M)
Fujitsu P7010 (1.1 GHz 512 MB RAM)
Fujitsu P7010 (1.2 GHz 512 MB RAM)
2 million places
Benchmarks for the Fujitsu ST5000 compared to the Fujitsu P7010 notebook with a 1.1GHz and 1.2GHz Pentium M processor configuration (simulating multiple computing tasks):
PC Mark 04
(1.10 GHz 512 MB RAM)
Fujitsu P7010 (1.1 GHz 512 MB RAM)
Fujitsu P7010 (1.2 GHz 512 MB RAM)
Web Page Rendering
DivX Video Compression
The writing experience with the ST5000 is impressive. This machine recognizes/converts the vast majority of my slop – even my cursive handwriting to nice clean text. With the screen overlay applied, the writing surface is not slick, but has a nice texture that makes writing and drawing with the pen a breeze. The included pen is by Wacom (electromagnetic) and requires no batteries. This type of pen and active digitizer screen combination offers the best possible input accuracy available.
2 USB 2.0 ports
Infrared port (IrDA 1.1-compatible, 4 mbps)
External monitor connector
Modem (RJ-11) jack
Ethernet (RJ-45) jack
IEEE 1394 connector
Wireless IR keyboard receivers
System interface connector
Trusted Platform Module (TPM); dedicated Smart Card reader slot; biometric fingerprint swipe sensor; Fujitsu Security Application Panel; Kensington lock slot
Fujitsu did a fantastic job of packing all the standard necessary expansion components and extra options into such a modestly sized form factor. The dual IR ports offer great flexibility when it comes to aligning an infrared keyboard.
Intel PRO/Wireless 802.11g w/ diversity antenna
Integrated Bluetooth 1.2 Radio
56K3 V.90 modem
10/100/1000 Base-T/TX Ethernet
It is great to see Bluetooth come standard on this device! I find it frustrating that many manufacturers choose to offer Bluetooth as just an optional add-on or leave it out completely. I see no reason to have such a portable machine tied to extra cables for no reason.
The ST5000 includes a 6-cell (4800 mAh) battery (standard). I was easily able to get around 4.5 hours per charge with Wi-Fi on! For the first time I felt like I was using a true portable. Since I use an Apple PowerBook as my regular daily portable, I am spoiled with the 5+ hours I usually get with each charge. The ST5000 comes close to my high expectations. When I am out and about, I hate to have to rely on a power outlet or bothering to carry around the AC adapter.
I have one minor gripe to mention with this. In comparison with other brands, Fujitsu is a bit skimpy with the software extras. I was also disappointed to see that the ST5000 did not come with any pre-loaded anti-virus software – not even the usual Norton Anti-Virus trial. Having this protection from the very first connection with the outside world is essential. Outside of this, the ST5000 includes the following software:
Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Fujitsu Display Controls, Fujitsu Hot Key Utility, Fujitsu Security Application Panel, Adobe Reader, MS Reader, Softex OmniPass
Fujitsu Customer Service/Warranty
I called Fujitsu’s Customer Support at 2:35 P.M. Arizona Time (5:35 P.M.) Eastern and was on hold until 2:37 P.M. I was warmly greeted by “Christie” at Fujitsu Support. Including the recorded phone options to talking to a representative, my total wait time was under 3 minutes. Great job Fujitsu! The ST5000 comes with a standard international 1-year warranty. Additional add-on service plans can be purchased through the manufacturer and range from $99-$299. A unique “Screen Damage Protection Plan” is also available. Details on these extended plans are on Fujitsu’s website.
-high quality components
-great integrated wireless and expansion options
-size, Weight and Battery Life
-backed by Fujitsu’s great reputation for customer support
-skimpy software bundle.
-docking station, optical drive not included
The Fujitsu ST5000 is a great choice for the right person. If you are looking for the “Lexus” of Slate Tablet PC’s, you can stop here. The ST5000 exudes elegance, functionality, mobility and connectivity desired by most every mobile computing enthusiast. With this compelling hardware combined with the excellent Fujitsu customer support, you can buy this Tablet with confidence. I give this model an overwhelming “Thumbs Up”.
“If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” – Ferris Bueller
Pricing and Availability
Barry J. Doyle