Fujitsu ST5000 Series Full Review

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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.





Our ST5000 Grand Tour:


This machine is less than an inch thick.




Angle 1




Angle 2




Wacom electromagnetic Pen




Ethernet, modem, kensington lock, ac in and infrared ports.

 


Fantastic “quick access” hardware buttons and built-in mircrophone.




Scroll and screen rotation controls, infrared #2 to the right.




Biometric fingerprint swipe scanner, USB 2 ports, headphone and mic jacks, IEEE 1394



Full Specs

Processor Pentium M

Clock speed 1.1 GHz

Core voltage technology Ultra Low Voltage (ULV)

Processor manufacturer Intel
RAM
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
Modem
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

Features Transmissive

Max resolution 1024 x 768

Monitor features Transmissive
General
Model ST5010

Packaged quantity 1

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
Depth 12.8 in

Height 0.8 in

Weight 3.3 lbs

Width 8.7 in
Designation Small business

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

 

 

 Overview of Form Factor, Features and Design

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
– Battery
– 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.



Display/Graphics

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.


Sound

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.



CPU

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.



Benchmarks

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):


Super Pi

 

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

2m 37s

3m 05s

2m 48s



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

 

Fujitsu ST5000 

(1.10 GHz 512 MB RAM)

Fujitsu P7010 (1.1 GHz 512 MB RAM)

Fujitsu P7010 (1.2 GHz 512 MB RAM)

File Compression

1.98 MB/s

2.0 MB/s

2.37 MB/s

File Encryption

16.04 MB/s

16.13 MB/s

17.5 MB/s

File Decompression

13.91 MB/s

14.31 MB/s

15.41 MB/s

Image Processing

6.42 MPixels/s

6.42 MPixels/s

6.88 MPixels/s

Virus Scanning

1374.1 MB/s

1363.87 MB/s

1374.93 MB/s

Grammar Check

1.67 KB/s

1.62 KB/s

1.82 KB/s

File Decryption

31.92 MB/s

32.36 MB/s

34.19 MB/s

Audio Conversion

1465.44 KB/s

1488.89 KB/s

1587.01 KB/s

Web Page Rendering

3.28 Pages/s

3.03 Pages/s

3.56 Pages/s

DivX Video Compression

31.65 FPS

30.32 FPS

32.87 FPS

Physics Calculation

58.13 FPS

57.18 FPS

57.71 FPS

Graphics Memory

240.95 FPS

237.44 FPS

243.43 FPS



The Touchscreen

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.



Ports/Expansion

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.


Wireless/Communications

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.

 

Battery

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.

 

Included Software

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.


Pro’s:


-high quality components
-great integrated wireless and expansion options
-size, Weight and Battery Life
-backed by Fujitsu’s great reputation for customer support

Con’s:

-skimpy software bundle.
-docking station, optical drive not included


Final Thoughts

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
TabletPCReviewSpot.com

 


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