First Looks: Fujitsu Tablet-Convertible UMPC U1010

The Mini Me, Literally

The Mini Me, Literally

At first sight, the Fujitsu tablet-convertible UMPC U1010 really resembles a mini notebook and in fact, it is even a tablet. It might seem a little on the bulky side, however when we picked it up, it fits just nice and handy, like a novel you can bring to bed with. But don't take what we say for granted, it's better to pick a unit up yourself to get a first hand experience of the world's smallest tablet-convertible UMPC from the Japanese company, Fujitsu.

Buffet of goodness

First announced at the Fujitsu Forum earlier this year, the Fujitsu LifeBook U1010, previously known as the LifeBook FMV-U8240, has a buffet of goodness to offer to consumers. At the top of the list is the small form that it arrives in, instantly giving this UMPC an edge over the others in the market. The swivel screen display allows for a gaming experience on the road, just like a hand held portable console device with the mouse buttons and the trackpad acting as the directional controls located at the corners near the hinges. Moreover, this UMPC allows for tablet PC usage with a stylus and touchpad utilities are also included. We ended up using the touchscreen mainly as the onboard buttons and controls seemed a tad inconvenient.

In comparison to other UMPCs of a similar size, we were surprised by the features that the Fujitsu U1010 managed to pack into its ultra tiny chassis of 171 by 133 by 26.5mm. These features include a fingerprint reader, an embedded camera of 0.3-megapixels, a SD card slot and a keyboard among others. Instead of the usual touchscreen keypads that most consumers find in most devices of its size, Fujitsu decided to integrate a QWERTY keyboard.

The Fujitsu U1010 also has a full set of connectivity options ranging from Bluetooth to WiFi options. It also comes with a single USB 2.0 port. Lastly, the Fujitsu U1010 has a pair of LED lights right at the top of the keyboard allowing the use of the UMPC even in dim light with the touch of a button.

À la carte of wishes

Despite all the goodness that was packed in the Fujitsu U1010, it's far from perfect. Due to its dimensions, it is almost impossible to pull off a full sized keyboard on this device, which means that while Fujitsu did make an attempt here, the result was that we ended up using just two fingers for input. Touch typing is out of the question, so heavy work, like writing a 5000 word thesis is not really feasible.

One of the apparent shortcomings of the Fujitsu U1010 is its 3 hours of battery life. At the cost of having additional bulk and load, consumers can prolong it to 6 hours by upgrading to a four cell battery.

Our thoughts

With its current price tag of S$1998, the Fujitsu U1010 UMPC is still not as good or cheap enough as a notebook replacement for consumers. However, if you are one who needs a full operating system while always on the move, the Fujitsu U1010 may just be the life companion for you. Nevertheless, the battery life does reduce its mobility slightly. However its small build and beauty may be sufficient to persuade some consumers.