Fujitsu LifeBook T2020 Set New Standard for Tablet PCs

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Can Steve Jobs really re-invent the tablet PC and make it a success for Apple? Not if Fujitsu has anything to say about it. The Fujitsu LifeBook T2020 sets a new standard for convertible notebooks.

With the rumors floating around that Steve Jobs is quietly inventing Apple’s next portable device, perhaps a tablet PC, Jobs will have to crank up the creativity to beat what’s already available from other manufacturers. Although Fujitsu is one of the smaller computer manufactures and only has a small piece of the portable PC market, the company has been one of the industry leaders when it comes to tablets.

Fujitsu’s LifeBook T2020 is the latest in a long product line of Tablet PCs and Fujitsu has pulled out all the stops to build what the company considers to be the perfect convertible tablet PC, so much so that Apple may want to take a long hard look at the T2020 before building their own tablet.

Fujitsu chose to go the convertible route with the T2020 to broaden the unit’s market appeal. The T2020 sports a slim keyboard, which can be folded under the screen when in tablet mode. Keeping a keyboard part of the tablet equation adds very little in the way of bulk to the system, in other words, pure tablet users won’t be penalized by any increase in size or weight due to the T2020’s convertible nature. More importantly, because of the integrated keyboard and hinged display, the unit works great as a small notebook.

Weighing as just 3.5 pounds and measuring only 1.3-inches thick, the T2020 proves to be very compact – almost down to netbook size. To lessen weight and reduce thickness, Fujitsu did have to make a few compromises; the unit doesn’t have an integrated optical drive and only offers a few ports. Fujitsu does offer a $319 port replicator which mounts under the unit. That port replicator includes a DVD RW drive, as well as a bunch of ports and can work as a docking station that can be left at the user’s desk. The port replicator can be lugged around with the unit, but does add bulk to the package.

Fujitsu offers several configurations for the T2020, allowing the purchaser (or reseller) to choose different CPUs, memory, storage and connectivity options. Those who spend most of their time out in the field will be interested in the optional AT&T broadband connect, an integrated device that brings 3G WAN to the unit.

Our test unit retails for $1,549 and was configured as follows:
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor Ultra Low Voltage SU9400 (1.40 GHz).
Genuine Windows Vista® Business Service Pack 1.
12.1-inch WXGA enhanced indoor display with wide viewing angles and Active Digitizer
2 GB DDR3 800 SDRAM memory (2GB x 1)
160 GB SATA 150, 5400 rpm hard drive
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Atheros XSPAN (802.11a/b/g/draft-n)
Bluetooth Wireless v2.1
Integrated Fingerprint Sensor with pre-boot authentication functionality, embedded TPM, dedicated SmartCard slot, Fujitsu Security Application Panel
Digital microphone with noise cancellation
Spill-resistant keyboard
Lithium ion (six-cell, 10.8V, 5800 mAh) battery

Several options are available, ranging from an extended battery to a faster CPU to a solid state hard drive. We put the T2020 through its paces with Performance Test 7.0 from PassMark software – the unit offered an overall PassMark score of 506.5, which proves to be more than adequate for a Microsoft Windows Vista powered tablet. The included six-cell battery offered almost six-hours of use, which is quite impressive for such a small system. Users needing more battery life may want to opt for the nine-cell battery, which purportedly offers as much as 11 hours of usable life.

The unit offers decent ergonomics as either a tablet or a notebook. Some may find the keyboard a little cramped in notebook mode, while others will find the lack of a touchpad a major short coming – the unit does offer a "pointing stick" located in the center of the keyboard, like on a Lenovo ThinkPad.

In tablet mode, users will find four dedicated buttons that can be programmed to perform various functions. An integrated fingerprint reader is located on the bezel of the tablet portion of the notebook – it is easy to use when the unit is in tablet mode, but a little unwieldy when in notebook form.

The 12.1-inch WXGA is very bright and is viewable from a wide range of angles. The screen’s digitizer proves to be precise and works well from taking notes with the unit’s stylus, which is garaged in the front of the unit’s palm rest. The T2020 lacks a webcam, which would have been a nice feature – especially in tablet mode, where it could be used to embed still photos into a form.

Other than some minor missing features, the Lifebook T2020 is pretty hard to beat and should work well for both tablet and notebook users. The unit’s affordable price makes it even more attractive, while an abundance of options and accessories should help resellers eek some profit out of selling and supporting the T2020.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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