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Fujitsu is not the first name that comes to mind
when people discuss the latest notebook computers and tablet PCs. The company
is hoping to change that by being one of the first out of the gate with Intel’s
Montevina (Centrino 2) technology incorporated into a convertible tablet PC.

Most convertible PCs are an exercise in compromise—dictated
by the need to serve two markets. While many offer the best features of both
notebook computers and tablets, they all suffer from the negatives of each.
Most convertibles are hampered by smaller screens and thicker bodies and suffer
from a weight penalty. Here, Fujitsu’s entry—the LifeBook T5010—is not that
different, but it does an admirable job of reducing those compromises.

The 4.5-pound T5010, which comes in at a list
price of $1,769, is powered by a 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 and runs
Windows Vista Business. To enhance the performance of Vista,
Fujitsu equips the T5010 with 2GB of RAM,
running at 533MHz. Of course, Fujitsu offers a plethora of other combinations
to meet the needs of most any user, including faster Core 2 Duo processors,
more memory and a variety of optical drive options.

Our review unit was on the bottom rung of the
feature ladder yet would still be considered loaded by most anyone’s standards.
The unit included a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, a 13.3-inch WXGA LED backlit
display, a 120GB hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW
optical drive, a fingerprint scanner, high-definition audio, Bluetooth,
Wi-Fi, a multitude of ports and Intel
GMA4500 on-board video graphics.

For those looking to noticeably increase Vista
performance, a worthwhile option would be 2GB of Intel Turbo Memory, which
enables Windows ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost technologies. Fujitsu does offer an operating
system downgrade service, where users can choose to install Windows XP instead
of Vista, but there is a catch—users must demonstrate
intent to purchase 25 units per year. Perhaps that indicates the lengths
Microsoft will go to, to kill off XP and promote Vista.

As notebooks go, the LifeBook T5010 is an
attractive unit. Users will find the bright glossy screen easy on the eyes and
visible under most lighting conditions. The screen is mounted to the unit with
a single metal rotating hinge, which is more durable than one would think.
Converting the unit from a notebook to a tablet takes just a light-handed twist
to the right and then the screen can be folded down onto the keyboard. There is
a dual-function lock on the top of the screen that can be used to lock the lid
down in tablet mode or to close the screen in notebook mode. Switching to tablet
mode automatically changes the screen orientation to mimic a sheet of paper,
and the 13.3-inch-wide screen emulates the shape and size of a piece of notepaper
quite well.

Those using the unit in notebook mode will find
the keyboard responsive and sized well, but a little on the flexible side and
the keyboard can feel a little spongy under hard typing. The integrated
touchpad does its job quite well, and users should be able to adapt to it very
quickly. The mouse buttons respond with an authoritative click and seem like
they could take a bit of abuse before giving up the ghost.