# Thursday, 08 March 2007

*Note : This post has been HEAVILY DELAYED I first started working on this in the hospital on the night my son was born and only NOW I've managed to finish it.

OK, so I've got a new baby son. But I also got another new baby before that as well and this post needs to go up soon cause there are a few other things which are related to this post.

I've recently gotten a new notebook to replace my Toshiba M200 after it's many years of service.

It's a Fujitsu P1610, and at first glance it looks like just about any normal notebook. Well, that's because you don't have a point of reference, let's try this picture.

Now it looks more impressive, the P1610 is an 8.1" Ultra Portable notebook.

It sports a 1.2Ghz Intel Core Solo processor. 80GB of hard disk and now has 1GB of memory after an upgrade from it's baseline configuration of 512MB. The screen has a native resolution of 1280x768, which for something this small, it's pretty rocking!  Now notice that this thing has only one central hinge and that only means one thing, this is a convertible Tablet PC!

Ever since using my first Tablet PC, I've already told myself there's no way I'm ever going to buy a non Tablet PC. And this Tablet has a few tricks up it's sleeve, first of all the screen is able to twist to the left.

And twist to the right.

But you can't twist it 360 degrees, you must always return the screen to the original position from the direction you went in. It's a nifty trick cause most tablets can only convert in one direction only.

The other neat trick the P1610 can do is it's touch screen, that's right it's a RESISTIVE touchscreen. That means that unlike an digitizer which my M200 uses, you can use anything to interact with the screen. Problem with resistive touch screens is that you can't have that natural writing position by resting your hand on the screen while you write, because a resistive touchscreen allows anything to be used to interact with the screen. The touchscreen on the P1610 is special in the sense that it allows anything with a errr.. low conductive rate to be used as a tapping device, which means nails, stylus, pen caps and other plastic like material work very well. But... it will not register motion made by something that's highly conductive say... your hand. Therefore in this case I can write on the screen with my hand resting on the screen just like with a Digitizer, BUT.. I can still use almost anything to tap on the screen so.. W00T!

Keeping our attention on the screen we see that a very interesting latch design.

It's hard to see, but basically... there is NO latch. It's just a flat piece of plastic that can be pushed to jut out on the other side to hold (not lock) the screen to the main body. It's interesting cause usually a screen latch always locks.

Another interesting design decision is the battery.

It's at the BOTTOM of the notebook instead of the top, also.. the battery is where the screen latch drops in to.. also you have to PULL the battery away from the body to remove it, so you can't remove the battery when the screen is closed.

Nested in the keyboard is the trackpoint.

Standard equipment on such a small notebook since a touchpad would use up too much precious space. And yes the keyboard is a bit tight but it's usable.. though I have been more error prone on it. If you have chubby fingers this is definetly a no go for you!

on the lower left corner of the screen sits 4 function buttons.

Page down, Page Up, Rotate screen, the tablet function button, and an ALT button which I have no idea what it does! The buttons can be customized so that holding them down performs certain actions like launch a program or something.

The lower right corner of the screen also has a few buttons

A quick backlight on/off toggle. And the power button.

As it is the in thing to do now the P1610 also has a fingerprint scanner.

Not only can you use it to logon windows, you can also use it as a scroll wheel. So sliding your finger across it works as if you rolled a mouse wheel.

The left side of the notebook is where the PC-Card slot, and wireless on/off switch is located. One gripe which I have though, the switch controls BOTH bluetooth and WiFi at the same time, I don't have a choice of which to turn on or off easily using the switch.

The right side has more stuff on it.

From Right to left, there's the power plug, usb port, mic jack, earphone jack,usb port, SD/Memory Stick slot, stylus silo.

The rear of the notebook is where the monitor jack hides (behind a non removable rubber cover) and the rotated modem and lan jacks, no doubt to save space internally.

My Thoughts On The P1610

The first thing my fellow programmers say when they see me pecking away on the P1610 is How the fark can you see anything on the screen? The 2nd thing they ask is How the fark can you code on the thing? But that's exactly what I'm doing, I just have a few more things to move around but... the P1610 will replace my M200 as my main workhouse notebook. Why? Because it's so easy to carry it around, and unlike the Sony UX it has a much more usable keyboard, and a higher screen resolution. Granted the Sony UX is smaller lar.

I have no problems using a lower spec machine, the P1610 is 1.2Ghz compared to my M200's 1.5Ghz, but numbers like this is starting to matter less and less. And I do believe that if I write and debug code on an average spec machine, it means that I am more aware of how my code performs and will be more alert in optimizing performance.

The 1GB RAM ceiling is a little limiting, but with ReadyBoost on Windows Vista the P1610 is more responsive than my M200 during high load situations. More on running Vista on this little machine in a future post.

The P1610 is small, light and doesn't compromise on power, making it an ideal machine to take around wherever I go wheter it's for a meeting, or I need to work away from my desk. The only real gripe I have is that once again I got a notebook with no integrated optical drive... this make it's my 3rd notebook without a built in optical drive that I have owned. My solution in a future post.

Other than that, I  have no regrets choosing the Fujitsu P1610 it's a small, lightweight, and quite capable ultralight notebook. Oh I'll just go ahead and say it... Ultra Mobile PC. ;)


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