# Thursday, 04 February 2010

I've had experience with a few Fujitsu Tablet PCs, first with the Fujitsu P1610 then with the Fujitsu U1010 I found those two Tablet PCs to be EXCELLENT representations of Tablet PCs of their time. Then, recently I also got the ViliV S5 it's a great sturdy little device, but I was ultimately disappointed with the lack of Touch driver support from ViliV. And so... based on only the mere thought that Fujitsu has been making great Tablet PCs since way back. I came to acquire the Fujitsu UH900.

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fujitsu's latest device, once again like in my P1610 post just plain seeing the device doesn't fully reveal the size of the UH900. Well folks, it's roughly the size of a book.

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I guess that still doesn't help too much since books themselves don't exactly have a standard size.

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So let's go with a more traditional form of measurement then.

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So it's able 8 inches wide, and about 5 inches deep. It's roughly 1 inch high. So once again I've bought a pretty small notebook yet again. But of course there's more than size that's special about the UH900.

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The UH900 has very limited space for ports, and on the front of it you find (from left to right) a USB port, the speaker grill (normal strength, would never pass the chinese wedding dinner test like most notebooks), then you have the multi IO connector which contains the video and network ports, another USB port later and you'll find a simple SD slot, I haven't tried it yet but I'm gonna guess it's an SDHC slot.

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On the right is where you find the wireless toggle switch which controls both the wireless network radio and the bluetooth radio. And at the end is the power plug. The little grill in the middle seems to be a ventilation grill. I don't hear another sound coming from it so it couldn't be another speaker grill

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On the left you find the earphone plug and yet another ventilation grill. The rear of the device is completely devoid of anything except for a larger ventilation grill.

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Some of you might have noticed that I haven't mentioned the battery yet even though I've covered most of the angles. That's because the whole BOTTOM of the UH900 IS the battery. Removing the battery practically reveals the guts of the machine.

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Definitely the first time I saw a notebook's fan without opening it up. And for those of you celebrating the sight of a SIM Card slot... well that's the problem, it seems like it's JUST the SIM Card slot, I don't see any radio in the device manager... hmmmm... maybe it's hidden in the BIOS setting. Give me 5 minutes... Nope no setting to enable a GSM 3G modem in the BIOS although I did find something interesting, first of all there's a setting to set the touch screen to Tablet or Touch Panel mode. And secondly was an option to enable Virtualization Technology? Does the Atom Z530 support hardware virtualization?

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The battery while having a wide footprint is only about half an inch thick.. And because of the small size it's battery capacity is 7.2V at 1800mAh. For those of you who don't understand battery specs, let me give it to you in plain english. IT's a SMALL BATTERY!

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Open up the UH900 and you'll find the 5.6" screen sitting in between an EXTREMLY thick bezel. This thick bezel will probably get criticized a lot, but come on people! It's THIN enough already, some components had to go somewhere! Besides, with the wider footprint means you get a keyboard with more keys. And because I know some people are into this, here's a nice big closeup of the keyboard.

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The keyboard is sufficient enough for me, but then again my hands are small and I've also cut my teeth on the U1010 already so I guess if I can live with that I can live with this.

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The trackpoint of the previous Fujitsu U series convertible Tablets makes a come back sitting in the top right corner of the keyboard, on the top left are the mouse buttons. For those of you who are dismissing the weird placement of the trackpoint and buttons, realize that this is so that you can hold this thing like a book in your hands and still work the mouse. And with a weight of less than 500grams you'll be carrying this around a lot.

The power button is in the middle.

At this point when I was unpacking the device I was happily in love, with the sleek exterior (yes... glossy=fingerprint magnet), lightweight feel (though the UH900 is so light and thin around the silver trim area, it creaks a bit when you apply pressure), the nice wider keyboard, then I pressed the power button.

That's when IT greeted me. The screen came alive and I was greeted with the familiar Fujitsu logo BIOS bootup screen, only thing that wasn't familiar was this faint YELLOW tint. At first I freaked out because I thought there was something wrong with the screen, but then I remember what I read from the UH900's feature page. The UH900 is said to be SUNLIGHT READABLE, and true enough when I took it out in the sun the screen is visible with even at 30% brightness. Anyone who's used notebooks outdoors will tell you that you need a BRIGHT screen to fight the brightness of the sun, but the UH900 has the BEST SUNLIGHT READABLE SCREEN I'VE EVER SEEN. (Will snap a pic of this later)

But making the screen sunlight readable must have came at the price of getting a yellow tint on the display, this is most likely caused by the fact that the screen is being lit differently than the traditional backlighting that makes it sunlight readable. I would probably thought that my screen was defective and I should return it to the shop but check out what wallpaper Fujitsu used as default.

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The overall yellowish tinge of the background wallpaper almost hides the tint of the screen, it's as if someone decided to use this wallpaper as default to hide the fact that the screen doesn't appear fully white. (Note, I've tried and I tried and I tried, but I was unable to get a picture that shows the tint of the screen, maybe a video might work better later)

EDIT : After using the UH900 for a while more I noticed that the screen seems to need to a 'warm up' cycle. The longer and brighter the screen is on the faster it'll 'warm up' It seems to be the easiest to see the effect by running the screen at MAXIMUM brightness for about 10~20 minutes? Once it has warmed up the backlighting seems to be more balance, while the yellow tint is not visible anymore the screen does look a bit dull... but at least doesn't look like it's looking through a sepia filter.

Slightly disappointed by the screen quality, but luckily my profession doesn't require me to have perfect white balance on my screen. I continued to play with my new toy. Did I mention that the Fujitsu UH900 has a MULTI TOUCH Touchscreen? This is confirmed by a quick look at the computer properties under Windows 7.

And this I thought to myself, THIS IS WHY I SHOULD HAVE STUCK WITH FUJITSU, cause they've had experience building tablet PCs, and they've been putting the RIGHT drivers in them (Shame on you ViliV!)

The touch screen works as nice as the one in the U1010, people would probably want to ask right now is it a hard touch or a soft touch screen. I don't know how to answer that since no one actually pointed out to me what is a hard touch and what is a soft touch before. I can tell you that it responds pretty nicely when I tap it with my fingernail.

That's right.. my fingerNAIL, those of you familiar with touchscreens knows what that means. The UH900 is not using a capacitive touch screen, it's using a resistive one. So it's a multi touch resistive touchscreen. Those of you hoping for a nice glass top on the UH900 can start groaning now. Personally I haven't found much difference between the 2, but then again I've been using touchscreens for a while now so I pretty much know how to get the best use out of it.

So I started testing it out and I noticed the first problem with the screen, it has a sort of sensitivity void around the top and bottom edges. Let me illustrate with a picture.

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Basically it's VERY VERY VERY hard to touch the center top and bottom edges, I've tried recalibrating the heck out of the touchscreen just to be sure it wasn't me but... no dice. it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to touch those 2 areas. Fujitsu DROPPED THE BALL ON THE UH900'S TOUCH SCREEN! I couldn't believe it, and it really hurts me to type the last sentence. And then there's another problem that I encountered. It's regarding the 2 columns of touch buttons on either side of the screen bezel.

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They just don't want to work for me! I tried pressing the square, pressing the icon, but nothing happens! Pressing the square works as if I tapped the extreme left corner of the screen but that's it.. nothing happens. I've checked the Fujitsu program for configuring the buttons but they're all setup properly! I just couldn't believe how Fujitsu could ship drivers that didn't work properly!

EDIT : Hey I fixed this! After I published this I remembered that Fujitsu has it's OWN tablet calibration software, so I had to go into the Control Panel, View by Small Icons, then find the Tablet Calibration item. Remember we're looking for the Fujitsu one, not Windows one. Perform calibration using Fujitsu's program, then go to Windows own Tablet PC Settings control panel applet, RESET calibration data first, THEN Calibrate again. Now I can hit the side buttons as well as the screen edges better. Still pissed that Fujitsu didn't tie the calibration in properly though.

And on another note, which I think is related to the sunlight readable screen again. If you look at the screen at a proper angle, you can see the grid wires that make up the touchscreen.

Some additional notes about the touchscreen for those of you who are interested. You cannot open up the screen to be fully flat on the table, so if you choose to write with the included stylus strap (there's no stylus silo in the device) or any other stylus (I'm planning to nab a nice DS stylus myself) you'll have to support the screen with one hand, it's not too hard since the screen is small and light. There doesn't seem to be any sort of palm rejection, not even the type that was present on the U1010 which ignored large pressure areas.

I can't really answer performance and battery life questions yet but from first impressions. Yes, the battery does seem like it'll only give you about 2 hours of active time, the only advantage here is that because the screen works well in sunlight, there are situations where you can actually turn down the brightness more than a normal notebook. On that note... do that many people use notebooks in the sun to make it a feature? Here in Malaysia doing so would mean you're basically frying yourself under the sun.

Performance wise, the 1.6Ghz Atom processor coupled with the 2GB of RAM helps to give it that extra kick when using the system. Also helps that the UH900 ships with a 64GB SSD drive. (drive performance index under Windows 7 is 5.9) The UH900 is using the GMA500 for graphics display so while it doesn't do miracles for games playing a 720P H.264 encoded video using Windows Media Player is PERFECTLY POSSIBLE due to the fact that it knows how to access the GMA500 for hardware decoding of the video stream. 1080P... not so possible.

And that's it for my initial impressions, just let me know if you'd like to ask me any more questions about the device. But first let me answer that nagging "Should I get one?" question.

NO WAY IN HELL! I'm serious disappointed at Fujitsu about this, I can live with the yellow tint on the screen, I can deal with the relatively short battery life (compared to the S5) but what I just can't figure out is why the heck does the touchscreen has that sensitivity problem on the screen edges. This is Fujitsu we're talking about here, the company that has been making Windows Tablet PCs since the VERY BEGINNING. I TRUSTED THEM to give me a great touch screen experience, I trusted them so much I bought the UH900 WITHOUT ANY PREVIOUS EXPRIENCE WITH IT (yes, I'm a stupid consumer, should have done more research, bla bla bla)

If I could return it, I WOULD! Then I'll go get myself the U2020 or maybe even just a new battery for my U1010. Ok, hope you've enjoyed my little short story about the Fujitsu UH900. ;)

EDIT : So... now that I've sorted out both the touchscreen and yellow tint issues of the UH900 I'd change my recommendation from No Way In Hell to You can buy it if you feel like it. Try it out, if you like the form factor and are comfortable with the price. Go ahead. Just be aware of how to recalibrate the screen and how the screen color changes while in use.


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