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Fujitsu Lifebook P1510D Ultra-portable Notebook

Holiday Buyer's Guide 2005
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The Ferrari isn't the only notebook on our shopping list.

You know you're either in for a treat - or a trick - when a box shows up at the door and you end up asking yourself, "can this box possibly be big (or heavy) enough to hold a laptop PC?" In the case of the Fujitsu Lifebook P1510D, it's mostly a treat to unpack and work with this incredibly light and small ultra-portable notebook. It also does double-duty as a convertible, meaning it also works as a non-Windows Tablet PC tablet. The screen can be swivelled and then closed closed, covering the keyboard completely, thereby morphing the box into tablet format.

By default the P1510D opens in clamshell orientation; the stylus is 4.3" long.

The P1510D weighs a mere 2.2 lbs (1 kg) with a standard 3 cell Li-Ion battery installed, and the external power supply/battery charger has to be seen to be believed - it weighs only 5.9 oz (167 g), making it more like a Lego than a real brick! The dimensions of both are also equally startling; the P1510D is only 9.3 x 6.57 x 1.36" (23.6 x 16.7 x 3.5 cm) (7.32" (18.6 cm) deep with the 6 cell battery installed, which also adds 5.5 oz or 156.3 g to the overall weight), and the PSU/battery charger is an unbelievable 3.5 x 1.6 x 1.2" (8.9 x 4.1 x 3 cm)! Carrying weight is hardly a consideration for this device and its various accessories: everything weighs in at under 4 pounds.

While small isn't always beautiful, nearly everything about this system is pretty darn good looking, even if diminutive in stature. The batteries are nothing to sneeze at, either: the default 3 cell battery is rated for 3.5 hours of battery life, and its 6 cell replacement rates twice that, or 7 hours. The display is likewise small: an 8.9" diagonal WSVGA display that doubles as a touch screen - outside dimensions are 7.7" (19.5 cm) long x 4.6" (11.7 cm) high - with maximum resolution of 1024x600 and 24 bit color. The unit does include a standard VGA output that can drive an external display at resolutions up to 1600x1200. Pretty impressive, for a mighty mite! An onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 handles all graphics functions, and reserves up to 128 MB of system RAM for optimal graphics and system performance.

The built-in CPU is an Intel Pentium M Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) 753, which runs at speeds up to 1.2 GHz; it automatically clocks down to half-speed when running on batteries. It comes with a 2 MB L2 cache and runs on a 400 MHz front side bus. The P1510D model we reviewed came with 512 MB of Micro-DIMM RAM; while the unit houses only one memory slot, it can handle up to 1 GB of total memory by replacing the existing module with a larger one.

The P1510 D also offers a RealTek ALC203 AC'97 Rev 2.3 compliant sound chip, with 18 bit stereo support, as well as headphone, microphone and stereo line-in jacks. A built-in microphone is also included with the unit. Both Wi-Fi (Atheros Super AG with 802.11a/b/g) and wired (10/100 Ethernet) networking are supported. The unit also offers two USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-11 port for the built-in modem, a compact flash (CF) slot that can handle a single Type I or Type II card, and a secure digital (SD) memory card slot as well. Our unit shipped with a 30 GB 4,200 RPM parallel ATA 100 hard disk installed; a 60 GB version is available as an add-on feature. There's also a pop-out stylus for those who want to use the unit in tablet mode, which makes a pretty functional mouse replacement.

There's a lot to like about this attractive little ultra-portable. Though compact, the keyboard has a good feel to it - though your reviewer's typing speed suffered enough to make him think about switching to a full-sized USB keyboard for extended use. Surprisingly, we couldn't find any CPU temperature monitoring tools that would report the Pentium M ULV's temperature to us, though both SpeedFan and CPU Wizard 2005 told us that the hard drive ran at temperatures of 38 to 42 ° C (100 to 108° F), both stayed mum about CPU temps. Performance was surprisingly snappy running Windows XP SP2 and various built-in programs and utilities: it's pretty darn usable as a portable office productivity machine (see our full-blown review for all the details).

At $1,649 (MSRP) for the P1510D as configured, this puppy won't break the bank by any means. You can pay about $200 less for a model with 256 instead of 512 MB of RAM, if you'd prefer. We could wish for more pre-installed software however - except for a handful of apps for the tablet such as DialKeys and EverNote, there isn't much added software for you on this device. There's not even anti-virus or anti-spyware utilities, though by mid-November the unit is supposed to include Microsoft Windows XP Tablet software. Santa certainly won't mind adding something this light and (ultra-)portable to the load on his sleigh. In fact, our colleagues at MobilityGuru.com liked it well enough to give it their Editor's Choice award.

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