Windows 8 Tablet Hybrid Review: Fujitsu LifeBook T580 Convertible Notebook

Not everyone out there needs a device that functions both as a tablet and a laptop but for those that do, there are certainly some excellent options out there. Unfortunately, amid many solid choices there are also some less desirable models too. Windows8Update has made it a goal to sift through multiple different devices on the tablet/touch front , in order to try and help our users find the right devices to suite their needs. Today we take a look at the Fujitsu LifeBook T580 convertible notebook, an ultraportable laptop with a 10-inch display, nearly full-sized keyboard, and the ability to ‘convert’ into a tablet as well. So how does this device hold up? We’ll find out, but first let’s take a look at the system’s specs:

  • Intel Core i3 Processor at 1.33GHz
  • 10.1” LED backlight display with 1366×768 resolution
  • multi-touch and pen input
  • 2GB DDR3 RAM
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Smart Card Reader
  • 160GB hard drive
  • Intel HD Graphics
  • RealTek ALC269 Audio
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • Etherney Port
  • Audio Out Jack
  • Microphone Jack
  • VGA Port
  • HDMI Port
  • Integrated Wireless and Bluetooth
  • Weight: 3.19 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.63×1.56×7.44”
  • 6-cell Li-Ion Battery
  • Biometrics Fingerprint Reader
  • Cable Lock Slot
Not bad system hardware, at least at first glance. Now let’s put the system to the test, starting with look and feel.

Look And Feel

Like most of today’s laptops and tablets, the T580’s design is spartan, but functional. Less is more when it comes to design techniques, you don’t want a crowded ugly case, it should be simple but classy. The T580 certainly comes through here, and makes for a rather attractive design, though not exactly ground-breaking. Additionally, at just a tad over 3 pounds, this is a pretty light device for a convertible. Still, it does look a little chunky thanks to its thick 1.6-inch profile. Looks aside, the device feels well-built and sturdy. The hinge that ‘converts’ the device is easy to use and also feels very solid. While its no iPad or Kindle Fire when it comes to long term holding, it is quite comfortable as long as you don’t plan on carrying it everywhere you go for hours at a time.

Battery Life

Just make sure you get the 6-cell battery model (the link at the end of this review is for a model with a 6-cell)… if you end up with a 3-cell battery expect an abysmal performance when it comes to battery life. How bad? Just a tad over 2 hours, not exactly great for an ultraportable device. If you do get a 6-cell battery though, you are talking more along the lines of 4-hours with moderate use. This isn’t bad, though it isn’t as good as the claim of about 5 ½ hour life. Again, unless you are always locked to a desk, the 3-cell isn’t going to come close to cutting it.

Hardware Performance

The T580 comes with an i3 processor running 1.33GHz and also features 2GB of DDR3 RAM. This translates over to a fairly solid performance for business users on the go. The PCMark Vantage rated the T580 at 4,124, which is onpar with many other i3-based ultraportables out there. The downside is that you don’t get wonderful graphics here, with an Intel graphics unit that scored just 1,116. This is a bit lower than other comparable convertibles, instead scoring around the 1,800 mark. In short, this isn’t a gaming PC. Want to run programs like World of Warcraft? You certainly can, but it will be on low-settings, which might be a deal-breaker for some of you out there. Of course the graphics are just fine for streaming video off the net, even HD resolutions work reasonably well. When it comes to heat, however, just keep away from touching the air vent. This area of the machien gets to about 98 degrees, but overall it actually handles heat distribution well enough it should really bother most users out there.

Tablet and Touch Features

The Lifebook T580 uses version 3.5 of N-Trig’s DuoSense touchscreen technology, this uses a single digitizer to allow both four-finger touch and active pen input. The T580’s touchscreen is overall very accurate with a stylus, though it is slightly less effective when used with a finger. Of course this is somewhat expected with a screen size of just 10.1” and Windows 7. Overall, even with finger-touch, you should have a pleasant experience. Windows 8 – Potential? The multi-touch is excellent this device, and the resolution for the screen isn’t half bad either. So, yes, it would make an excellent Windows 8 device. Additionally, at just 3 pounds (roughly), it really does provide a great balance between tablet and netbook. At the same time, you get more power with an i3 processor than most netbooks out there. Summing It All Up… Bravo, Fujitsu! I’ve finally found a convertible that really works as well as an ultra-portable tablet as it does a netbook. While the device isn’t perfect, it would make a great e-reader, mobile game player, and basically could do everything you’d expect from a tablet (especially once Windows 8 Beta arrives). On the laptop side, it’s small screen limits it when compared next to bigger screen ultraportables, but it certainly can do everything you’d expect from a netbook, and honestly more. Now that I’ve spent a lot of time building up this model, it’s time for the bad news. For some users it might be just a bit too pricey, starting at $999.99 at TigerDirect for a 6-cell battery model. This may be a deal-breaker for some, since you could easily get an Android tablet and a small netbook for even a few hundred less than this system is priced at. Still, you probably wouldn’t get the power of an i3 going that route.]]>

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