"Elite desktop replacement with full tablet abilities"4.0 starson by Scott Gardener
Pros: Both Wacom pen and touch screen; excellent warranty and support; one of the few tablets that offer a Core i7 processor, standard 2.5" HD bay, and other desktop replacement capabilities
Cons: Windows 8 models are somewhat glitchy with pen pressure sensitivity; expensive even for components offered--design for secure business use means added cost of components such as TPM and vPro, which most home or even business users will not need
Summary: While most of the tablet market has sought to emulate the iPad's ultra-thin size and diminutive 7-9 inch form, Fujitsu's Lifebooks instead bring both touch screens and Wacom-based pen computing to a full-featured, higher end desktop replacement system.Another update: the pen sensitivity issue has now resolved with an updated Wacom driver. The driver is the same one published to fix a problem with the Microsoft Surface Pro pen, which suggests the problem was somewhere within Windows 8. The important thing is, there is no longer a problem.
Note that the T902 can be customized, and the specs on my model are different than those listed above. (There were three different versions of the T902; I am posting my review here because the other two are Windows 7 models, and the OS affects aspects of my review below, so I am posting on the one that shares my model's 64-bit incarnation of Windows 8 Pro.) My model is upgraded to a Core i7-3520, 16GB RAM (third party), 512 GB SSD (third party), and modular Blu-Ray drive, battery, and extra hard drive bay. Note that although Fujitsu offers a back-up and restore utility among its bundled software, I used Windows 8 Pro's cleverly hidden backup and restore utility instead, which still calls itself Windows 7.
In researching before buying, a common complaint was that this system is incredibly expensive. Part of the reason is its design for higher end business use, with security enhancements such as vPro, recovery features, and TPM. Some of these features are outside of what a home or small business user needs, but others are nice extras, and the option of fingerprint log-on is a nice convenience. A bit of homework showed that it was more cost-effective not to order a model with the best RAM or hard drive; the $500 difference between a base 2GB RAM and 16GB max., minus $100 for 16GB of Corsair Vengeance with compatible specs, was almost itself enough to buy a third party SSD, a 512 GB one by Crucial, with twice the capacity of the maximum SSD Fujitsu offered. (The removed OEM RAM was by Samsung, and the OEM 500GB HD was by Toshiba, both highly reliable. I am keeping both for warranty purposes.)
With a solid state drive, running Windows 8, this system goes from off to fully booted and running in just under fifteen seconds, and that was before using the fingerprint log-on, so some of that time was me, typing a twelve character password. Boot times were a more familiar but fast 45 seconds to a minute when the original drive was in place, while I was setting up the system, before making a backup and swapping out the drives.
In addition to a touch screen, this system uses a Wacom-based stylus. Out of the box, the stylus did not include pressure support with programs like Photoshop Elements, but Wacom offers a free driver download that added this feature. However, this feature is proving to be a bit spotty with my system. I can draw several lines in close spots, and some will show gradations while others will appear solid, without pressure differences. Research is showing this to be a problem with other Windows 8 systems, but I have yet to see if it is a problem just with Photoshop Elements. (I tried to test the freeware GIMP, only to find even quirkier pen behavior that seemed specific to that program on this system.) Hopefully a driver update or patch will be available soon, as even a minor issue at this price point is problematic. In the mean time, I will test with other drawing software programs--ehem, apps.
Although Fujitsu is well known internationally, they are pretty obscure in the consumer market here in the U.S.; one cannot simply buy this system at Best Buy or the closest giant geek's warehouse. I had another quirk happen ordering it online, in that while the order was placed o 1/16, I got two days later a notice showing that it was expected to ship some time mid-April. I called customer service, who immediately notified headquarters in Japan; the order quietly changed, and the computer was in hand a week later. The customer service rep. described it as a problem in their system; which is comically disturbing, since Fujitsu is one of the world's largest manufacturers of servers and IT infrastructure.
My last laptop was a Fujitsu Lifebook T4215, and it was my main computer for six years, a testament to Fujitsu's reliability. This sets me up for some pretty high expectations. I've been impressed so far overall, with the above caveats in mind. As the system gets used, I will make a point to provide updates.
Updated on Jun 16, 2013