Comparing the Fujitsu P1630 and the Fujitsu P1610

P1030999 If you are looking for the size and weight of a netbook but you need the power and flexibility of an Intel Core 2 Duo, there is really only one contender — the Fujitsu P1630. I’ve had the opportunity to try out the Fujitsu P1630 convertible notebook for the last few days. I love this form factor. One thing you have to realize up front — I’ve been using it’s older sibling, the P1610, for 9-10 hours per day for over two years now. I know the P1610 quite well. I’ve upgraded the P1610 from Windows XP to Vista, despite the pitiable performance of the Core Solo on Vista. I also upgraded from 1GB to 2GB of RAM in an desperate bid for usability under Vista. Yet I continue to use it.

So how does the new P1630 compare?

The P1630 retains the excellent form factor and upgrades the internals. Looking at the paper specs you’ll see some major differences. The P1630 is a Core 2 Duo SU9300 versus the P1610′s Core Solo U1400. Although both processors are running at 1.2 GHz, the architectural differences of the Core 2 Duo give it a significant speed advantage of the Core Solo, primarily due to the second core, the additional cache, and the faster front side bus. Along with the new processor, you’ll obviously find a new motherboard and integrated graphics. Taking a quick look at the Vista Experience Scores of the P1630 versus P1610 give an easy comparison. While the P1630 nets an overall score of 3.1, the P1630 barely squeaks in a 2.6. (My P1610 gets unusually high scores in some areas because of having 2GB of RAM versus the 1GB standard in the P1630 review unit.)

P1630ExperienceScore

P1630 Vista Experience Score is 3.1 — I suspect this is limited by the 1GB of RAM

P1610ExperienceScore

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P1610 Vista Experience Score is 2.6 — bolstered by 2GB of RAM

From the form factor standpoint, the two systems are nearly identical. They appear to share the same externals with the additions of a webcam and microphone above the screen and moving the fingerprint reader slightly lower.

p1630_twist_stylus As a regular user of the P1610, I can say that the form factor is excellent. It is lightweight and easy to carry with me. The keyboard is usable, although quite small. The screen is a little controversial — it’s a very high resolution, 8.9 inch display with 1280×768 native resolution. I love it, but most of the people who see me using it think that the screen is far too small and pixel-dense to be usable. The screen is also a resistive, touch screen, and the P1630 retains the excellent palm rejection of its predecessors. While a resistive screen will likely never be as good for writing on as an active digitizer, the P1630 is usable on a regular basis.

In my next post, I’ll also be doing a quick comparison of the Fujitsu P1630 to an unlikely opponent — my HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition. Stay tuned

Pros: Excellent form factor, much-needed speed boost

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Cons: Pricey. Starting at $1899, you can get a lot of other systems for less. Many people find the keyboard cramped and the screen too small.

Comments

  1. roger says

    Please ! just look at the vista experience screen shots. It has nothing to do with RAM. See where it says “determined by lowest score” ? It even tells you that the lowest score is used and in both cases it is graphics holding you back and the Processor in the 1610 seems to be a poor choice too – all there on the screenshot.

    The vista experience score is a pretty poor marker for anything, Im afraid.

    You write such good stuff normally but those captions :-)

  2. Sierra Modro says

    Hi Roger – I wasn’t clear when discussing the Vista Experience Scores. The graphics do indeed have the lowest subscore and are thus used as the “overall” score for each system. However, both systems are using Intel integrated graphics, which in turn use the system RAM for graphics processing. On the P1610, the graphics score was even lower before I upped the memory since the amount of memory available to the graphics subsystem was also limited by what Vista was willing to give it. That’s why the “Desktop performance for Aero” is so much higher on the P1610 – more available RAM. Trust me – the graphics subsystem is NOT better on the older system. :)

    So the additional RAM in the older P1610 bolsters the Vista Experience Score due to how the Intel integrated graphics uses main memory. It’s admittedly a bit of an apples to oranges comparison to compare a system with 1GB of RAM to a system with 2 GB of RAM, but it’s what I’ve got.

  3. scott says

    Sierra,

    VEry timely post. I have a p1610 that I have used for a couple of years and its been a great travel computer. I was wondering how the P1610 performance compare with the new basic netbooks, like the MSI WInd, etc. Obviously, the P1610 is a tablet, but I am curious of pure performance of a 2-3 yr old p1610 to the simple netbook of today?

  4. Estrelo says

    A budget alternative to this is the Gigabyte M912 (my current netbook). I always wanted a small laptop with a tablet form factor for portable browsing/notetaking/tech support duties but the +1000€ price of most of the options (TX is great for the price, but was too heavy, hot, noisy and big for me) kept me away from my tablet dreams. Now though, I got a p1610 (not 1630, the Atom is a bit crap)equivalent, with a LED screen, small size and €575 price with 2GB ram. :)
    @scott: The netbook is decent for any non processor intensive tasks. Look for one with a 2.5′ HDD though, those crappy 1.8′ PATA drives really bring performance down. Luckily mine had a standart 2.5 SATA. I’m planning on grabbing an Intel SSD when i’m done crashing the heads on this one (and the price of those goes down).

  5. Kip says

    I am more intrigued how and where you managed to find a 2gb memory module for the P1610. I am having an extraordinary time trying to locate 172 pin micro dimms :-(

  6. Sierra Modro says

    Hi Kip – you want to search for Fujitsu part number FPCEM394AP for the 2GB memory upgrade for the P1610. It was originally listed as a P1620 only upgrade. You’ll have to make sure you are on the latest BIOS prior to installing the memory upgrade. The older BIOS was limited to 1GB.

  7. Terry says

    Sierra, the P1630 you are reviewing would not happen to be the 3G/GPS equipped model? I just received my P1630 and the wireless signal for the Sierra module is just horrendous. The GPS could not even get a fix.

    Here in Australia, we only get the top range model so I have 2GB RAM and 120GB HDD. But my Vista experience index is 3.0. The extra memory only added 0.1 to the memory score. However the desktop aero performance is 0.1 lower than what you got. I haven’t modified anything in Vista and everything is pretty much stock standard.

  8. GrantC says

    Thanks for the comparison Sierra. I also use my P1610 all day, every day. I use Outlook heavily and all of the other office programs, especially OneNote. The P1610 still performs well, although the HDD is a bit slow, and I’d look forward to the 5400 RPM SATA disk in the P1630 to improve on that.
    If only it wasn’t quite so expensive, and the fact that you still can’t buy it in the UK!

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