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 Ã¢â‚¬” 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 Ã¢â‚¬” 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.)
P1630 Vista Experience Score is 3.1 Ã¢â‚¬” I suspect this is limited by the 1GB of RAM
P1610 Vista Experience Score is 2.6 Ã¢â‚¬” 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.
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 Ã¢â‚¬” 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 Ã¢â‚¬” my HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition. Stay tuned
Pros: Excellent form factor, much-needed speed boost
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.