Allegiance Technology Partners sent me Fujitsu’s U810 Ultra-Mobile PC ( better known as Darth Vader ) to try out, and the first thing that hit me was how small it was. I mean really, really small. The U810 is like a hobbit compared to the P1610.
Anyway, I wanted to share a couple of first impressions before I began using it this week in preparation for an InkShow next week. By the way, we’ve already covered the U810 / U1010 before, but in this upcoming InkShow, I’m going to focus on usability, portability, and inking.
- The keyboard is most useful when thumbing; after a while, though, that in itself gets tiring because the keyboard is too wide to use comfortably. It reminds me of Sony’s UX series. OQO’s keyboard, by contrast, is much smaller and more suited for thumbing. I find the U810’s keyboard too small for even touch typing while the unit is resting on a table.
- Because the keyboard is so small, Fujitsu had to sacrifice some dedicated keys. Some of those sacrifices are the dedicated arrow down / up keys. For example, to scroll a web page, the function key has to be depressed while pressing the arrow down key, and I have yet to find a way to Page Down / Page Up. The other major sacrifice is only one Shift key, which makes capitalizing words difficult with letters on the left side of the keyboard. The U810 does not support sticky keys natively, relying on Vista’s support of sticky keys. They are not as quick to use as OQO’s native sticky keys that get activated with two depresses rather than five, and are easily turned on / off.
- As the first Vista based Intel 800 mhz system I’ve used, the performance is more than acceptable and much better than I anticipated.
- The keyboard light is pretty cool, but I’d prefer a backlit keyboard.
- Inking is a mess – Fujitsu did not implement the palm rejection technology they used in the P1610. What a shame.
- It is very, very light
- I like the included Compact Flash and SD slots. I miss that in my OQO Model 02.
- I really like the mechanical volume control, which is also accessible in slate mode.
Here are some pictures showing my hand on the U810 in a position to take handwritten notes.
Watch for our InkShow sometime next week.