Fujitsu LifeBook T580 Review
The Fujitsu LifeBook T580 is a highly portable 10-inch convertible tablet with smooth pen input, but make sure you get the six-cell battery.
Fujitsu's LifeBook T580 convertible notebook caters to a niche market segment looking for the functionality of a standard ultraportable notebook with the slick interface of a tablet PC. The unit's rotating 10-inch display folds flat over the nearly full-size keyboard, providing users with a dual digitizer display that can be used with an active stylus and up to four fingers. But does this $1,399 device live up to its goal of providing two distinct functions at a decent price? Read on to find out.
Design and Durability
The LifeBook T580's design is best described as utilitarian. The matte-black lid prominently displays the Fujitsu logo, and the bezel and keyboard follow the same color scheme. The off-white wrist rest slightly offsets the drab design aesthetic. Weighing in at 3 pounds with a standard three-cell fujitsu laptop battery installed, the T580 is light; however, its weight does nothing to disguise its chunky 1.6-inch profile. By comparison, Gigabyte's 11.6-inch T1125N convertible is a paltry 1.1 inches thick, although it weighs a heavier 3.8 pounds.
The T580 is well constructed, with the keyboard, wrist rest, and display bezel showing little to no give when pressed. The convertible's single hinge rotates the screen 180 degrees for use as a tablet. It is thick, sturdy, and offers no unwanted movement. The T580 was thoughtfully designed with flat, rounded surfaces and no protrusions that could poke you as you carry it around. Still, it's no iPad; holding this convertible in tablet mode for long periods of time can get tiresome.
To the left of the hinge sit the T580's Ctl+Alt+Del, Screen Rotation, and Fujitsu Menu tablet buttons. Meant for use when the convertible is in tablet mode, the buttons provide users with easy access to a series of system options. The Ctl+Altl+Del button, as its name implies, brings up the task manager screen, while the Screen Rotation button alters the screen's orientation between portrait and landscape mode. (We'd prefer an accelerometer-powered option.) The Fujitsu Menu button opens the system's Touch Launcher, which is used to access some of the unit's touchscreen and system settings.
A sliding power switch on the right side of the T580 allows users to power on the unit while it's in tablet mode.
While streaming a Hulu video at full screen for 15 minutes, the LifeBook T580 stayed fairly cool. The touchpad measured 81 degrees Fahrenheit, the space between the G and H keys was 94 degrees, and the underside was 93 degrees. The hottest area, by the air vent, reached 98; that's approaching what we consider too hot–100 degrees and above. In general, though, the T580 stayed cooler than the Gigabyte, which hit 98 degrees on the middle of the bottom.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The LifeBook T580's keyboard provided satisfying tactile feedback, but the keys' small size, combined with their relative closeness, may cause some initial frustration for touch typists. It's not a severe problem, and we acclimated to the layout in no time.
The T580's 2.25 x 1.25-inch touchpad has a ridged surface that provides accurate movement, but the right and left click buttons are small, making navigating through multiple menus slightly difficult. Unlike the Gigabyte T1125N, the T580's touchpad does not support multitouch gestures.
Display and Sound
With a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution, the T580's 10.1-inch display delivers exceptionally clear images for such a small screen. When we watched the trailer for Thor, images were very crisp, but when the display was tilted back to a roughly 130-degree angle, the video became unwatchable. Conversely, horizontal viewing angles were very wide; images only became distorted at about an 80-degree angle. However, the screen's glossy finish creates a mirror effect that, in bright sunlight, makes the screen especially hard to see. A sensor will automatically dim or brighten the display depending on ambient light(FPCBP136AP), but users have to first enable this feature in the system's Control Panel.
Sound output from the T580's mono speaker won't blow anyone away. When we were watching videos or playing music, audio sounded flat at times, while some songs were hard to hear even with the volume turned all the way up. In the same room with a television set at a moderate volume level, the sound from the speaker was barely audible.
Touchscreen and Touch Software
The Fujitsu LifeBook T580 is the first notebook to use version 3.5 of N-Trig's DuoSense touchscreen technology, which uses a single digitizer to allow both four-finger touch and active pen input. By providing an active, battery-powered stylus, the T580 supports different levels of pressure and fine movements, things that a passive pen cannot achieve. You can see the kind of graphics DuoSense enables by watching this video of an artist in action.
The T580's touchscreen was highly accurate when we used the included stylus, but it was less so when we used a finger to select menu items. This is, of course, understandable for a 10.1-inch machine running Windows 7.
The active stylus is stored beneath the keyboard in its own compartment, The pen's left click is activated by pressing its tip down on the screen. The right-click button is located on the side of the stylus, which can lead to some inadvertent clicking if you grip it too hard when using it for handwritten notes.
The Fujitsu Utility Menu button lets users switch between Launcher Mode and Internet Mode, which are essentially touch-friendly skins. Internet Mode makes surfing the web easier by providing large navigation buttons, including Back, Reload, and Stop. The Launcher Mode provides users with large customizable radio buttons that launch the T580's software keyboard, Internet Explorer, and touch notepad among other options. The digital keyboard is the most useful feature here, and it can be increased or decreased in size depending on whether or not the stylus pen is being used as the primary input device.
In addition to the Fujitsu Menu, the T580 also includes Microsoft's Touch Pack for Windows 7. The notebook was able to recognize and record our handwriting fairly well, and we like that it can be customized for users' individual writing styles.
Ports and Webcam
Fujitsu loaded the T580 with lots of ports, especially given its small size. On the right side of the unit are a USB 2.0 port, SmartCard slot, SD Card slot, and a wireless LAN/ Bluetooth On/Off toggle switch. On the left side are a second USB 2.0 port, an Ethernet jack, and VGA. The rear of the T580 includes an HDMI port and a lock slot. A biometric fingerprint sensor located on the right of the display bezel allows registered users to log into the system. By comparison, the Gigabyte T1125N has a USB 3.0 port and an eSATA/USB port.
The notebook's 1.3-megapixel webcam produced a grainy image in low lighting, but when in a well-lit room, videos were clear with vibrant colors. The camera's Cyberlink YouCam software includes special effects, a video surveillance recorder, and reconfigurable settings to tweak images to your liking.
Packed with a 1.33-GHz Intel Core i5 U560 processor and 2GB of RAM, the T580 provides suitable performance for business users on the go. In PCMark Vantage, which rates the system's overall speed, the T580 notched a 4,124, on a par with the ultraportable category average of 4,145. The Gigabyte T1125N, which has a 1.3-GHz Intel Core i3 U380 CPU, managed a slightly lower score of 3,889.
Where the T580 stumbles is with its 160GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive. It took the T580 4 minutes and 23 seconds to copy 4.97 GB of media files, which equals a rate of 19.4 MBps. That's more than a minute slower than the category average of 3:20 (32.5 MBps). The Gigabyte managed the same operation in 3:41, a rate of 23 MBps.
On the Oxelon transcoding test, the T580 converted a 114MB MPEG-4 video to AVI format in 1 minute 12 seconds–a full 39 seconds below the category average.
The T580 relies on its integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator for heavy lifting in the media department, and it shows. The convertible scored 1,116 on the 3DMark06 test, while the average ultraportable tablet registers 1,873. By comparison, the T1125, which has discrete Nvidia GeForce 310M graphics, scored 3,667. Not surprisingly, the T580 could barely run World of Warcraft, managing a sluggish 14 frames per second with the graphics set at default.
Battery Life and Wireless
For an ultraportable, the T580's endurance is abysmal. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (web surfing via Wi-Fi), its three-cell, 2900 mAh battery lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes, nearly 4 hours short of the ultraportable average. That runtime is also about 2 hours less than the Gigabyte T1125N (4:10). If you're considering this laptop, opt for the six-cell 5800 mAh battery (a $50 option, fujitsu lifebook t580 tablet battery).
The T580 provided a wireless transfer rate of 49.3 Mbps at a range of 15 feet; the average ultraportable gets 32.8 Mbps. Its rate dropped to 22.2 Mbps when the range was extended to 50 feet, slightly higher than the category average of 19.6 Mbps.
Consumers can also select one of three broadband options: AT&T DataConnect Ready (3G, HSUPA), Sprint Mobile Broadband (3G, CDMA), or Verizon Wireless Mobile Broadband (3G, EVDO-Rev A).
Fujitsu offers two variants of the LifeBook T580. Our $1,399 review model came with a 1.33-GHz Core i5-560UM processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB hard drive. The base model costs $999 and features a 1.33-GHz Intel Core i3-380Um CPU and the same RAM and hard drive. However, the lower-priced model also comes with a six-cell battery, which will make a world of difference.
Business and Security Features, Software
For road warriors, the T580 features both a fingerprint reader and Smart Card reader to protect the system from data theft. Other security features include TPM, Computrace, and a Kensington Lock slot. Fujitsu's Shock Sensor utility will park the hard drive head in case it detects sudden movement, and the spill-resistant keyboard can withstand a little liquid.
The T580 comes pre-loaded with Adobe Reader, the CyberLink YouCam software, a Fujitsu Driver Update utility, Google Toolbar, Microsoft Office Starter 2010 32-bit edition, a 60-day free trial of Norton Internet Security, the Pass Fingerprint application, Roxio Creator, and Windows Live Essentials.
The T580 comes with a one-year international limited warranty and 24/7 technical support. Check out our Tech Support Showdown to see how effective Fujitsu's customer service stacks up.
For users seeking a feature-packed ultraportable convertible with pen input, the LifeBook T580 is a pretty good option. However, the short battery life makes this $1,399 configuration difficult to recommend. Fujitsu should have included the larger battery at this price. For $300 less, the Gigabyte T1125N performs better and lasts longer on a charge, though it doesn't feature a pen. If you do decide to splurge on this laptop-tablet combo, be sure to get the larger six-cell battery. Or, if you don't need Core i5 power, get the $999 configuration of the T580 with a Core i3 processor and six-cell battery.
Light, sturdy build
Responsive touchscreen with pen input
Fast Wi-Fi throughput
Short battery life with three-cell battery
Slow hard drive
Tag: Fujitsu, LifeBook, Review, T580
After our early experimentation with ThinkPad T410 review, we have the opportunity for a follow-up with Lenovo's new Sandy Bridge ThinkPad T520. The T520, like most of Lenovo's new kit, offers support for bootable mSATA SSDs, like Intel's SSD 310. On the performance side, the T520 gets a second generation Intel Core processor and either Intel HD integrated graphics or nVIDIA discrete graphics. A big boost in power is also on the horizon with an optional slice-battery, increasing runtime of the ThinkPad T420 to an eye-popping 24 hours. Lenovo has also bettered the 3G performance by 15%, thanks to a new antenna design. Read on to see what we think about this new system from Lenovo.
In terms of storage, the ThinkPad T520 is configurable with either an HDD or SSD as the primary drive and it supports the Ultrabay for use with an optional data drive. As noted, the mSATA port provides a third storage option, and is bootable with a special SSD like the Intel SSD 310, replacing the WWAN module. In our full review we'll run the T520 through a our gammut of HDDs and SSDs to test, but for now look at performance using the suite of new Intel SSDs including the SSD 310, 320, and high performance 510.
Lenovo ThinkPad T520 Specifications
15.6-inch Widescreen 1366x768 WXGA LED-Backlit Display (Matte finish)
Intel Core i5-2540M Processor (3M Cache, 2.66 GHz)
Intel GMA HD 3000 Graphics
Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-Bit
8.0GB DDR3 System Memory
Intel 82579LM Gigabit LAN, Intel Centrino 6205 802.11AGN
6-cell 57Wh Extended Laptop Battery
At first glance it doesn't look like much has changed in terms of the design of the ThinkPad T520. Lenovo has the same black rubbery paint covering the boxy shell of a body, with large stainless steel hinges displayed on both sides. The only thing displayed on the screen cover is the ThinkPad brand logo and the Lenovo name, keeping the rest matte black.
The bottom of the notebook does have one significant change. Unlike previous generations, the bottom is made entirely of plastic now which you can tell from the moment you scratch your fingernail across it. I am undecided on if this weakens the durability of the notebook though, since the system still features the strong alloy unibody chassis. It also doesn't appear to increase flex at first glance, which is a very good sign.
Ease of access to system components like the RAM and hard drive are still included on the T520 through two covers on the bottom of the chassis. One houses the lower memory slot, while the other gives access to the primary 2.5-inch drive bay. The rest of the components are accessible through the top, directly underneath the keyboard. This includes the upper memory slot, CPU, Wi-Fi card, WWAN/mSATA slot, and SIM-card slot.
I think its safe to say the mSATA standard is probably one of the best things that's happened to notebooks in a long time. With some additional circuitry, mobile platforms can now have up to 80GB of storage space included on a card roughly the size of a house key. What this means for consumers is now systems can be built smaller and still retain a user-replaceable storage drive, or on large systems the legacy 2.5-inch bay can be used for media storage. In the past you might have to make the compomise between storage capacity and the high cost of an SSD. Now you can stick a high capacity platter drive in the primary bay and still have a fast SSD as the boot drive.
The ThinkPad T520 also supports the same secondary hard drive UltraBay adapter as the T410 we reviewed earlier this year, meaning users can have a total of three drives in their 14 or 15-inch notebooks. How cool is that?
In terms of storage performance, one area did concern us greatly. When most people think of the Sandy Bridge platform, one of the first things that pops up intheir their heads is faster processors, less power consumption, and SATA 6.0Gbps speeds. In our review system with the latest Intel drives installed, the fastest negotiated speed from the primary storage bay was 3.0Gbps. This brings back some memories of older systems that were held back to 1.5Gbps speeds when 3.0 was the new standard. We are investigating right now to find out if this was intended and if so, how many new ThinkPad models it applies to.
Update: After further testing and many benchmark runs, we are now seeing full SATA 6.0Gbps negotiation speeds through the primary drive bay. We either ran into a strange driver quirk after drive cloning, but from what we can tell right now is things are back to where they should be. Crisis averted! Stay tuned for our full review where we test the ThinkPad T520 with the Intel SSD 510, Micron m4, and the OCZ Vertex 3 showing their full potential on a mobile platform.
Even with reduced potential from the SATA bus, we still saw very strong performance from the ThinkPad T520. For a system with "only" integrated graphics, it still easily beat the overall system performance of the ThinkPad T410 we reviewed by a factor of two. PCMark Vantage scores doubled, coming in at 12,329 PCMarks, even with the base mSATA 80GB SSD. The latest generation of Intel integrated graphics also handily beat the NVIDIA NVS 3100M at 3DMark06 scoring over 5,000 3DMarks.
To get as close to a baseline power consumption rate as possible, we decided to test the Lenovo ThinkPad T520 using the 80GB Intel mSATA SSD 310 as the only drive installed. In the full review we will show runtimes including two drives, to show how that would affect battery life. Our initial test was setup to our road-warrior standards, which includes the screen brightness reduced to 50%, the CPU set to power saving mode, wireless on and refreshing a webpage without Flash-based ads, and Bluetooth disabled. In this profile the system used as little as 5.6 watts of power and showed an expected runtime of 11.5 hours halfway through. Not too shabby for a 15.6-inch notebook with a 6-cell battery. Just imagine the amount of time you could get on the 9-cell battery plus slice.
We expect to wrap up our full review of the Lenovo ThinkPad T520 in the next couple of weeks. We will be following the same review style as our previous review, which included benchmarking the notebook using a set group of drives. Since the selection of drives has changed drastically in the past month, our test group has changed to now include the Crucial m4, Intel SSD 320, Intel SSD 310, and OCZ Vertex 3. If you have any questions or requests during the review process, feel free to shoot a question our way in our Test Lab forum. If your request is reasonable we will do whatever we can to get you an answer.
Battery and Power Consumption
Our Lenovo ThinkPad T520 included the standard six-cell battery option, offering a 57Wh capacity. A larger nine-cell battery with a capacity of 94Wh is also offered, which would add about 60% onto your overall battery life. The biggest difference between each of these batteries is their respective sizes, with the smaller six-cell mounting flush to the back of the notebook, and the larger nine-cell battery sticking under an inch.
An optional slice battery is also offered as an option for the ThinkPad T520, which when combined with a 9-cell lenovo t520 battery boasts an impressive 24-hours of runtime. Sadly, we were unable to get a slice-battery with our review unit, so we are unable to provide measured runtimes of that configuration.
To test the lenovo battery life we used the Windows 7 Power Saver profile, with the display backlight reduced to about 50% (9/15 brightness), Bluetooth disabled, Wi-Fi on and refreshing a webpage without animated or Flash-based ads, and the system set to hibernate at 5% power remaining. Our goal with this test setup is to try and mimic the road-warrior situation, where you are trying to squeeze as much time as possible in-between charges.
Using the above conditions, the ThinkPad T520 stayed on for 6 hours and 59 minutes, with an average power consumption of 6.2-7 watts. Compared to our original estimate of over 11 hours, it appears the battery gauge wasn't as accurate as a stopwatch.
First Thoughts, Lenovo, Review, T520, ThinkPad,
Power Your Macbook, iPad and iPhone with One Charger
The gang at Twelve South, the company responsible for iPhone cases like the BookBook and stands for the iPad and MacBook Pro, has just unveiled their newest creation, an ingenious iPad/iPhone charger that seamlessly connects to a standard MacBook Air or MacBook Pro AC adapter.
Twelve South sent us a sample unit, dubbed the PlugBug and we're in love.
It's a simple idea with a winning premise of helping frequent travelers or those cramped for outlet space eliminate the need to carry a MacBook charger and a separate charger for a phone or iPad.
Here's how it works: Attach the PlugBug to the normal duck cover on any MagSafe power brick (which includes the MacBook, MacBook Pro and Macbook Air). The PlugBug contains a two prong outlet and its own powered 10w USB port. What this means is that you can charge your iPhone or iPad without having to plug it into your laptop, all while also charging your laptop battery.
Why is this better than just using the USB port on your Mac to charge your device? Well, the reason is twofold:
First: That takes up an extra USB port. If you are using a MacBook Air, that might mean the device has to vie for space with other components.
Second: It can take a lot more time to charge an iPad via your MacBook or MacBook Pro than through a wall connection. In fact, if your USB port isn't powered, charging the iPad can take a ton of time.
Third: For business travelers, this eliminates the need to pack the external phone or iPad charger alongside the laptop charger.
At $34.95, this is a slick and relatively cheap device. It also doubles as a standard iPad charger - and considering Apple sells those for $29.99 (granted, the Apple model also includes a 6′ extension cord), we think this is a good deal.
What I really like about this device is that it is styled to match the look and feel of the regular Apple adapter. Aside from its red cover, you would think this was a regular Apple dongle. It fits on the power port without adding much bulk, and the extra functionality of a powered USB port is great.
Other Electronics News:
Apple iPhone 4S Battery Issues Might Have Been Pinpointed
[Your iPhone's Time Zone Function May Be Draining Its Juice]
It's been a while since the iPhone 4S was launched, and a lot of people are now starting to recognize a problem with their batteries. Very early on, there were initial signs that the iPhone 4's battery might be better than the newest iteration's. And more lately, Apple's engineers have actually been contacting people who have complained of poor battery life to try and resolve the issue.
According to iDownloadblog, the problem may be the phone's Time Zone feature that automatically changes time zone the moment you cross into one different from your own. The author states that he noticed this issue from way back during iOS 5's Golden Master days. Apparently, iOS 5 has a bug that keeps the Setting Time Zone function running all the time, which means it keeps location tracking on whether you like it or not.
Several people on the blog's comments section reported improved battery life when they turned the function off. Will this method work for everyone? I'd wager the answer's a "no." But if you have no idea why your phone's battery life is hurting, you can try disabling Setting Time Zone, and see how it goes.
Other Electronics News:
a.The battery has no voltage.
b.There is problem with charger, as it has no output electric current.
c.Low charging efficiency due to external cause.
a.Test whether the charger has voltage and output electric current or not.
b.Check if the charger is well contacted with battery.
c.Activate the battery with voltage and current 1.5 time higher then the highest ones of battery. (Use this method only when the battery can't be charged.)
More: laptop battery