Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook P1610
The Good Book overfloweth with features
Review Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, from super-big, hernia-inducing desktop replacements to mega-dinky ultra-portables. The Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook P1610 sits firmly at the smaller end of the scale, with a footprint barely larger than an A5 sheet of paper.
It's built to be lightweight and portable, and though it may be petite on the outside it's not short on the features front. The P1610 is also a tablet PC, so you can swing the screen around and fold it back down flat. With a size of just 23.2 x 16.7 x 3.7cm and a weight of around 1.2kg, it's actually very usable in this mode. Like most tablet PCs, the single hinge feels a little fragile - but as it's attached to a smaller screen it doesn't feel as flimsy as larger tablet screens do.
Fujitsu has opted for a touch-sensitive screen, rather than the more traditional active digitizer found in most tablet PCs. This has the advantage that you can use any nearby object on the screen - such as your fingernail - if you haven't got the stylus to hand. You do lose the ability to hover over items, though, which can make tasks like moving through menus more tricky.
The touchscreen is easily accurate enough for mouse navigation and when teamed up with XP's handwriting recognition software the results were surprisingly good. You wouldn't want to write a novel using it, but it's good enough for taking a few notes here and there.
Fujitsu has also included the Dialkeys application, usually found on UMPC machines. This divides an on-screen keyboard into two quarter-circles and places one in each bottom corner of the screen. You type by pressing the relevant virtual with your thumb. Although it works better here than it does on most UMPCs - largely because the bigger screen resolution of the laptop means the virtual keyboard doesn't cover the application you're trying to type into - it's still fairly slow going.
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