However, if you're buying a machine like this, you're not buying it for its raw processing capability but its portability, and if you want something small then compromises have to be made somewhere. The 8.9in screen has a widescreen aspect ratio and a native resolution of 1,280 x 768. Despite its small size, we found the resolution fine to work with - although others may consider it a bit too small. More of a worry is how reflective it is - if there's any light source behind you then chances are you'll see it shining back at you in the display. This is a problem with all tablet PCs and not specific to this model, though.
In terms of drives, you're limited to a single hard disk - there's no room inside to squeeze in an optical drive as well. The hard disk is a little on the small size, only stretching to 60GB, although there is an optional 80GB model available. On the wireless front, you'll find both 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2 on board.
The review model was running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, but by the time you read this there will also be a version loaded with Windows Vista Business available too - which will actually cost you about £10 less.
The LifeBook also came with a large, six-cell battery, which protrudes from the font of the unit. There is a three-cell battery available for around £20 less, which sits snugly inside the machine outline. The six-cell unit has a claimed life of up to nine hours. However, with just moderate use, you'll find four hours is probably a more realistic rating.
While the P1610 isn't going to win any performance awards, it's up to the job of everyday tasks. What it lacks in power it easily compensates for in portability. The keyboard is a little on the small side, but other than that it's a very usable machine. The tiny size comes at a premium, but when judged against other similar systems it's reasonably priced. It's a machine you really could take with you everywhere and still be able to get something done once you arrive.
Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook P1610
A Fine Handheld
Most importantly, it runs Linux well. Much better than Windoze, in fact. Unfortunately, there is no manufacturer support from Fujitsu Siemens for Linux which is almost unforgivable in this day and age. But Linux drivers work even if they are not factory supported. Fujitsu Siemens has to get their Linux support together. Even Dell will be preloading Linux. The P1610 is much like a Psion Series 5mx with short battery life and extra bulk. The Series 5mx had a battery life of 1-2 years and fit into your pocket. It also had a slightly better keyboard than the Lifebook P1610. Looking forward to a Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage upgrade to this model which will greatly benefit from the 45nm process. You chose the right product to review but Register reviews really need to get with the times and include more extensive Linux testing in their reviews.
If you want one, get it quick
"by the time you read this there will also be a version loaded with Windows Vista Business available too"
"While the P1610 isn't going to win any performance awards, it's up to the job of everyday tasks."
Not with fista on it...