Until now, Fujitsu’s Stylistic line of tablets brought to mind powerful Windows 7-based slates, such as the Stylistic Q550 Slate PC that we looked at back in mid-2011. Designed primarily as notebook replacements for business and enterprise users, Stylistic tablets typically ran Windows 7 Professional on beefy processors with lots of RAM. The company’s latest offering, then, a 10-inch Android-based model, the Stylistic M532, is a huge departure from the tablets we’ve seen to date from this Japanese electronics giant.
Also aimed at business users, the $549-list Stylistic M532 is (by today’s standards, anyway) a rather basic tablet overall—aside from its MIL-STD-810G military-grade durability rating, that is. (We talk more about this in the Design & Features section on the next page.) Fujitsu has hung its hopes on this enhanced toughness to make this slate stand out from competing models. From what we can tell from our testing and hands-on time, this compliance is the only reason for offering it at such a premium price.
Aside from the chassis being dust-, moisture-, and shock-resistant (and, yes, the tablet does feel quite durable), the Stylistic M532’s components and features don’t differ much from what’s in several other everyday consumer tablets, such as the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 or Acer Iconia Tab A510, released earlier this year. Compared to some of the more recent higher-resolution models, including Acer’s Iconia Tab A700$425.00 at SamsClub, though, the Stylistic M532 seems a little late to the Android-tablet party.
Not only is this model’s 1,280×800-resolution screen, in terms of pixel depth, a little too ordinary for the price, but the overall display quality is lacking a bit, compared to several like-resolution models from Samsung, Asus and Toshiba. We certainly weren’t wowed with this tablet’s display detail and vibrancy. It’s not bad, by any means, but we’ve seen better clarity not only from similarly priced slates, but also from a bunch that don’t cost quite this much.
In terms of overall performance, though, the Stylistic M532 held up well on most of our benchmark tests, except for a dismal showing on our battery-longevity trial. It conked out several hours sooner than most other slates we’ve tested recently running Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich,” or ICS) on Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor. The unplugged runtime on this model came much closer to what we saw from last year’s Tegra 2-based slates.
We give battery life and display quality a lot of weight in our evaluations. (After all, a tablet is nothing if not its screen.) Then again, this is the first slate we’ve seen that meets military durability standards. Some business users, especially those that use their slates in damp or dusty factory, assembly-line, or warehouse settings, for example, may find this extra protection valuable. But you’ll want to be sure you really do need the ruggedness, because you’ll be resigning yourself to a somewhat lesser display and battery life that’s shorter than most. A higher-res tablet with a stronger battery, nestled in a good case, might serve you just as well.
Read the review at Computer Shopper.