Few of today’s tablets hit a happy medium between consumer-centric fun and business-optimized practicality. The former gets most of the love, with most slates we see leaning toward social media and media consumption, rather than running business applications. To that end, most of the full-size (10.1-inch) slates we review focus on delivering great-looking graphics on screens built into sleek, attractive chassis, instead of concentrating on the security and durability features many business users need.
One company that consistently bucks that trend, offering no-nonsense, business-ready tablets, is the information-tech and communications giant Fujitsu. Case in point is theStylistic M532, an Android slate we reviewed back in September 2012—one of the first Androids built to meet military-grade durability standards. That slate and earlier Windows 7 Fujitsu models, much like the Windows 8 model we’re reviewing here today, the $879-list Stylistic Q572 Tablet PC, placed practicality in business settings way above leisure functions and style.
With this latest model, though, Fujitsu has pulled out all the stops. Not only is this slate durable, but, as you’ll see in the Features & Apps section a little later in this review, the list of security features—which includes a CompuTrace-enabled BIOS, a fingerprint reader, and a SmartCard reader—is very impressive. We haven’t tested a slate to date that’s so well-protected.
In addition to providing security on every front, the Q572 comes with a slew of other business-ready enhancements (mobile broadband, stylus-pen support, and a swappable battery), as well as a wide range of connectivity options, including full-size USB and HDMI ports. In fact, aside from, perhaps, an infrared (IR) emitter and face-recognition, we can’t think of any other reasonable features Fujitsu could have stuffed into this exceptionally full feature set.
The Stylistic Q572, then, is one well-endowed tablet, which explains its high price. What also makes it distinctive is that it’s the first slate we’ve seen that runs on AMD’s low-power, mobile-optimized Z-60 accelerated processing unit (APU), which AMD is offering as an alternative to the Intel Atom processors seen in most new Windows slates. It’s a bold move, to be sure. As you’ll see in the Performance & Conclusion section at the end of this review, even though the AMD chip has a 64-bit data path (compared to the 32-bit Atom), the Q572 struggled with many of our performance tests.
A complaint we’ve had about most Fujitsu tablets is that their screens are often lackluster compared to many competitors’. The ones we’ve seen simply have not been as brilliant and color-rich, and this one is no exception. Videos, images, even Web pages appear somewhat washed out and subdued, to the point that the best praise we can give is that it’s, well, adequate. Adequate enough for Web browsing, word processing, e-mail, and other typical business applications, but at no time will anything on the screen jump out and wow you. If media consumption is high on your list of priorities, this is not your tablet.
The Stylistic Q572 comes in only one standard configuration, which includes 4GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state drive (SSD). As mentioned, this model lists for $879. However, you can special-order this slate on Fujitsu’s Web site with additional RAM and larger SSDs (128GB or 256GB). Alternately, you can opt for a 64GB or 128GB SSD with Full Disk Encryption (FDE), for added security. Prices, of course, depend on the options you choose. (We should add that you can also get this slate with Windows 7 instead of 8 for the same price.)
At first glance, the Q572’s price may seem a bit high. However, considering this slate’s wide range of features (among them the replaceable battery, mobile broadband, stylus support, and the security options), $879 doesn’t seem that far off the mark. We did find its less-than-stellar performance and somewhat washed-out screen concerning, though. If you need a slate for watching videos, viewing photographs, or playing games, this one will disappoint you.
Our bottom line? The Stylistic Q572 works in strictly-business settings where security is important and display quality doesn’t matter much. Its durable build, support for mobile broadband, and the ability to swap out the battery make it suitable for long shifts on, say, factory and warehouse floors. As a business tool, it would serve you more adroitly—in certain settings—than most consumer-oriented tablets. Conversely, many consumers would find it lacking on a few key fronts.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.
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.