Fujitsu Siemens is a specialist in pen-based computing, and includes both convertible and slate-style Tablet PCs in its product range. The Stylistic range of slate tablets has just been through a refresh, and we have examined the top-of-the-range ST5022. Uniquely among the three models in the range, this incorporates fingerprint recognition.
As it's a slate-style tablet, there is no keyboard built into this device. You interact with software is by tapping the screen with a stylus. Most people will use the Stylistic ST5022 with the 12.1-inch screen in portrait orientation, in which case the large removable battery is at the bottom and the stylus is housed on the upper right edge. Tablet PC screens are not touch-sensitive (unlike handheld screens), so you must use the stylus to interact with applications. Fortunately, this is connected to the system unit with a lanyard, making it difficult to lose.
Given that a slate-style tablet must accommodate landscape as well as portrait orientation, it's a challenge to arrange all the buttons and ports ergonomically. In this case, there's the added complication that users may require the optional -- and somewhat flimsy -- infrared keyboard (£105). Accordingly, there are infrared connectors on both long edges and next to the SD card/Memory Stick slot at the top (when in portrait mode). The top edge also houses the single PC card slot and, tucked neatly beneath it, a slot for a smartcard that can provide security for your data.
The long edge that would form the top in landscape mode houses two USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port, a VGA-out port (protected by a rubber cover), plus Ethernet (RJ-45) and modem (RJ-11) connectors.
The other long edge -- the right-hand side with the tablet held in portrait orientation -- is home to the power button and two banks of buttons. The lower bank comprises two navigation rockers (cursor up/down and page up/down). The upper bank is a set of application buttons that variously launch software, change the screen orientation, and allow you to perform other actions without needing the stylus, including changing some system settings.
On the opposite edge sits the fingerprint sensor, which is only available on the Stylistic ST5022. Finally, on the back, there's an on/off switch for the built-in Bluetooth and 802.11a/b/g wireless networking modules (configurations vary depending on the model).
There's an optional docking station that's rather chunky but incorporates a nice swivel mechanism to orient the screen in both portrait and landscape modes. It includes a modular optical drive bay, and provides additional ports and connectors. You get a choice of optical drive configurations: with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo unit, it costs £293.
The top-of-the-range Stylistic ST5022 model uses a 1.1GHz ultra-low-voltage Intel Pentium M 733 processor, which has 2MB of Level 2 cache and a 400MHz frontside bus (FSB). Our review system had 512MB of RAM, and up to 2GB can be installed. Hard drive capacities range from 40GB to 80GB (the 40GB and 60GB options run at 4,200rpm, while the 80GB drive has a spin speed of 5,400rpm; we had the 60GB drive). Graphics are handled by the Extreme Graphics 2 module in Intel's integrated 855GME chipset; this can dynamically use up to 64MB of the system's main memory for its purposes.