Worth the money? Fujitsu STYLISTIQ Q550 review

This tablet is a great stab at creating the high end business or enterprise class tablet PC.  It’s loaded with hardware security features like a smartcard reader TPM fingerprint reader and disk encryption.  All the necessities to get the tick of approval from understandably security conscious IT departments. That’s the theory anyway.  Unfortunately the STYLISTIQ Q550 is not the beast that’s going to break this market.  

What it does having going for it is one of the most comprehensive hardware fitouts of all the tablets.  The Q550 sports the previously mentioned security features but also includes HDMI output a USB 2 port hardware wireless switch a headphone port multiple microphones front and user facing cameras and an SD/SDHC slot. There’s a hardware button to bring up the software keybaord which is something we didn’t think we’d use but ended up using all the time during testing.

Including the removable replacable battery the whole thing weighs in at 680g which is outstanding considering the hardware packed in to it. There’s even a brilliant quality active stylus to use with the Q550 – but nowhere in the unit to stow it so it’s going to dangle off the tablet on a string or get left at home.

The 10.1in screen has an anti-glare coating making it less than ideal for multimedia use but by far more suitable for outdoor use (and anywhere you can’t control the lighting to be honest – which is most places you’d use a tablet PC).  It’s bright and pleasing to the eye with a resolution of 1280 x 800.

It’s sold on the fact it’s a Windows 7 tablet (which IT departments like) but users have judged Windows 7 as not ideal for tablet use; it lags behind in usability and specific tablet features seen on the other OS’s but it is a user decision and not a negative per se.

Fujitsu has included software to ease the user into a more tablet like experience including a virtual desktop application with links to commonly used apps world clock and the like.  Slide-across menus use the same spot as the Windows 7 virtual keyboard activation area so you’re always activating the wrong thing.  The Windows taskbar pops up and down at whim and if you mis-touch and lose focus on an app that’s not full screen you need to close the Fuji software to find it again.  It’s rubbish.

Ultimately this tablet is an oustanding leap forward in terms of hardware let down terribly by software choices.
Available from Fujitsu retailing for $1688.
APC rating: 6/10