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Technology in Practice. What works? Who gets it?
Neat innovations, with some drawbacks.To reduce the size and weight of the U810, Fujitsu had to make some tradeoffs—which come in the form of a smaller screen and a keyboard that’s about 40 percent the size of the full keyboards found on other sub-notebooks. To get complete functionality and make everything fit on this small keyboard, Fujitsu engineers had to double-map some keys. One example of this is the Tab key: Inserting a tab in a document requires that you push the Fn key and then the Spacebar because the Spacebar is double-mapped with the Tab key. Similarly, the Arrow keys share space with punctuation keys. You move the U810’s cursor with the pointing stick and mouse buttons or by using your finger or the included stylus on the touch screen. Flip the screen over and input is done either by finger or by the stylus on the touch screen, although the pointing stick and mouse buttons are still accessible. The screen auto-rotates depending on whether you’re using the U810 in notebook mode or tablet mode. (You can also change the orientation by pushing the screen orientation button.)The keyboard is one of the most impressive features of the U810 (see keyboard and application buttons above). Although it’s small and the placement and double-mapping of keys can be a bit frustrating, the keys are still much easier to use than the small “tic-tac” type keys found on similar devices from Samsung, Sony and OQO. Likewise, the keyboard and pointing stick combination in notebook mode makes the U810 much easier to use than its competitors—and it actually allows you to type and navigate as you normally do. The U810 also includes handwriting recognition functionality in its feature set.The Intel CPU is designed for mobile devices, and during my test-drive I regularly got more than three hours of runtime between charges. However, the CPU speed and amount of RAM were apparent in the long boot times to start MS Vista Business. Once the OS started, though, I had little problem surfing the Internet or running MS Office 2007 and its applications.The U810’s small footprint and weight make it an absolute joy to travel with, since it’s about 4 pounds lighter than my current Dell notebook and AC adapter. However, the small size and high resolution of the screen can become a strain when surfing the Web. The fact that the U810 only has one USB port also means that you must carry a small USB hub with you to use peripherals such as external optical drives, a mouse or other input devices. Also, the VGA/LAN dongle connects at the bottom of the keyboard, which is less than optimal.If you’re looking to travel with a UMPC for checking e-mail, surfing the Web, and composing brief letters or other documents, the U810 may be for you. However, the screen size, lack of RAM and other shortcomings prevent me from recommending this as a replacement for a full-function notebook when traveling. Scorecard With a maximum possible score of 20, here is how I rate it: