Starting in the early 1990s, there were a good many years when Fujitsu Personal Systems dominated the tablet market with its innovative Point, PenCentra and Stylistic Tablet PC designs. Then Fujitsu Personal Systems was merged into the Fujitsu PC Corporation around the turn of the millennium and the company's focus turned away from tablets and to their Lifebook laptops and convertibles. And today, while Fujitsu still has over a dozen companies and subsidiaries in the US, one hardly sees any Japanese laptops or tablets anymore. But there still is a surviving Fujitsu tablet, the Stylistic V535.
It's hard these days to stand out with any tablet product, what with most tablets being slender slates with a black glass front. Much to their credit, and perhaps drawing on their illustrious tablet past, Fujitsu did come up with an interesting, value-added design with a "shell" concept that allows users to adapt the tablet to various deployments and working conditions. Currently available are a mounting shell for industry and logistics, a SmartCard shell for enhanced security, or a retail shell with magstripe reader or chip and PIN reader for ePayment solutions.
Addressing another vexing issue, that of customers wanting their tablets razor-thin but still tough and rugged, Fujitsu offers a "rugged frame." That's essentially a highly customized protective sleeve/case that almost doubles the drop spec from 3.3 to 6 feet. This means that Stylistic V535 customers can have a slender half-inch-thick tablet in the office, and then quickly convert it into a much better protected device when out there in the field. The image compilation below shows the V535 with both the bare tablet and the rugged frame side views.
But on to the tablet itself. That is standard tablet fare with the uniquitous tablet look. It's a small device with an 8.3-inch display and a footprint of just 9 x 5.9 inches, making it a good deal more compact than the standard iPad. The basic V535 tablet weighs 1.2 pounds and comes with a modest 16.5 watt-hour battery good for up to 6.5 hours.
The V535 display uses a 16:10 aspect ratio format with 1920 x 1200 WUXGA resolution. That makes for 273 ppi (pixels per inch), sharper than the retina iPads and iPads Pro, and sharper than the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The IPS display has anti-glare treatment, Gorilla Glass, a wide 160 degree vewing angle from all directions, and claims outdoor viewability with a 400 nits LED backlight.
Like virtually every tablet these days, the V535 uses capacitive multi-touch, but there's also active pen support. The optional pen offers 256 pressure levels and can be used to draw, annotate, navigate, erase and right-click with the pen's function button. The pen uses a AAAA battery and comes with a pen holder to attach to the tablet. Some of the prior recent Stylistic tablets used the auto-sensing N-trig DuoSense dual input system, but with N-trig now part of Microsoft, we don't know if Fujitsu still uses N-trig.
What did put Fujitsu under the hood of their sole surviving Stylistic tablet? That'd be your choice of either an Intel Atom Z3745 or Z3795 quad-core processor. Both are part of Intel's Bay Trail lineup, with the Z3745 running at a base frequency of 1.33GHz and burst frequency up to 1.86GHz, and the Z3795 at 1.59/2.39GHz. Both have scenario design powers of just 2 watts. We're definitely not talking Intel Core processor performance here, but these Bay Trail Atom chips are quick enough for most tablet tasks.
There's 4GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM, and customers can get either 64 or 128GB of soldered eMMC solid state mass storage. Onboard wired connectivity is limited to a single USB 2.0 port and audio in/out. The optional cradle offers HDMI and three USB 3.0 ports. VGA and RJ45 are available via adapter cables. There is a 2-megapixel front webcam and an 8-megapixel rear documentation camera. There's 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi with Bluetooth 4.0, and also optional 4G LTE with GPS.
How about ruggedness? The V535 is tougher than it looks, and, much to their credit, Fujitsu provides a good deal of ruggedness information, including online access to their Environmental Testing Summary for the V535. The operating temperature range is a reasonably wide 14°F to 122°F (-10°C to 50°C), the drop spec is a sufficient four feet (and six if using the rugged frame). The tablet was also tested for vibration integrity and vehicle vibration. Given Fujitsu's experience in industrial tablets, we'd expect the V535 to hold up well.
When we last analyzed a Fujitsu tablet — the Stylistic Q572 — three or four years ago, we were optimistic on its outlook. The tablet market was huge and we felt that given Fujitsu's reputation, tradition, and quality, "the company ought to sell boatloads of Q572s." For one reason or another, that probably didn't happen and it may not happen for the Stylistic V535 either. Which is too bad as the V535 has a lot going for itself.