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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fujitsu Stylistic M532

Tablet devices are delivered to replace laptops and to be more mobile. Currently on the market we have a decent number of those devices and one of the latest that we were able to see is the Fujitsu Stylistic M532. This tablet is available on the market and here it is what it brings.
If there’s one thing that can be said about the Fujistu Stylistic M532 it’s that it’s a smart and stylish looking piece of kit.
There’s not much room for individuality with the overall shape – it’s your usual rectangle with slightly rounded corners, but the proportions are neat and the shiny black bezel is nicely sized around the screen.
We also found the bezel was just the right size to appear thin enough to look hi-tech and modern, yet large enough to provide a very comfortable grip and you won’t find yourself accidentally activating the touch screen while maneuvering the tablet around.
Fujitsu has been a bit adventurous with the colour, a relatively thin outer edge of bodywork between the front and back panels is coloured in a striking metallic red.
The back panel itself is black and coated with rubber, although it doesn’t have a texture to enhance grip and can be a bit slippy. The camera port at the top of the back panel also has a red accent to tie the two-tone look together.
Visually the Stylistic tablet certainly pops and the build quality is also sound – there’s no creaking or wiggling here, just a snug, solid fit.
It’s also worth mentioning that the device is MIL-STD-810G certified – that’s a US military-grade standard of durability for withstanding a variety of environmental abuse.
We’re not sure how far this goes as we weren’t exactly prepared to start slinging the review unit around with abandon. Nor did we feel inclined to book a holiday to the rainforest to test its water, humidity, dirt and fungus tolerances (yes, that last one is real), but needless to say it should be tougher than your average slate.
Although the Stylistic tablet weighs less than 600g we noticed that the weight distribution is somewhat poorly balanced. It feels like a heavier device than it is and holding it in one hand is very difficult indeed.
We might not have noticed this so much, but for the fact we happened to have an Asus Transformer Infinity in the office at the same time.
According to its stats the Transformer actually weighs more than the Fujitsu, but if you held both devices simultanesously you’d probably find this difficult to believe as the balance of the Asus gives it a much lighter feel.
One other bone of contention we mentioned in our first-look is still as annoying as ever, the proprietary charging port. The device has a MicroUSB port but it’s only good for data transfer.
Other ports include a 3.5mm audio jack, a MicroSD card slot and a SIM card slot. Yes, the Stylistic is designed to take SIM cards so you can utilise 3G mobile data plans but, as we said before, we couldn’t get the damned thing to work.
The 10.1-inch 1280×800 pixel LCD display is disappointing to say the least. Although colours are suitably vivid the brightness and contrast aren’t the best, but the most jarring issue is simply the picture clarity.
Android comes with some visually interesting wallpapers but they don’t look good on this display with some obvious blockiness.
The Stylistic’s display doesn’t seem to do smooth curving shapes and things end up looking very jagged and pixelated.
The text of any shortcuts, menu elements or ebooks you might wish to look at is also particularly bad and the smaller it gets the more blurry it becomes.

The processor hardware is one of the better elements of the device, like many of its contemporaries the Fujitsu Stylistic uses Nvidia’s ARM Cortex-A9 based Tegra 3 quad core chipset.
It’s clocked at 1.4GHz and has 1GB of single-channel RAM along with a ULP GeForce graphics processing unit (GPU).
Performance is as good as we’ve come to expect from this setup – it’ll gleefully devour any multitasking or other intensive activities you throw at it. Gaming is a particular strongpoint thanks to Nvidia’s background in graphics hardware.
As usual, we tried pushing the tablet’s performance to see if it buckled under the pressure. We did notice a slight stutter when running a video window app over the top of a graphically demanding game.
But, on the whole it coped remarkably well and you can expect consistently good performance from the tablet running it in a more normal capacity.
Internal storage is quite generous too, with 32GB of space for you to fill with media and apps before you even get to the MicroSD expansion.
Put simply, it’s more than adequate for the needs of most users.
We already mentioned the MicroUSB port, but other connectivity support includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
The Fujitsu M532 runs a stock build of Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), which of course has all the perks we’ve come to appreciate from this more recent build.
It’s fast, smooth, reliable and features a neatly re-organised menu layout, plus a handy multitasking app switcher control.
Fujitsu has aimed the device at least partly at the business and enterprise market as there are a few extra additions.
You get full versions of ThinkFree Office, ES File Explorer, Adobe Reader and Norton Security. There’s also provision for Virtual Private Networks via Citrix, virtual desktop support and on-device encryption.
For non-business stuff there’s the TegraZone Gaming Hub and PowerDVD Mobile.
On the rear is an 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash, autofocus, continuous autofocus, white balance, digital zoom, face detection and 1080p HD video capture and a video light.
It’s also got a weird set of modes for video capture under the heading of ‘silly faces’, some of which are genuinely terrifying to behold, particularly as they only kick in once the camera sensor’s face recognition activates turning a normal-looking video into a horrific freakshow in seconds.
The picture quality isn’t great on the primary camera and images tend to be a bit washed out and fuzzy. However, the HD video isn’t bad and the secondary 2-megapixel camera is also very good considering its primary purpose is video calls.
The battery pack is a 3170 mAh unit which is pegged to last for around 8.5 hours of video playback.
For general use it should be quite adequate and last at least a couple of days without any problems. We didn’t have any issues with it running out of juice unexpectedly.
As usual, intensive use of games and demanding multimedia such as films will drain it faster but it’s not at any particular advantage or disadvantage compared to the rest of the current Android crop.
Final Thoughts
On balance we find it hard to recommend the Fujitsu Stylistic M532, but at the same time there isn’t anything about it that is particularly damning. It’ll perform as well as the rest of the Tegra 3 powered crowd, but at around £400-£500 it seems like a lot of money for something quite average in many other respects.
The display is particularly bothersome at this price point when you consider the cost of a 16GB iPad 3 with a Retina display.
£400-£500ish also seems pricey against an Asus Transformer with the addition of a keyboard dock and, most glaringly of all, the £199 16GB Nexus 7, which has a much nicer touchscreen to boot.

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