Of all the current Tablet PC vendors, none has more experience than
Fujitsu Computer Systems which has been designing and selling pen slates
for well over 15 years.
This experience is plainly obvious in the design,
high quality, and overall execution of the Stylistic ST6000 Series of
Tablet PCs, the successor to a long line of ST5x00, ST4000 and earlier Stylistic pen computing slates.
With the 6000 Series, Fujitsu finally bowed to the pressure of converting to a fashionable 16:10 ratio "wide format" display. While the 5000 Series used the "old" 4:3 aspect ratio, the ST6012 comes with a transmissive 12.1-inch display with WXGA 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. While older Fujitsu slates were usually available with a variety of displays both in size (10.4 and 12.1 inches) and display technology, the 6000 Series, for now, seems limited to the 12.1 inch transmissive LCD. This is an indoor/outdoor-viewable display with a wide 160+ degree viewing angle.
Overall dimensions have not changed much. If you look at the older ST5100 model, you can see that the design already provided room for a wide-screen format. What has changed is some of the ergonomics. Whereas the 5100 Series had all of its hardware controls arranged on the right side (when used in portrait mode), the new model moved the four cursor control keys to the upper left. The overall look has changed as well, with the silver metallic finish of the 5100 being replaced by matte black.
The complete redesign afforded Fujitsu the opportunity to update the Stylistic's innards with Intel's latest processor technology. The ST6000 uses a 1.4GHz Intel SU94000 Core 2 Duo processor that provides more punch, but is rated at the same thermal design power of about ten watts, which means battery life of the new machine won't suffer. The new chip is complemented with Intel's GS45 and ICH9-M chipset and Mobile Intel GMA 4500M HD circuitry for graphics. For wireless, the new Fujitsu slate is available either with the Intel WiFi Link 5300 or the Atheros
HB92, so Fujitsu continues to make WiFi available from either Intel or Atheros.
On the connectivity side, things have changed a bit. There is no longer a modem port, and IEEE1394 FireWire also has gone by the wayside; with USB 2.0 so fast, there really isn't a need for it anymore for most applications. The PC Card slot has been replaced with an ExpressCard slot, another sign of the times (the model offered in the US lists a PC Card slot), and there is now a 1.3 megapixel integrated vidcam. Else, Fujitsu offers Bluetooth v2.1, 3G/UMTS wide area wireles (three dual band WLAN and two UMTS antennas, according to Fujitsu literature).
As far as the operating system goes, Fujitsu offers a "TwinLoad." The ST6000 models come with pre-installed Vista Business, but users also get downgrade rights and can easily change to Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005.
As usual, Fujitsu offers several optional stands and docks and other accessories needed for business or vertical market applications.
Battery life remains impressive: initially listed as up to six hours with the standard 56
watt-hour battery, and up to nine hours with the high-capacity 84 watt-hour
battery, Fujitsu upped the estimates to 7.5 and 11.5 hours. 2.5-inch hard disks are shock-mounted and come in larger capacities than ever, ranging up to a 250GB 5400rpm SATA drive. Optionally you can also get a 64GB solid state disk.
As of early October 2008, the ST6000 model was listed on the Fujitsu Siemens website in great detail. As of this update (March 2009), the ST6012 is also on the Fujitsu USA site with minor differences in specs.
There isn't much information on ruggedness. Fujitsu has a general white paper on testing, wuality and reliability, but it does not show what tests are performed on which product (see here). As is, Fujitsu mentions a shck-mounted hard disk, a Fujitsu Shock Sensor Utility, 41-95 degree operating temperature, but no sealing or drop spec. This information is becoming increasingly important.
The Stylistic ST6000 platform is a reliable, well executed slate computer from a blue-chip vendor that gets the job done. The new models are technologically up-to-date, provide a good balance between performance and battery life, and remain light and handy. Note that the ST6000 and ST5100 lines are now the only remaining full tablet in Fujitsu's lineup; all other Tablet PC models are notebook convertibles (T1010, T2020, T4220, T5010).