Last year, Fujitsu released the Lifebook T4410 laptop which converts into a tablet PC courtesy of a rotating screen hinge. The Lifebook T580 is another convertible ultraportable laptop which shares many of the strengths and weaknesses of the T4410.
The T580 acts as a standard laptop with the screen up, but rotate the 10.1-inch display 180 degrees and fold it back over the keyboard and you have a touchscreen tablet. The hinge feels relatively sturdy, but we wouldn't want to put much pressure on it, just in case.
Many tablet-like features are included, such as a built-in accelerometer that automatically rotates the desktop. A weighty stylus can be pulled from the chassis to manipulate the sharp and sensitive touchscreen, or you can use your fingers which tends to be more responsive.
Unfortunately, Windows 7 isn't an ideal interface, with lots of fiddly menus that are hard to navigate through prodding alone. We would have preferred some custom touch-oriented software.
The chunky chassis, which weighs 1.5kg, is also difficult to hold with one hand. In tablet mode, we found it easiest to use when rested on our lap or a solid surface.
Build quality is reasonably strong, despite the plastic appearance, with minimal flex. The weight might make one-handed use tricky, but you'll barely notice it when slipped into a bag. Portability is enhanced by almost six hours of battery life.
The low-voltage Intel Core i3 380UM processor allows for longer battery life, but performance is limited with just 2048MB of memory to back it up. Light multi-tasking with office applications is the limit.
The integrated graphics are strong enough for watching high-definition video and browsing your photos, but that is all.
While you can type using an on-screen keyboard with predictive text, we preferred the physical keyboard. It's well sized, despite the compact chassis, with tapered keys that are comfortable to type on, although our test model did have an unresponsive '1' key.
The touchpad is tiny, but perfectly sensitive during use. An integrated fingerprint scanner adds an extra level of security, while VGA and HDMI ports can be used to connect an external display.
The 160GB of storage is rather limiting, however, and anyone with a reasonably large media collection will quickly run out of space.
There are only two USB ports, which limits how many peripherals you can attach.
The Lifebook T580 is a highly portable laptop and its ability to convert into a tablet is neat. However, the lack of dedicated touch software and some minor limitations hold it back.
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