Q550 User Observations

Discussion in 'Fujitsu' started by Steve S, Jun 12, 2011.

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  1. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    UPDATED: 24 June 2011 See Additional remarks in red.

    UPDATED: 14 June 2011 See additional remarks in blue.

    After a bit more than a week of user experience with the Q550, my observations are as follows:

    <> If all you want it to do is play videos, pass on this slate (this and next item). I downloaded a 1080p clip to my desktop machine and played it with WMP to ensure its integrity. Video quality was excellent on my calibrated U2410 monitor (I use this same monitor for soft-proofing digital images). I then copied the file to the Q desktop and attempted to play it with WMP. The Q could not play the clip without occasional video tearing and pixilation. I repeated the trial a couple of times with no change in the results. Note, however, that all lesser videos that I tried played OK on the Q. Only 1080p was a problem.

    <> Sound quality is a definite shortcoming. With only one speaker, the resulting volume was always lower than I would have liked and more than occasionally "raspy." Sound by way of earbuds was OK. Unfortunately, the Q produces an unsatisfactory "pop" (sometimes it's more like a "crackle") the very first time an audio clip starts (the sound is OK thereafter). As time goes on, I am finding the raspy sound quality of the Q more irritating. I am seriously considering installing the latest RealTek audio driver even though the numbering is completely different than the "official" Fujitsu audio driver. Interestingly, my EP121 also has RealTek audio, and the sound quality is OK! I finally got around to calling Fujitsu Tech Support a couple of days ago. The Tech recommended that I try reinstalling the audio driver and it seems to have worked! I have been testing the Q for a couple of days, and the "raspyness" and "crackle" is 99% gone. With this issue fixed, my reservations about the Q's audio quality are withdrawn. (Note, however, that the single-speaker volume isn't any different, and it's still pretty low...)

    <> In a side-by-side comparison with the Slate 500, I saw no significant performance differences in accomplishing different tasks! Start-up, opening an application, opening IE9, navigating to a website, opening a video... neither machine was ever more than a second or two different from the other. (Note that they were both pulling from the same router. Since I have high speed Internet, I assume that this was not a bottleneck.) As noted below, in Balanced power management mode, the Q's processor spends a lot of time at 600 MHz, spiking to 1500 MHz when tasks are invoked. I switched to Performance power management and adjusted the CPU settings so that the processor stayed pinned at 1500 MHz. I then repeated a small battery of trials with my Slate, whose processor was running mostly at 1833 MHz. This time, the results were a little mixed with the Slate occasionally being a second or two faster than the Q. In at least one trial, the Q was faster. This probably means that over a few seconds (to open an app, for example), the Q's throttling is fast enough that starting from 600 MHz doesn't really hurt it much... and it does save power. On the other hand, touch is a different story because when you touch the screen, the expectation is that the Q will respond immediately. That's a significant expectation!

    <> In a side-by-side comparison with the TC1100 (running Win7), the Q was usually at least a few seconds faster than the TC, but every now and again the TC would beat the Q. The Q was consistent enough that it is reasonable to say that it is faster, but we're talking, like, 5 seconds difference, typical...!

    <> The screen on the Q looks much better to me than the Slate. Color values look more correct, and they hold up over large viewing angles. The colors on the Slate have always struck me as being too saturated (too "hot"), and the narrow screen viewing angles cause further color distortion with little viewing angle change. I also find the Q's larger screen more to my liking because I can write more on it before my palm starts to slip off the edges. As time goes on, I am finding the Q's color rendition and wide viewing angles more and more attractive. During video playback trials, I could watch the Q while it was flat on my table. On the other hand, I had to tilt the Slate up in order to avoid some really serious color distortions in its display when viewed at a moderate angle...

    <> In all my tests, the temperature on the left side rear was never more than "warm." I made it a point to specifically run virus scans, and there was no significant heat build-up during those times. The Q continues to run warm but I still have not observed it getting "hot."

    <> The Q's claim of eight hour battery life is perfectly believable, based on my experiences, and I was running on Balanced power management mode. I noted that the CPU tended to run at only 600 MHz a lot of the time, and that may be partially responsible for other's complaints about sluggish behavior (in particular, touch?). When set to Performance mode with the processor pinned at 1500 MHz, battery operating life declined dramatically, as one would expect.

    <> Inking seems subtly better than the Slate and Fujitsu's own T580. The more I use the Q, the more pleased I am with the inking experience; it seems even better than my first impression. Head-to-head with the Slate, touch seemed to be the same almost every time I compared them, yet somehow it frequently felt subtly less positive. As noted above, I suspect that processor throttling may be a factor. With the processor running at 600MHz, an initial touch would cause acceleration to 1500MHz briefly and then it would slow down again... With the processor pinned at 1500 MHz, the touch experience was not noticeably improved. Note that I used the Touch Tuning feature in the N-trig driver window when I first set up my Q, and I repeated the Touch Tuning before these latest tests. What I think I notice is that when you touch the screen, the Q requires a fraction of a second more than the Slate to fixate on your finger. This seemingly minor delay is actually a pretty big deal...

    <> The Q's overall dimensions, in particular thickness, are acceptable to me. Weight seems OK, and the construction looks good. Despite earlier hopes, the Q does not feature a pen garage. I found the tablet buttons on the right edge difficult to press.

    In my opinion, the processor and graphics / video issues look to be "fixable" if Intel supplies driver updates. However, the sound issues may not be fixable (Note: sound quality now fixed after reinstalling audio driver). Certainly, the low volume from the small, single speaker isn't going to change. All other aspects of the Q appear to me to be adequate, given the design intents and the price point.

    As for me, I will probably keep my Q largely due to its larger screen size. The Slate is simply too small. Since I am not much into videos, the 1080p performance issues aren't terribly important to me. The audio does matter, but I guess I can use earbuds, and it's not much of a sacrifice to carry them.

    Like all of us, I had hoped that the Q would be better, but compared to its immediate competition, I guess it's good enough. One bit of good news is that given time, the Q grows on you.

    More good news: I have been slowly optimising my Q based on other user's comments. I have turned off Aero, and that seems to make a noticeable improvement in responsiveness. I am using Balanced power management, but I am now going to try Performance, based on another user's comment. At this point, I am actually pretty pleased with my Q. My HP Slate 500 will be up for sale shortly...
     
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  2. TheVoid

    TheVoid Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Steve

    Thanks for the post and the review. I would assume this was with the stock Q, no major modifications or tweaks done to the system?
     
  3. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...I would assume this was with the stock Q...>>

    The: That is correct. I'm a big believer in testing hardware with the manufacturer's baseline software load. I believe that this best illustrates the kind of performance that the manufacturer was shooting for.

    Of course, I do Windows and other updates to ensure currency, but I don't do anything "radical"...
     
  4. poof

    poof Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Why are you trying to play 1080 video on a 720 screen?
     
  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Why are you trying to play 1080 video on a 720 screen?..>>

    ...Because someone specifically asked me to try it for them and report the results.
     
  6. Tourniquet

    Tourniquet Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Did you also test playing videos with kmplayer + CoreAVC ?
    On my NC10 i couldnt even play 720p videos, but with CoreAVC its not a problem anymore.
     
  7. Rigel

    Rigel Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Well one of the reasons for higher resolution would be from output through the HDMI connection.

    Also I found interesting on the specs from the fujitsu store.

    Intel® Atom&#8482; Z670 (1.5 GHz, 512 KB cache, 800 MHz)
    Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 32 (MUI)
    Microsoft® Office Starter 20101
    Anti-glare, bright (400 nit) 10.1" WXGA LED backlit IPS display with 160 degree vertical and horizontal viewing angles
    Capacitive multi-touch screen with digital pen input
    62 GB S-ATA Ultra DMA/300 with full disk encryption and TRIM command support
    Quick-swap battery: Lithium ion (4-cell, 43 WHr)
    Embedded Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v1.2
    2 GB DDR2 800 MHz memory
    Intel® GMA 600 (up to 1080p video decode2 and HDMI)
    Integrated WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth v3.0
    Advanced security: Integrated Fingerprint Sensor, dedicated Smart Card reader slot, Computrace® enabled BIOS
    Noise cancelling dual microphones
    Expansion: bootable USB 2.0 port, HDMI (type A connector) port, SD/SDHC slot, audio-out, docking cradle connector
    Approximate weight: 1.9 lbs3
    Approximate battery life: Up to 8 hrs and 10 mins4
    One-year International Limited Warranty
    M-code: Q550-62GB-02

    Emphasis is mine. There is a ^2 note

    2Video playback performance may vary depending on display resolution

    Could this be a fancy way of saying that while it can play 1080p your performance may vary to the point where it is 1fps...

    I also wonder if video playback would be a valid concern for returning your device without having to pay the restocking fee.

    Anyways I hope i have not derailed the post too much.

    Thanks Steve for posting your experience.
     
  8. dceggert

    dceggert Owner of a TabletPC Museum Senior Member

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    Thanks Steve! I have what I needed to know now.
     
  9. poof

    poof Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Is it possible to access the cmos or ssd?
     
  10. TheVoid

    TheVoid Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I do agree, but since you all have done most of the baselining with regard to user experience and described it so well I know what I need to do next when mine arrives. I'm also a minimalist at heart, take the device, only load what is neccessary for the features I need to use the device for and leave the rest.

    I also understand that as the Q550 was designed primarily for one use as time went by programs and features get added to appeal to a larger croud, afterall if they don't sell the quantities they need, they don't make money, and don't develop products that I may want to use. Great part about computers though, you know how to work with them, you can customize it yourself.
     
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