Q704 Review.

Discussion in 'Fujitsu' started by Mesosphere, May 2, 2014.

  1. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    So I finally got a chance to play with a Q704 today. My colleague got a new Q704, and I clean installed Windows 8.1 and set it up for him. I spent most of the day with it, but had little opportunity to actually test it. Hopefully when he returns from Germany I can borrow it again to run it through its paces a little more.

    My initial impressions of the device where very good. While sitting idle with Windows 7 installed the fan was inaudible and it wasn't hot to the touch, however it wasn’t on for very long before I started the Windows 8 install process. The build quality seemed excellent. I immediately started to question my decision to go with the T904 over this (however, I still think I made the right decision for me).

    It was equipped with the full sized keyboard which includes the battery and ports. It had 2x USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI and VGA ports on the keyboard and a 45 Whr battery. The keyboard was much better quality than I expected for a detachable keyboard. The touch pad was pretty decent as well except I couldn't find a way to make it resistant to stray touches that occur while typing. There doesn't appear to be a Synaptics driver for it. I'm not sure it is a Synaptics touchpad. The Synaptics touch pad on my T904 has a feature to disregard stray clicks on the touch pad which works very well. This keyboard added a significant amount of weight and thickness to the device. I’m not sure which was heavier the keyboard or the slate. With the keyboard attached it was very noticeably heavier than the T904 and significantly thicker as well.

    When I started the install process, the fan noise immediately kicked up and it became quite warm to the touch in the vicinity of the heat sink. I didn’t find it to be incredibly loud, but it was very clearly audible. The tone however was not high pitch as it is on the T904 when that fan kicks in, so, at least, it is far less annoying than it could have been. The fan was on pretty much the entire time I had it from that point on, however, I was also nearly constantly installing software and updates. In the times I wasn’t installing/updating the search indexer was constantly going. My colleagues OneDrive files total ~150GB with a file count of about 200k. It seems to have been hung up on indexing this and the CPU usage hovered between 10-20% pretty much all the time while “idle” and the clock was rarely in its lowest power P-state (~0.7 GHz). For comparison, idle usage on my Surface Pro (1) and T904 is typically 0-2% with the clock pretty much locked in the lowest P-state.

    While “idle” the fan was on constantly and the slate was quite warm (borderline hot) to the touch. On the plus side, while in “laptop” mode, none of this heat was in your lap. That is one benefit of the detachable slate that never occurred to me. Since the heat is behind the glass instead of under the keyboard, you don’t feel it in laptop mode. Heat is one of my pet-peeves about laptops/tablets. In slate mode however, I found it quite uncomfortable to hold, but, keep in mind, this is one of my pet-peeves, and it was constantly under load because of the indexing.

    I don’t think the load is high enough to explain the level of heat (compared to other Haswell devices). I got the distinct impression that this device is significantly less efficient at dissipating heat. With the T904 it seems that the fan may be a little over aggressive, so the fan may be louder than it needs to be at a given level of load. The T904 remains very cool to the touch except under significant load. The Q704 on the other hand seems to get hot very quickly. I think the fans are running hard for a good reason. With the T904 it seems as though there is little reason to go for the higher end CPU configurations because the thermal limits don’t seem to allow you to really take advantage of the extra potential of the higher end processors. It seems this is the case with the Q704 as well, but with an even lower (I think significantly) thermal threshold. If you are looking to get full sustained iCore performance out of this device, I do not think this is the device for you. I seriously doubt a firmware update is going to bump performance significantly in the future. I think the limitation is thermal, and that isn’t likely to change.

    I should point out though that this device seemed in no way sluggish. I noticed no difference in performance from my T904 or Surface Pro. If you’re intended use case is light like note taking, browsing, document editing and similarly demanding tasks. You can expect snappy performance. If you are running demanding programs like demanding 3D modeling or art programs and long running computational codes you will definitely notice the difference between this device and un-hamstrung ULV Haswell processors. Fortunately for me, I don’t require the demanding tasks (my computational work is offloaded to servers), so the thermal limit is not a big deal in my use. In any case though, it seems getting anything but the minimum processor configuration is a waste of money.

    In my last ~20 minutes with it, I disabled the indexer to get an idea of how it behaved under normal circumstances. With the indexer disabled the idle utilization was very similar to my other devices, and after some time the fan dropped to nearly inaudible levels. It remained warm, but it is unclear if it had enough time to cool after being thoroughly saturated in heat for several hours. My only use test was OneNote. The performance was very good, however, I noticed if I wrote very quickly several lines the fan would pick up slightly. It was unclear to me if this would have happened though if it hadn’t been running so hot before this. The power draw while note taking (I only saw a couple ticks) seemed very good (4-5W with ~50% screen brightness). At that rate it should last ~10 hours on the internal battery, or as much as 20 with the keyboard!

    I hope to be able to do more testing when my friend returns from Germany and lets me play with it some more =)

    The screen seemed very good. I’m not a good judge of things like color accuracy, but the screen was much brighter than my T904 and the view angles where much better. The screen seemed to me to be on par with my Surface Pro. My T904 has a matte screen protector on it though which I think is making the view angles significantly worse (I’m considering removing it). One thing I noticed however was that the image was distorted by the pressure of the pen. While writing in OneNote there were ripples that followed the stroke of the pen. I think this is likely something that I would get used to and ultimately wouldn’t bother me with time. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this behavior on previous tablet PC’s, but I haven’t experienced it on recent ones, so I’ve become unaccustomed to it.

    That is all for now. Hopefully, I will get some more time to do some more tests with it soon. Here is a picture of my Surface Pro and T904 next to the Q704 (right).


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  2. in4mer

    in4mer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    T904 is actually 3.5lbs. Initial information was incorrect. Put it on a scale.
     
  3. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Referring to my sig? Yea, I'd seen conflicting info on that. I was curious, but my only scale doesn't have that kind of precision =P
     
  4. scrambler

    scrambler Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Thank you for that review. It does confirm the issue with heat, but also puts it in perspective of actual usage.

    I still cant bring myself to fork the extra dollars for a somewhat flawed device :)

    Looking forward to hear more from you if you have a chance.

    I also noticed the performance cradle has disappeared from the available options in the Fujitsu store, I wonder what is up with that. Given I am only interested in a configuration with the dock, I guess it gives me a reason to wait :)
     
  5. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    I put the T904 on a scale with 0.5 oz precision. You are correct it is not 3.3 lbs, but mine reads 3 lbs. 7 oz. or 3.4 lbs. I don't think the scale is biased (at the 0.5 oz level). It puts my Vivotab Note 8 at 13.5 oz which is what it is spec'd at (380g). Possibly mine is a bit lighter since it has an SSD instead of the HDD. An HDD feels considerably heavier in the hand, but I've never actually weighed one, so I don't know if this is the reason for the discrepancy. In any case, I'll update my signature.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  6. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    My next main notebook will be a 12.5" Haswell. ATM, the ThinkPad Yoga and the 704 are the prime candidates. I really like the Yoga, which I've spent time with. I look forward to hearing about the Q704, which has some obvious design advantages. I'm sure they'll eventually show up in the outlet where they'll be far more affordable.
     
  7. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    I got another hour with it yesterday. I'll wait until I get more before I update the review, but the device did cool down and finished up the indexing. I'd rate it as cooler than the SP1 (under light load), but not cool to the touch like an atom tablet or the T904. It was much more comfortable to hold than the SP due to its lack of sharp corners and textured back. In slate mode it is a smidge heavier than the SP, but that is nearly unnoticeable in comparison to the increased screen real estate.

    I'll leave you with some more pics.

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    Last edited: May 4, 2014
  8. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Continued....

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  9. in4mer

    in4mer Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I've got the ssd version. Do you have 4g card? Maybe that's the difference. :)
     
  10. Mesosphere

    Mesosphere Geek. Senior Member

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    Nope, no 4g card. Mystery solved (probably) =)
     
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