Another area of compromise is the screen, and of all the components it's by far the weakest. At 8.6in it's certainly small, but in the context this is okay and isn't the uncomfortable half-way house of the 10.6 screen on the P7230. A native resolution of 1,280 x 768 is fine too, but as with the P7230 this display suffers from appalling viewing angles, reflections, backlight bleeding, ordinary brightness levels and a mottled look to the screen. If anything, though, the viewing angle problems are more significant in this model because of its status as a tablet. When in tablet mode, particularly in the portrait aspect, the colouration and brightness is very inconsistent and can be quite off putting.
In performance tests the P1610 performed well, often outperforming both the Samsung Q40 and P7230 in PC Mark 05. Considering all these systems have featured slightly different setups, the Q40 and P1610 both ran XP while the P7230 was using Vista, these results are difficult to compare with any certainty. But, given the respective configurations, they all offer similar performance – albeit on different platforms.
Battery performance was also good; the 6-cell 5400mAh battery produced four hours of basic word processing, Internet and tablet usage with the screen on full brightness and with wireless enabled. This is a good performance, and by reducing brightness and utilising the power saving utilities one ought to be able to get a good deal more out of it too.
Overal, l the Lifebook P1610 is an interesting machine. As tablets go it's one of the smallest around, providing a level of portability not often found. For what it is it will perform adequately, while the general design is solid and inspires confidence. A great keyboard is a significant bonus, but it’s the distinctly average screen that lets it down. Clearly this is where Fujitsu-Siemens has economised, and in this case a little too much.
Despite the disappointing screen and conservative memory specification, the Lifebook P1610 offers a desirable feature set, excellent built quality and flexibility. There are better specified Tablet PCs but none are as portable as this, and that alone is compelling reason to consider it if portability is high on your list of requirements.