The Fujitsu Q550 uses an Atom processor, renowned more for its low battery usage than power, but it is at least the newest breed of this generally low-end range. The tablet uses a dual-core 1.5GHz Z670 Oak Trail chip. This latest generation brings with it some important – in tablet terms – advancements including native support for HDMI and 1080p video encoding, while keeping battery life riding high.
There’s a full-size HDMI port on the left edge of the tablet, which also is a home to the 3.5mm headphone jack, the full-size USB port, the Smartcard reader and the stereo microphone outlets. A microphone port sits at each end of this edge, giving it at least some legitimacy as a “stereo” recording solution. There’s no socket to plug your own microphone into though, so quality will be fairly limited. Although there are two mics at work here, there’s only a single speaker, which sits under the screen on the bottom edge.
On top of the tablet is the full-size SD card slot. This tops-off the standard connectivity options. It’s a reasonable spread, but we wish another USB port had been included, which would enable easy simultaneous connection of a standard USB keyboard and mouse. USB 3.0 is not supported.
On the bottom edge are the power socket and proprietary dock connector. There’s nothing in the box to make use of the dock socket, but Fujitsu offers a charging cradle for around £40. It’ll hold the tablet upright, useful if you plan to make this tablet double as an occasional-use home computer. The 30GB SSD and HDMI make it viable to use as a home media player too – the 1.5GHz Oak Trail processor is capable of playing HD video, although it had trouble with 42Mbps 1080p MKV files in our test.
Wi-Fi n and Bluetooth 3.0 are supported as standard, but 3G mobile internet is an optional extra that didn’t feature in our review model. There’s a physical switch for the Wi-Fi on the right edge of the tablet, which should help you save a few precious minutes of battery life when you don’t need to be connected.
It’s the security measures that help the Fujitsu Q550 to stand out on the ports ‘n’ sockets front though. Fujitsu’s Smartcards cost between £15 and £20, and act as a personal identifier – to lock the system or certain parts of it to unauthorised parties. The fingerprint reader is generally considered a less reliable form of security, but it acts as another barrier to heap on top of Windows passwords.