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REVIEW: Fujitsu U904 Ultrabook

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Windows 8 has been slowly seeping into our lives over the last few years, and yet I still feel overwhelmingly confused when I come across laptops running the no-longer-new OS. 

This Fujitsu Ultrabook laptop, through its size and comfortable usability, helped me to move past my fear of new things and embrace this strange hybrid operating system as much as I could bear to. 

In order to fully utilise Windows 8, the device has a combination of keyboard, mousepad and touchscreen. As with many computers with this combination it can often be awkward to use as there is a lot of reaching forward to use the touchscreen, then moving arms back and forth to switch between using the touch screen and the keyboard. When not using a tablet, I've never been sure whether a touch-screen element is actually necessary, but this laptop provides it in order to fully embrace the Windows 8 experience. 


If you're not totally comfortable with the Windows 8 view, you can switch to classic view, and are automatically switched to classic view to use applications such as Microsoft office. It is a bit more difficult to navigate, however, as the menu bar has been replaced with the new Windows button, taking you back to the application menu filled with colourful panels and widgets. 

Windows 8 allows the use of a Microsoft account to log into the laptop, automatically set up a profile and sync apps using your Windows profile, which can be quite handy if you don't want to go through a lengthily setup process. 

Specs at a glance:

Fujitsu U904 Ultrabook
    • Display: 14 inch frameless touch screen
    • OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
    • Resolution: 3200 x 1800
    • RAM: Maximum 10GB available
    • Optional 3G/4G
    • Battery life: up to 10 hours
    • Available processors: Intel® Core™ vPro™, Intel® Core™ i5-4300U , or Intel® Core™ i7-4600U 
    • Warranty: 2 years (depending on country)

The overall look of this device is very easy on the eye. The lid is black, with a nice glittery finish, very symmetrical and is only 15.5mm thick. Although it only weighs 1.39kg it felt slightly heavier than I expected. It's by no means a monster though, and would be fine for those looking for portability. The only complaint I had about the physical appearance of the Ultrabook is the small toggle on the front of the lid to help open and close it. It's obviously very practical, but it spoils the clean-cut aesthetics a little bit. 

It's slightly larger than other business-focused laptops, but the use of both keys, mousepad and touchscreen makes it easier to use with the Windows 8 operating system, and it has docking station capabilities, as well as an integrated battery and a built in economy battery button to indicate when the device should conserve energy if you're out and about. 

The integrated camera was slightly grainy, but fine for use with Skype calls or other similar applications. The keyboard also has a back-lighting feature that can be used in darker locations, for example if you're trying to use it during a presentation or seminar. 

Prices vary depending on the retailer, but it seems you can snatch one up starting at around £1300, which although isn't cheap is still a good price based on the capabilities of the machine. 

The Fujistu Ultrabook is sleek, it's usable, and it has a shiny metallic finish with a bit of sparkle. Who doesn't love that?

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Fujitsu's additions to its E Line

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Fujitsu has launched three business-ready laptops in their mid-high range E Line.


The 13, 14 and 16-inch notebooks are from first impressions feel streamlined, and include a Fujitsu red accent to its brushed steel-effect shell which adds a nice touch to a corporate device.


The products come out of the box with a Windows 7 license as well as a Windows 8 license ready to be installed when your company is.

This is because Fujitsu are seeing a major move from XP toe Windows 7 in the business world, as businesses prepare to see the end of XP support in Spring 2014. But in the tablet space, Fujitsu are seeing the larger leap from XP to Windows 8.


The clever bit about these notebooks is their modular bays, which allows corporations to buy added extras that can be attached to the device. Items like a second battery which extends life from 13 hours to 19, or a bay projector, second hard drive or a DVD drive. Businesses wouldn't need to buy one of these per device, but a sample number of the accessories could be bought and they could be loan out to employees as and when, saving costs.

Weighing under 2kg (the 13 and 14-inch 1.7kg) the E Line is built for the typical mobile workforce.

The devices begin at £860 + VAT for the entry level 13-inch. But the notebooks are built to order and can make their way up to £1,294 + VAT for the core i7 16-inch edition.

One docking station fits all of the E Line range, and during August the company is offering one free of charge with all notebooks through its resellers (£80 RRP).

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Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 - your new friend in the workplace

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The iX500 is Fujitsu's new offering for a desktop scanner, with hardware updates, including the option of wireless scanning to iOS and Android devices.

Where the company's very portable ScanSnap S1100 is an extremely thin and portable device, you would have to manually scan one-by-one, single sided, with a maximum speed of eight sheets per minute, the desktop iX500 scans both sides of a document at 25 pages per minute.


The scanner automatically scans both sides of a document, recognises a blank page and deletes it. It also recognises the orientation, and if the page has been skewed during the feeding process, correcting it as you go along.


The accompanying software offers a Quick Menu when you scan your documents, with options such as scan to folder, iPhoto or Photo Gallery, print, email or cloud applications such as Evernote and Dropbox. You can organise the various options into 'favourite' to make the Quick Menu even easier to navigate.

What I found particularly clever about the software was the option to import any internal business applications you may need to use. If your business application recognises PDFs, you will be able to import your scanned item straight into it.

Additionally, you can use the settings to make the device as independent as possible. For instance, when using Gmail, if you select to attach a document and then open the software and scan an item, it will attach automatically and can also be selected to delete from your computer locally, avoiding  a build-up of unnecessary files.


The iX500 is fitted with a GI chip to enable wireless scanning. Download the software through an app from the App Store or Google Play, connect the scanner and away you go. You can even remotely press the scan button 'on' from your tablet and a few seconds later the item appears on your screen with the option to view in various applications such as DropBox, iBooks or email. It is expected that future scanners from Fujitsu will also come with wireless capabilities.

Business card heaven

While I was using the scanner and becoming more and more smitten, it was when I realised I could pop up to 20 business cards in the feeder and have them scanned in seconds, which is what the video below demonstrates.

The Fujitsu software, Card Minder, recognises the business cards and extracts the scanned data into relevant fields, this data is then editable and exportable - like creating and alphabetising your own virtual rollerdex. For an organised soul, this is a dream!

However, when I tested it out on my array of different business cards I have stacked on my desk, it wasn't as easy as scanning a stack of identical cards. It was still astonished at how quickly they scanned through and how the software (most of the time) managed to recognise the different types of information and pop them into different fields. However, if a business card was double sided or more "creative" than the traditional white card with lines of text, about 2 out of 10 times is wouldn't recognise my cards. This was slightly frustrating, but it was still easy enough to edit the fields manually if you were determined to use this system. However, I do blame working in media and the array of whacky business cards for this problem.

A desktop's new best friend

I've previously reviewed the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner and I was really pleased with the speed and features, however due to not really being portable, I didn't really see the point, when there are ultra portable scanners, like the S1100, which you can pop into your laptop bag without a thought.

The iX500 should be a staple piece of equipment for the office desk, perfect for the individual who does the most scanning, such as a secretary, and due to the wireless features, anybody in the office with a tablet can also easily access the joys of ScanSnap.

The iX500 was available from January 7 for a RRP of £395.00 ex VAT. 

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On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me... a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

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While the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i scanner is not portable enough to pop in your laptop bag, it is indeed a rather compact (although heavy for its size) device which can neatly sit on your desk, ready to scan two sides of a sheet of paper in a matter of seconds.

First things first, I opened the box to be welcomed by what seemed like a lot of components and even an instruction manual, I said a silent prayer to the Gadget Lords that this wouldn't be fiddly to set up.


Another shocker, after I'd got over all the wires and cabling, was that I saw a CD-ROM lurking in the bottom of the box. Surely there would be a download option? Nope! Well, I spent a good couple of minutes searching for my disc drive before popping in the disc and following the tedious instructions to install the software. Now, I feel bad saying that it took a long time to download... errr... I mean INSTALL, it's just that I'm so used to clicking the big 'D' word, that installing a disc seems very 2002, not 2012.

After probably about eight minutes, the software was installed on my computer. I had the scanner plugged into the mains and also attached to my PC through a USB connection - NOTE: the scanner can also be powered through a second USB connection, so it's all about weighing up how many plugs versus USB ports you have nearby.

The ScanSnap claims to be able to scan 12 pages per minute and once I did have it all set up, I was astonished by how speedily it ate my piece of paper and spat it out the other side. The scan popped up on the software that I had painstakingly installed earlier, and even both sides of the sheet of paper was staring back at me in the form of a PDF on my computer screen in seconds.


The quality of scans was great from all my tests, perfectly good enough for general office use - an ideal for scanning in receipts for expenses as the different sizes of paper didn't faze the gadget at all. 

I tried to scan sheets at squiffy angles and it either works and straightens it out, or the software tells you that there is a problem. You can pop up to ten sheets of paper on the tray of the scanner and they feed through one at a time. Once you have scanned your sheets of paper, the ScanSnap software pops up and offers you a few options, such as 'scan to folder' 'scan to email' or 'scan to print'. You can also scan sheets to a mobile device, by downloading and app and entering a password.


I would never want to lug this gadget around and therefore I can't deem it "portable" in my mind, and it does seem a little pricey compared to the much more portable scanners on the market at the moment but it is a fantastic little desktop gadget. You can pick it up for around the £220 mark from retailers such as Amazon.

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Fujitsu targets enterprise with the Q572 and the Q702 tablet range

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Windows 8 with its intuitive touch interface was launched at the end of October and analysts are predicting that this operating system may bring the use of tablets firmly into the enterprise space.

While the world has been going crazy for Apple's iPad, the enterprise could see the convenience of using slate devices over laptops when mobilising the workforce. However, iOS and later the influx of the Android OS on tablets, was clearly not strong enough to handle all business needs. Tablets were mainly consumption devices. 

Enter Windows 8 and the wide choice of hardware. 

Microsoft's own offering, the Surface tablet, is a disappointment in respects that it only runs the RT version of Windows 8, meaning customers can only use applications from the Store and not any external software. Meanwhile, other hardware manufacturers have been releasing tablets and hybrid devices that can run the full Windows experience.

Both of Fujitsu's offering, in the form of the Q572 and the Q702, run either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, but are also compatible with Windows 7.

While Fujitsu also insisted that Windows 8 also needs to live on the desktop in order to be successful, the company also recognises the need for tablets to be integrated into the enterprise space, to complement existing traditional desk-based solutions. 

The Stylistic Q572

The Q570 is a step up from the M532 which was a device for media consumption, running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Q572's Core i3 processor speeds up creating and editing content on-the-go.

The Q572, is a 10.1 inch tablet, weighing 820g and also has 4G/LTE connectivity.

The tablet comes with a stylus and also features a swappable battery. You have the option to dock the device as well as Bluetooth for attaching keyboards and also a HDMI port. 

Enterprise security features include a SmartCard reader, full disk encryption as well as a fingerprint sensor.

The Stylistic Q702

The Q702 is a hybrid device, combining a detachable keyboard with the ease of use of a tablet. This device is one step up again from the Q572, with even bigger processing power for heavy workloads thanks to the Core i5 processor (also available with the Core i3).

The detachable keyboard makes the device a good option for data input, while also providing additional power. When the device is in hybrid mode, it has about 9 hours battery life, however I did find this device to be quite warm to the touch after being a display for a while.

The 11.6 inch tablet weighs about 850g and so does the keyboard, so the combined weight comes to that of an ultrabook. It was quite chunky, but having option to detach the keyboard and leave it behind is very usefu. It also comes with a stylus pen, USB 2.0 and 4G/LTE support. It too features the same enterprise security features as the Q572.

I found the Q572 to feel a little clunky in my hands, and while the Q702 is just as heavy, the option to easily snap onto a sturdy keyboard, reminded me of a heavier, yet much sturdier Windows Surface tablet. If you remember, I wasn't very impressed with the Surface Touch Cover keyboard. I feel that if you create a hybrid device make sure that the keyboard is easy to use, otherwise you may as well use the on-screen keyboard to input. The Q702 keyboard on the other hand, really turned the slate device into a more familar laptop or ultrabook, with the convenience of leaving the keyboard behind when it isn't needed and simply switch to touch or stylus mode. 

Both products will be available mid-December and with prices to be confirmed nearer the time.  

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HANDS ON: Fujitsu X Line Esprimo PC

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Fujitsu launched its new X-Line hardware products at the Fujitsu Forum in Munich this week and I had a hands on experience with the Windows 8 PC that claims to have a stand which swivels and twists the display to any angle, while also boasting facial recognition technology.

Now it's always a little awkward doing live demos, but after three failed attempts to show me how the facial recognition feature worked, I began to feel a little offended. I was starting to think that perhaps I did look a little bit like the middle-aged German man who was demonstrating the product and who's face the computer was supposed to recognise (not mine!)


After a few very awkward minutes, I was told that the product was actually set to another woman's face with the gentleman's details saved in preferences. Confused? Me too! Well, even if the computer wasn't recognising my face for a man's - unless the woman in question was my long-lost twin - I'm not rating the facial recognition technology.

The Fujitsu representative told me that there could be a "glitch in the system" and that the Esprimo is not designed to be used for "high security" but for "ease of use".

While it was very quick to recgonise faces and log-in, it would be nice if it recognised the correct face to provide access. So no installing the Esprimo into bank security systems anytime soon then? 

While I'm leading this post with my experience with the facial recognition technology, this product's main selling point is the large touchscreen display and its moveable stand.

"These mechanics make it usable for Windows 8 touchscreen because it is not natural to touch a desktop," said Joseph Reger CTO of Fujitsu, at the Forum.


Well Dr Reger, I'm not sure I agree with you...

I found it very stiff to manoeuvre and just plain awkward. It could tilt back from the regular desktop position to flat as use as a giant tablet, but you would have to stand up from your seat to actually use it comfortably anyway, as the photograph below shows.


It also didn't "swivel" as much as I expected from the description on the press release. It simply tilted back and forth.

As a product which apparently demonstrates the importance of Windows 8 on the desktop, I feel it could have been designed to make the operating system even easier to use. 

What large displays optimising the touch Windows 8 experience need is a movement back and forth towards your body to bring the screen within much closer reach. With a large distance between you and the touchscreen you arms would become tired after a short while, and with Fujitsu's answer, apparently so will your legs.

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Four years in the making: The best of the best.

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karate-kid2.jpgHaving created this blog and nurtured it for the past four years, I've decided to put the best blog posts/videos from the best on one page.

Diary of an outcast: Apple's Special iPad 2 Event
I will start with my favourite post, the infamous Apple event. I had been invited to Apple events before but somehow started getting missed off the list. I hate Apple so it was no surprise that they didn't want me there. Safe to say that after this post not only was I missed off the list but Computer Weekly never received an invite from Apple ever again.

iPhone Vs N97
This was the first big video project that me and David (video editor) put together. At the time I was so happy that I'd got the N97 I decided to make a video pitting it against the iPhone while mocking Apple's advertising campaign. Little did I know that the N97 would prove to be the worst purchase I've ever made in my life.

HTC Desire HD Review
David (who stars in this video) and I wanted to do something different and create a cool video review. This is what we came up with.

Sadly once we started recording David (and the department he worked for) were made redundant. It didn't effect the video but it wasn't a happy time for us. Having cleared out his desk he set up at home the next day to finish it. This was our last hurrah and the last video I made. Very proud of it.

What is the best mobile OS around?
At this point, no one wanted to be in any of my videos. The company was starting to cut back on them and so I tried to play four roles with four outfits and a moustache before I got told that what I was doing wasn't a productive use of my time. Honestly, how could they say that?

This video used to have a voting element that has since been removed because we couldn't afford to pay for the server the flash sat on.

The most ambitious video we ever tried.

Video: The future of business cards, I'm not taking the Poken
There was a girl I was desperate to go out with at my work. I needed to do a video to have a reason to talk to her but the only thing I'd been sent was a Poken. No phones or cool gadgets. Somehow I persuaded her to help me make this video. We're still together :)

Video review of the wiimote like Gyration Air Mouse
This video is pretty much when I realised that I can be funny. What people don't realise is that filming didn't take long but discussions between David and I on what was funny took forever.

He would stand there saying "That's not funny" every time I cracked a joke or did something stupid. Or one of my favourite lines of his was "You might think that's funny, but it isn't".

Video: Palm Pre vs the iPhone - The big debate
I had 2 weeks before Christmas to do a video armed with my wit and a white wig that was left over from a very bad 'Back to the future' spoof I'd made where I played the Doc. That video was so bad that the company we producd it for sent us a letter saying that if the video ever saw the light of day, they'd sue my a** off. 

David went on holiday with a week left of editing/filming to do so I didn't have anyone to tell me that what I was saying wasn't funny and some of the editing is a bit off. It's still a good video but we felt it was rushed.

Video: I heart iPad - Dating website matches man to iPad
What do you do when you get your hands on an iPad before the UK release? Write a review. Then what? Make a video about having a special relationship with it. Yep, not sure why.

The HTC and Google story: A love affair and a tragedy
Lord knows what compelled me to write this. Had I taken more time to craft it, I think it could've been great but when I read it now I feel it's rushed. Still good, where the idea came from I'll never know.

Video: Flip Mino HD review
This video took 84 takes. For no reason at all I couldn't stop laughing during recording. We got in trouble because it was meant to take a couple of hours but took almost two weeks.

Video: Zeemote review - Is this the future of mobile gaming?
I did this video because Zeemote said that they'd give me a free phone if I reviewed it. So...

GeeklyWeekly Sexy Halloween Special
Wow, how bad is this video? It doesn't even have anything to do with gadgets!!

Review: The Fujitsu Stylistic Q550. Just A Bad Choice Of Name?

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100_0019.JPGFujitsu are going in a new direction with this tablet, or, as they prefer to call it, slate. It's all to easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of Android tablets out there, trying to compete against the iPad, and business tablets/slates often go unnoticed.

This may have been because some of them are about as useful as a chocolate teapot. 

In order for business slates to be seen as a viable alternative they need almost the same level of functionality as a stand-alone or laptop. Cramming all of that into a tablet sized device means some compromises have to be made, which, more often than not; means performance levels are affected for the worse. 

Fujitsu have had another crack of the whip with the Stylistic Q550, stuffing it with Windows 7 professional (32-bit). What they seem to have created is an improved business tablet that has advanced through the use of older methods, if that makes sense. If you continue to read on it should, hopefully. 


Given that it's called the Stylistic you'd have thought it would have been stylish, well it's not, in fact it's about as stylish as a pair of Pat Butcher's earrings. 

Despite three different components, the screen bezel, front casing and rear casing, all being different colours it just merges into one big bland square. 

100_0018.JPGEven the stylus pen, which really annoyingly has no place to be
 stored and even more annoyingly gets constantly tangled in the string, couldn't look plainer. 

On the other hand, the simplistic design screams out durability and seriousness, which I suppose, for a business tab, is what you want. 

Measuring 275 x 192 x 16.2 mm it is by no means small but I would still call it portable. The large dimensions, which leave plenty of room for the 10.1 inch screen, also mean there is tad more weight than many tablet users have become accustomed too. 

The review unit I had came with a 4-cell battery, weighing 0.860kg, whereas a 2-cell would only weight 0.750kg. Putting it into perspective it feels as heavy as a dinner tray with a plate on it. 

As the Stylistic works mainly in landscape you find all the switches and connections on the sides. The on/off/sleep switch, wireless switch, keyboard, application and screen-orientation buttons are all situated on the right hand side. 

The left hand side is home to the USB and HDMI ports, a smart card reader, along with an earphone jack and two microphones. 


The bright LED display does the job, it isn't shockingly worse than that of an iPad 2 but neither does it come close to matching it. 

Though, the anti-glare touch screen that packs 1280 x 800 pixels offers excellent viewing angles and, unlike many tablets, works well outside in the sun.

The gap in quality becomes wider when you begin using the screen, the digitiser can only deal with 4 points of contact compared to the iPad 2's 10. 

It gets worse still as sometimes even the one touch is too much for the capacitive screen to deal with. It is as temperamental as a 13-year-old teenager, picking and choosing when it wants to do as it's told.

For best results I always resorted to the pesky little stylus. 


This Fujitsu slate comes equipped with two cameras, a front-facing VGA webcam and an under whelming rear 1.3MP camera. 

Both are very grainy and do not perform well in low lighting but they would cope fine with the demands of a business meeting via Skype. The rear facing camera can also record video but you have to be motionless otherwise it turns into one massive blur. 

However it did pick up and record sound well. 


The Q550 comes with either a 32GB or 60GB solid state drive and 2GB of RAM. It is powered by an Intel Atom 1.5GHz processor, which is optimised to do more while consuming less power.100_0035.JPG 

The back of the device plays host to a full size SD card reader and a fingerprint scanner, for added security. Although it is not as straightforward to set up the finger scanning Omnipass software as it could be, it is well worth doing if you have confidential business documents to protect. 

If only those bungling government officials who lost large amounts of data had been introduced to the Q550, if only.
Despite the spacing and styling of the keyboard making it look user friendly, it wasn't. It was fiddly. I made a lot of mistakes. It made me sad. 

I turned to the stylus, hoping it would cheer me up, and, for a few minutes, it did. Then it also made me sad, mainly because it struggled to recognise my childlike scrawly handwriting, but also because, again, it was fiddly to rectify any mistakes. 

I did, however, like the sticky pads, which appear to be stuck directly onto the desktop. They liked my horrible handwriting, they accepted it. 

So far I've given the stylus a bit of a hard time, and that's not fair, as it allows you to right-click and the Fujitsu recognises the pens presence even if it's a centimetre or so away from the screen. These two features caused me no problems; in truth they offered me solutions and an improved level of performance. 


Fujitsu have unnecessarily thrown their own OS, including the Fujitsu Infinity Lounge, on top of the Windows 7. In short all it does is offer shortcuts and unassuming widgets. 

In my eyes, this only hampers the speed and processes that Windows 7 has to offer, with some programmes taking what seemed like hours to open. 

At one point, I had Word, Firefox and the Webcam running and trying to execute any commands in these programmes was as painful as pulling teeth. 

While the full package of Windows 7 is, without doubt, of great benefit to any potential owners the memory it takes to run it, along with it not being optimised for touchscreen tablets, make for a stuttering and disappointing experience. 

Battery Life:

Back to the point I made at the beginning, instead of trying to pioneer new technologies Fujitsu have resorted to tried and tested methods. This is evident in the replaceable battery. 

A modest solution to the poor battery life problems that tablets and slates often fall foul of. 

However, Fujitsu haven't just left it at that. The Stylistic can be put into a hibernation mode allowing you to swap the batteries over without losing any work you may have been in the middle of.

The battery life was impressive on the Stylistic, coping well with a full days worth of heavy usage. Once the battery had run down it didn't take to long for to charge back up either. 

The added option of swapping batteries means that, potentially you can run it for twice as long. Not many tablets or slates can boast that. 


As a business slate, the Fujitsu is not as polished as is it should or could be. It is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. 

Considering it is designed for businesses it doesn't share many traits with the stereotypical businessman. It isn't stylish and slick, it isn't always fast to respond and it doesn't cope well with extensive multi-tasking. 

The full Windows 7 would have been a masterstroke if it was bundled with a bigger processor and touch screen optimisation, but it isn't. 

The fingerprint scanner and removable battery are the main two selling points for the Stylistic Q550, offering extra security and making the slate ideal for people constantly on the move. 

The replaceable battery and stylus all scream retro, well when your talking tablets anyway. That may already appeal to some people, but if it doesn't the noticeable benefits they bring should change your mind.

If I worked in an office and my boss handed me one of these I would certainly welcome it with open arms and embrace it. I'd go even further and say I'm sure it would improve my hypothetical level of performance as well as offering a level of security currently not available on other tablets or smartphones. Still, that said, if I were a businessman I probably wouldn't go out and buy one of my own accord, especially for around £750.



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