Windows 7 business tablets: Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 vs. Motion CL900

These two new Windows 7 tablets offer ruggedized components and enterprise-level mobility

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A tale of two displays

Regardless of whether I was using a finger or the pen, both displays reacted quickly and accurately to touch; they also worked well with multifinger gestures, like zooming in on an image or rotating it. Both tablets use N-trig's DuoSense digitizer and stylus -- in fact, the pens were interchangeable. For typing, Motion sticks with Microsoft's standard on-screen keypad, while Fujitsu augments it with Nuance's XT9 predictive entry software keypad.

Although both screens measure 10.1 in., they are different. With a resolution of 1280 x 800, the Fujitsu Q550's screen is shorter and wider (8.6 x 5.3 in.) than the Motion CL900's (8.9 x 4.9 in.) display, which has a resolution of 1366 x 768.

Both tablets are partially ruggedized. Both have chemically strengthened glass; Motion uses Corning's Gorilla Glass. I was told by a company representative that the Fujitsu uses something similar. According to Fujitsu, the Q550 can survive a 24-in. drop; Motion says that its tablet can handle a drop of 48 in. There are flexible rubber covers over the Motion's ports that can keep dust and water out.

Other features

Both tablets offer two cameras, but the Motion is the clear winner here. The Fujitsu tablet offers a 1.3-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing 0.3-megapixel camera. The Motion, however, has a rear-facing 3-megapixel camera and one facing the user that can record 1.3 megapixels.

The Fujitsu Q550 has a nice selection of controls around its edge. There are buttons for turning it on and off, bringing up the on-screen keyboard, changing the display orientation, starting the Task Manager and turning Wi-Fi on and off. In contrast, the Motion CL900 has just an on/off switch, a button that takes you to the Task Manager and a really useful push-button battery gauge, which I wish more mobile computers would add.

Both tablets offer a good selection of ports, including a USB connector, a flash card reader and audio connections. Both also offer HDMI; the Fujitsu has a full-size connector, while the Motion has a mini-HDMI port.

Both tablets offers 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The Motion has a SIM card slot on the side next to the SD card slot for setting up a mobile data network, along with a $100 option for adding Qualcomm's Gobi mobile data system, which can connect to AT&T's, Sprint's, T-Mobile's or Verizon's data networks. In contrast, the Fujitsu's SIM card slot is under the battery, making it less accessible. (On the other hand, Fujitsu does offer the luxury of being able to swap batteries, which the Motion does not.) Fujitsu's mobile data plan won't be available until August and will cost $125.

For security-conscious companies, Fujitsu includes a smart-card reader, a fingerprint scanner and a TPM. None of these security features is available on the Motion.

Both of the tablets have optional docking stations. The $69 Fujitsu Cradle has four USB ports and can be set up with the screen nearly vertical for viewing, or folded flat. I had a bit of trouble with it; when I tried to remove the Fujitsu tablet from the dock, the dock sometimes came with it. In other words, it needs to be better weighted.

Motion's $159 dock, on the other hand, offers three USB ports, along with an Ethernet port and a stylus holder. I had no problems using it.

Test results

In performance tests, the Motion Computing CL900 took a small lead, rating a 196.9 on PassMark's PerformanceTest 7.0 suite of benchmark tests, compared with the Fujitsu Q550's score of 173.5. The Motion scored a 0.22 on the CineBench 11.5 CPU test, slightly ahead of the Fujitsu's 0.21 -- not a significant difference. Both ran for more than three days without a rest or a problem with PassMark's BurnInTest.

The Fujitsu's 5,240 milliampere-hour (mAh) battery pack may be larger than the Motion's 2,900 mAh pack, but it couldn't run as long. The Motion led with a run time of 4 hours and 59 minutes, versus 4 hours and 22 minutes for the Fujitsu. Both ran slightly longer than the 4 hours and 3 minutes that an iPad 2 played videos under similar conditions.

Bottom line

It's clear that either of these two tablets will fit into the corporate IT landscape without a problem. They both run the full library of Windows apps, have bright, usable screens with good touch abilities, and include a variety of connection options.

However, while the Motion tablet is rugged enough to stand up to daily punishment, it lacks the Fujitsu's extensive security add-ons. It's also heavier; carrying it around all day can be a workout. While I like the inclusion of a battery gauge, you'll need to use it because the battery can't be swapped.

Fujitsu's tablet is lighter, and it comes with a swappable battery, a fingerprint reader, TPM and smart-card reader. This makes the Fujitsu Q550 as close to the perfect corporate tablet as I've seen so far.

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