Fujitsu M532 Android tablet review

Reviews 16 Jul, 2012

A quad-core Tegra 3 powered Ice Cream Sandwich tablet with 3G connectivity and virtualisation apps pre-loaded.

3
Verdict: 
A jack-of-all-traits, the M532 is able to provide a solid tablet experience and also mimic basic functionality of a netbook. However, it comes at a time when the price of Android devices have been dramatically slashed. Unless 3G is an absolute requirement, we would suggest looking at the Nexus 7 tablet, which may be three inches smaller but is able to perform all the same tasks and starts at £159.

With a 10.1in display, this Android Ice Cream device will inevitably be compared to the iPad, due to the similarities in form factor. In terms of usability, Fujitsu's device is able to perform the same range of tasks as the market-leading Apple device at a considerably lower price.

Fujitsu wants to attract business users by preloading apps such as Citrix Receiver and VMware View virtualisation clients. The M532 is also one of the last Android tablets to support the mobile version of Adobe Flash.

Performance

Fujitsu has kept things simple by offering users one specification. The firm hasn’t skimped on components, pairing a 1.4GHz quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with 1GB of RAM. The firm also includes 32GB of Flash storage as well as microSD slot and SIM-card slots.

Performance is quick in terms of boot up time and opening or switching between apps. But we did find some kinks in the software. On several occasions, the touch screen failed to respond after waking up. This was remedied by locking and unlocking the screen.

Another problem we experienced was a drop in 3G connection. The device would stop recognising our SIM-card, usually after being woken up. A quick restart would remedy this, but it wasn't ideal. Fujitsu is set to roll out an update to sort issues like this later in the month.

When you do get the internet running, it works well. The device is pre-loaded with the standard WebKit Android web browser, and you can download Google Chrome from the Play Store and sync with any any browsing sessions from other devices.

Page loading times vary depending on 3G or Wi-Fi and signal strength. Using our Vodafone test SIM, we generally found the device to take 7-10 seconds to load the desktop version of the IT Pro homepage on the move, which isn’t the fastest.

With improved reception it is possible to reduce loading times to 5 seconds and carry out data heavy tasks. We were able to stream live Wimbledon tennis from the BBC website without any buffering, for example. Although using this service over 3G did use 140MB in 40 minutes, so it would have polished off a 500MB monthly allowance in the space of one tennis match.

As the M532 is shipped with ICS, it is one of the last tablets to support the mobile version of Adobe Flash, providing you download it before 15 August. This allows access to all the videos on the internet, and is worth downloading because not all sites are using HTML5 at the moment.

We didn’t find any problems with multimedia playback. It can take a couple of seconds to load up a video in the PowerDVD Mobile app, but everything runs smoothly and scrolling to any point in the video is instantaneous.

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