Old But Good Tech Thursday
by Jason Kruse
What can I say about the Fujitsu t901? It’s portable, durable and powerful enough for most of my needs. It’s got a zippy core i5 processor, 256gb SSD hard drive, 13.3″ screen that makes drawing a pleasure. And for someone who prefers to draw on the couch instead of at a desk, it’s pretty much perfect. Plus, it’s far cheaper than a Cintiq.
This is now my 2nd Fujitsu and let me tell you, it’s a great purchase. I bought this model refurbished 2.5 years ago off of a private seller on ebay after owning the Fujitsu t4220 (also bought on ebay) for over 3 years. I was so pleased with the quality on the t4220 that I decided to stay with Fujitsu. Refurbished, this thing was a steal. I got it for $579 (it didn’t hurt that my company at the time gave us money towards new tablets either). Since then, I’ve upgraded to an SSD hard drive and 8gbs of RAM. Because this is a convertible tablet, I’m constantly moving it around and the original hard drive got the dreaded BSOD. Not having any moving parts in the new hard drive gives me a little more piece of mind. Still, I highly recommend backing everything up with some kind of online service like Crashplan.
I run quite a few programs on this little beauty and unless you’re working with a huge file, it really won’t have a problem. I mostly use Photoshop and Flash these days and I’ve run into very few issues (knock on wood). I’ve even used After Effects which is a notorious memory hog. To be fair, I’ve only done some editing in that program but the Fujitsu didn’t have any problems. Illustrator, Manga Studio and Mischief also run smoothly on it. As for 3d, I haven’t tried it on here and frankly, something with a video card and 16gb will probably suit your needs a lot better. There are some tablets out there that do it but they’re few and far between. The Cintiq Companion, the t902 and a Lenovo x230 are the ones that spring to mind.
There are really only a couple of cons I can give the t901. One is its weight. It certainly isn’t as portable as I would like. It weighs around 5lbs which doesn’t seem like much on paper but when you carry this around thru say, the airport, it gets annoying pretty quickly. On top of that, the battery doesn’t last long. I really can’t give you an estimate for how long a new battery might last since again, this machine is a refurb. It’s always plugged in and these days the battery seems to last at most, a half an hour. Maybe if I buy a new battery but I’m fine with the way it is.
As for drawing on this computer, I give it a big thumbs up. The screen has some “tooth” to it and while it’s not at level of drawing on paper, it certainly doesn’t have that “drawing on water” feel that I experienced while playing with the Surface Pro 3 at the Microsoft Store. In fact, I’ve greatly cut down on my paper consumption in the last couple of years because of this computer. The pen is a good size for me and there’s a handy dock on the lower-front of the machine. It’s also got usb ports, hdmi, SD slot–pretty much all the good stuff. And again, the 13.3″ screen is big enough so you won’t be hurting too much for drawing space.
All in all, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck with any Fujitsu. Lately, I’ve been toying with upgrading to the t904 but honestly, I think this one still has a lot of life left in it. You really can’t go wrong with a Fujitsu.
Is it still worth purchasing the t901 in 2015? Or is there something better for under £300?
Definitely! This thing is still a powerhouse and handles pretty much everything I throw at it (with the exception of 3d) They’re super-cheap on ebay now, too.
Hi Jason .. hm your review &comments about the fuji t901 lave me thinking … coz I was a few seconds of buying a good used one on ebay .. in search of a portable art painting tablet.. I was saving for a cintiq companion 2 ..but shish! its expensive! .. I never had the chance to try one .. but had and old fujitsu t 4410 (died last year :P) and some experience on the big Cintiq ux dtz 21 .
so my question is if you can throw me some light .. do you had the chance to compare it to a cintiq ? I asuming you are using wacom bamboo feel stylus .. how you feel the preassure curve ? .. I really like the screen size of teh old fujitsu t901 16:10 but … still Im like stuck .. buy a t901 ? save bit more and go for t 902? or save even more ( possibly sell a kidney too ) and get a Companion ?
Y’know, I haven’t had too much experience with the Cintiq Companion. An old coworker had the CC Hybrid which I tried briefly and it was nice but even without a keyboard the thing was heavy and not as adjustable as I’d like via the kickstand. If you like all the buttons that are on the Cintiqs and their pens then that’s a plus for you. Also, they have “tilt” which myself and most people I know in the arts don’t use much so I don’t miss it.
Personally, I like drawing on my Fujitsu better than my 22HD at work mostly because it’s portable (hence, I can draw on my couch) and my Cintiq feels a lot more like “drawing on glass” (which I don’t care for).
As far as pressure curves, I can get very fine or very thick lines. There’s a great video which shows that after 256 levels of pressure sensitivity it becomes the law of diminishing returns (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMUUDYiKEKA). It’s pretty much a buzzword like megapixels are to cameras. I would say it’s maybe a touch less sensitive than my Intuos which I rarely use anymore. A lot of the artists I know on TabletPCReview.com love the t902 but they’re a bit scarce and still pretty pricey. Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with a Fujitsu.
Hope that helps!