For those wanting a Windows 8 tablet/laptop hybrid device, it's going to feel like Christmas has come early in the next few weeks as a slew of devices from firms including HP, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Fujitsu hit the market.
One of these devices from Fujitsu is the Stylistic Q702. First announced in July, the device is set to be available in the first couple of weeks after Windows 8 is unveiled, and V3 had a chance to see the unit in action at the IP Expo event on Thursday.
Obviously, any device offering itself up as a tablet in any form must face inevitable comparisons with the iPad, but the inclusion of the docking station with an in-built keyboard also sets the device apart from Apple, with competition on this front coming from its traditional rivals noted above.
The device as a unit weighs 850g, and so felt light but sturdy in the hand when we had a play, certainly no less comfortable than the iPad. The 11.6in screen is notably larger than Apple's tablets and gave the Windows 8 system plenty of opportunity to shine.
This was helped by the high-definition display, with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels, which was crisp and sharp. While those with hawk-like eyes may spot a loss of quality compared with Apple's Retina Display, it was adequate enough to us.
Where the device definitely sets itself apart, though, is in the ability to switch from a standard tablet device to laptop by inserting it into a keyboard dock.
Adding it to the keyboard was nice and easy, easily 'clicking' into the two hinges that are used to hold it in place - one of which is snapped below showing the docking system.
Fujitsu told us it's already in discussions with corporate customers who see benefits from using a hybrid device on Windows 8 and it's certainly understandable that for many firms a hybrid represents a clear benefit instead of either a laptop or tablet.
The ability to carry around the tablet for on-site work, snap pictures and jot down notes using the input pen is clearly a lot easier than using a normal laptop device, but with the ability to then add a keyboard, you retain the benefits of a normal input method.
The keyboard itself was easy to use, with a nice tactile key input and well-spaced keys.
Using the Windows 8 platform on the device felt fine. While people who've never used the platform may find it confusing at first it's pretty intuitive once you get used to it, and should only take the average user a few minutes to figure the basics out.
For those all at sea, though, the device still offers the classic Windows layout, although jumping into that only serves to make the new Windows 8 look even better when compared to its drab corporate ancestors.
Inside, the specifications are fairly meaty, as you'd expect as this is the firm's high-end device in the Windows 8 portfolio it's bringing to market.
This means it can be powered by either an Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, and packs 256GB of SSD storage and 4GB of RAM.
It also boasts nine hours of battery life although obviously we can't verify yet if these claims hold true in real-life tests.
Another area where the device sets itself apart from the iPad is the inclusion of several input ports within the keyboard frame of the device, including an HDMI slot, a memory card slot, a LAN port and a VGA port (below).
The LAN port means that it can be connected to corporate networks directly, rather than relying solely on a 3G connection or Wi-Fi, like the iPad and other more consumer-focused tablets on the market.
The Stylistic Q702 can access mobile data networks, though, as it features a dedicated SIM slot in the tablet. This will include compatibility with 4G networks set to be available in the UK as it can access 800MHz, 1800MHZ and 2.6GHz frequencies.
The tablet also features a number of its own input buttons, including volume controls and screen brightness along the edge, so the user can easily alter these elements as they wish when on-the-move, as you can see below running along the edge of the device.
Clearly Fujitsu won't have it all its own way in the Windows 8 tablet market when the platform is made available with so many rivals lining up to offer similar propositions. But based on what we saw, the firm certainly has a compelling offering to compete with.
We'll have a full review of the Stylistic Q702 once it's launched next month, so check back then for more insights.
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