Fujitsu was one of the original pioneers in tablet PCs, but the Stylistic M532 is the company's first Android-based slate for the U.S. The $549 M532 costs a bit more than the competition, but comes loaded with extra security features and a ruggedized exterior. Find out if these additions are worth the added expense.
Click to EnlargeFrom the front, the Stylistic M532 looks much like other 10-inch tablets, with a glossy 0.8-inch-thick black bezel and slightly rounded corners. Centered above the screen is the 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and below it a Fujitsu logo.
On the back, Fujitsu gave the M532 a soft-touch plastic finish that's pleasant to hold and looks just as premium as the cold aluminum chassis of other tablets. The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera can be found at the top, and Fujitsu's stylized infinity logo in the center.
A thin strip of gunmetal gray plastic runs along the edge of the tablet. A headphone jack and power button can be found on the top, and the volume rocker, a microUSB port (annoyingly concealed by a cover) and a microSD card slot are on the right.
A 30-pin proprietary docking port is on the bottom of the tablet. Accessories compatible with the docking port include a cradle that allows the tablet to sit upright (complete with two USB ports) and an adapter that gives the device access to full-size HDMI and USB interfaces.
Click to EnlargeUnlike most Android tablets, the M532 is MIL-STD-810G certified - meaning it can remain operational even when subjected to high altitude, humidity, shocks, vibrations, blowing dust and extreme temperatures.
The display, which is made of high-impact glass, and the chassis itself can survive a 1-meter drop onto plywood. If you find yourself in a freezing minus 18-degree Fahrenheit environment, the M532 will remain functional after 6 hours if turned off or 4 hours if left on. Similarly, the tablet will remain operational after seven days (turned off) in a scorching 158-degree inferno.
Click to EnlargeConsidering its somewhat steep price, we expected the Stylistic M532 to feature a razor-sharp display. Unfortunately, the M532 features a mere 1280 x 800-pixel display, compared with the full HD resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels for the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF700.
The disparity in pixel density became immediately apparent when we watched a 1080p trailer for "Skyfall" on YouTube. While scenes like tropical cruises and fights on speeding trains looked suitably lush, subtle details such as the stubble on Daniel Craig's jaw appeared slightly blurred.
The M532's display also picks up fingerprints easily. After spending 30 minutes with the tablet, smudges covered every surface of the screen. The effect was particularly distracting when watching darker scenes in the "Skyfall" trailer. Nevertheless, we appreciated the tablet's wide viewing angles -- we could move more than 45 degrees in either direction before losing image clarity.
The M532's display is also brighter than most. Using our light meter, we measured a brightness of 591 lux; this easily outshines the tablet average of 354 lux, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (441 lux) and the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (433 lux). Only with Super IPS+ mode enabled did the Transformer Pad beat the Stylistic M532, measuring 642 lux. Thanks to its brightness, the M532 proved easy to read in direct sunlight -- although the fingerprint smears on the screen didn't help.
Click to EnlargeDespite the fact that the M532's speakers are located on the back, the tablet delivers highly accurate audio. Even with the volume turned up to the maximum, Led Zeppelin's "Over the Hills and Far Away" sounded as good as if we were listening to it on a stereo. The bass on Daft Punk's "Voyager" sounded equally impressive, for a tablet.
Unfortunately, the tiny speakers don't get particularly loud. Even at maximum volume, the sound struggled to fill a small room. While this may be loud enough for watching a movie in bed, it will hardly suffice if you want to view content with a larger group.
Click to EnlargeThe Stylistic M532 ships with an unmodified version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which should please anyone who isn't a fan of the increasingly ubiquitous skins added by other manufacturers. As usual, you can open the camera directly from the lock screen, and the five home screens are blessedly free of bloatware.
The other Ice Cream Sandwich features we've come to expect, such as resizable widgets, Face Unlock, and Chrome for Android, are all present as well (though sadly not Android Beam). Fujitsu says that the M532 will get an upgrade to Jelly Bean in the future, although an exact date hasn't been specified.
Click to EnlargeLike the interface, the keyboard is stock Android, featuring square grey keys on a black background. While you can download another keyboard such as Swype in a pinch, the keys are large enough that typing on them is quick and easy. We appreciated the gentle haptic feedback we felt as our fingers tapped each key.
Click to EnlargeAs one would expect from a business tablet, Fujitsu added a few extra security features to the standard Android suite (which includes facial recognition, pattern, password and PIN). The first is an option to encrypt the tablet. Activating this feature will encrypt all accounts, settings, downloaded apps, media and other files. Decrypting the M532 requires a numeric PIN or password that must be entered each time the device is powered on, and the device cannot be unencrypted without performing a factory reset.
Additionally, the CTMobile app from Computrace can be used to set up a remote administrator for the M532, who can erase all of the tablet's data without warning, change the screen-lock password, control the length and the characters allowed in passwords, or lock the screen. This feature should prove especially useful for businesses worried about the theft of devices containing sensitive data. Computrace costs $13.95 for the Basic Edition, $24.99 for the Standard Edition and $32.99 for the Premium Edition.
Powered by a 1.4-GHz quad core Nvidia Tegra 3T30S processor and 1GB of RAM, the Stylistic M532 offers middle-of-the-road benchmark scores. On the CPU portion of the Benchmark app, the M532 scored 3,743, almost 100 points higher than the tablet average but more than 200 points below the Galaxy Note 10.1 (1.4-GHz quad core Exynos processor and 2GB of RAM) and far behind the score of 5,220 turned in by the Transformer Pad Infinity (1.6-GHz quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 T33 processor and 1GB of RAM).
The tablet saw similar results on the AN3DBench graphics test. Its score of 7,778 exceeded the category average (7,294) but failed to best either the Galaxy Note 10.1 (7,937) or the Transformer Pad Infinity (7,937).
Nevertheless, real-world performance impressed. We launched up "Eternal Warriors 2" and began hacking away at hordes of zombies and demons without any hiccups or slowdowns. The tablet handled less demanding tasks with similar aplomb. When switching from landscape to portrait mode, the accelerometer oriented the screen smoothly.
The M532 offers 32GB of internal storage, and can accept microSD cards of up to 32GB.
Click to EnlargeBesides the CTMobile security app, the Stylistic M532 doesn't come preloaded with any third-party applications. The standard Android apps, including Google Play, Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and Google Maps, can all be found in the App Menu.
Click to EnlargeAlthough vibrant, photos taken both indoors and outdoors on the M532's 8-megapixel rear-facing camera exhibited a noticeable amount of pixelation; in a picture taken of the New York City skyline, edges of buildings appeared slightly jagged against the blue afternoon sky. Video shot in 1080p, however, appeared much crisper, and we could more easily make out fine details in the street below.
Unsurprisingly, pictures captured by the tablet's 2-megapixel front-facing camera were grainier and lacked the warmth of those taken with the rear-facing camera. Still, it sufficed for video chat. A friend reported that she could see us clearly and that our movements appeared smooth.
The Stylistic M532's 3170 mAh lithium polymer battery lasted a mere 5 hours and 14 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing via Wi-Fi). This falls short of the tablet average (6:57), and far behind the Transformer Pad Infinity (7:39) and Galaxy Note 10.1 (9:37).
The Stylistic M532 ships in only one configuration, although its storage can be supplemented by a 32GB microSD card. The tablet comes with either a 1- or 3-year international limited warranty.
Click to EnlargeThe Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is a niche Android tablet that will appeal to businesses looking for extra durability and security features. The display is also plenty bright, and we like the soft-touch finish on the back. However, this slate falls short of competing consumer-oriented tablets in terms of screen resolution, volume and, most important, battery life. While the M532 delivered decent performance and accurate audio, we prefer the ASUS Transformer Infinity Pad, which boasts a whopping 1920 x 1200 resolution, better performance and longer endurance for $50 less. But Fujitsu deserves credit for addressing a market not served by the majority of Android tablet makers.