What I Don’t Like About the Fujitsu Stylistic Q704 Tablet Convertible

OK, it’s been a couple of months since my brand-new Fujitsu Q704 tablet with oodles of add-ons and appurtenances showed up at my door. I’m learning to live with the $165 monthly payment that my “let’s experiment with a business lease” ends up costing me. But I’m not as enamored of the machine as I’d hoped to be, and it hasn’t yet graduated to the status of “production traveling machine.” In fact, I’ve been using my older Lenovo i7 X220 Tablet and T420 notebooks more or less interchangeably on the road for the last two years, and am still happy to work with them.

FujQ704-stuff

As this image from the Fujitsu site shows, the Q704 is available with a battery-powered keyboard dock (center) and a plain dock with video and three USB 3.0 ports.

But now that I’ve been working with and using the Q704 unit for a while, here are my gripes:

1. The battery-powered keyboard dock is heavy, and turns the unit into a 4.75 lb notebook (it’s not even really an ultrabook, at that weight). Battery life is under 8 hours, too. By contrast my older Dell XPS-12 weighs 3.375 lbs, and gets 5 hours from a single battery.
2. When detaching the tablet from the keyboard dock, I’ve learned that it’s best to shut down. Mode switching from tablet to notebook by docking the unit, and from notebook to tablet by undocking same, is not as easy or trouble-free as I would like it to be.
3. As you might expect, an i7 (even a Haswell U4600) gets pretty warm, if not hot, when busy in the tablet, which can make it a little uncomfortable to hold in the hand or on the lap.
4. The touchpad on the keyboard dock, while sizable, is nowhere as nice to use as the one on the XPS-12, and the bottom buttons only click when pushed toward the center of the touchpad, not on the outside edges (as my fingers seem to want to do, to avoid pushing the right button when seeking the left, and vice-versa). For the kind of money Fujitsu charges for its gear, I’d expect them to use absolute top-of-the-line components, including the touchpad.
5. Given the presence of a U4600, the performance is less than you’d expect, and lower than even some higher-end i5 machines. See the Geekbench results at Tablet PC Review for more details. Read the whole thread to get the overall “nerd-view” of the Q704: it’s not pretty. Apparently, waterproofing perforce means less efficient ventilation and lower performance because of thermal inefficiencies. Sigh.

All in all, I’m hopeful that a combination of BIOS fixes and “best use practices” will help me extract a more acceptable experience from my Q704. Should be interesting to see how it all turns out.

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Comments

What I Don’t Like About the Fujitsu Stylistic Q704 Tablet Convertible — 37 Comments

  1. This tablet is the best choice, in theory, as you said, of the current (limited) options, but I’m worried about all the small details that I’ve encountered on Internet, specially performance and noise.
    So, do you recommend me it in some way? Or do you think is better to look alternatives?

    • Dear Juan:
      It does indeed remain the best choice of what’s available right now, but the performance/down-throttling issues are serious enough that you can get similar oomph from one of the new Bay Trail Atom dual-core devices (e.g. Dell Venue 8 Pro or Lenovo Thinkpad 8, for example). In addition, the Dell Venue 11 Pro (i5 option, $849)sometimes outperforms the Q704 and it costs around one-half as much as the base Q704 unit. Fully trick out a Q704, and that ratio drops to one-fourth! It’s a nice tablet with some very interesting features, but it seems under-engineered for cooling and performance given the i7 U4600 CPU and 8 GB RAM. If I had to do over again, I’d probably buy something else.
      –Ed–

  2. I have a Q704 with i7. Regarding the performance issue, I find out that Intel SpeedStep is enabled by default in BIOS. I do not know what happens when you run the Geek benchmark. But, when I run matlab, which is heavy computing, the CPU frequency was shown to be below 1 GHz. After I disable SpeedStep, and run matlab again, I see 2.7 GHz and matlab runs much faster.

    Intel’s SpeedStep is meant to keep CPU frequency low when heavy computing is not needed, but it seems to be too tight in control.

    • Dear M. Kurz:
      Thanks for the helpful observation/suggestion. I’ll try disabling SpeedStep and see if it makes a difference for me, too. Thanks for pointing this out. It will probably also be a good idea for both of us to keep a close eye on CPU temps as well, particularly since so many other users and observers have suggested that thermal management is the root cause for all of these various performance-related issues.
      Thanks again,
      –Ed–

  3. Thank you, Ed, for your response. I truly appreciate your opinion.

    In fact, I started thinking on an alternative, but, after M Kurz message (thank you!), I’ll wait for your tests without SpeedStep.

    • Dear Juan:
      I’ve changed the BIOS to turn off SpeedStep, and I already notice an improvement in general performance for ordinary tasks. I probably won’t have time to run any performance tests (GeekBench, etc.) until this weekend, because my work schedule is full up for today and tomorrow. Hope that’s OK, and look for another post here later on.

      Best wishes,
      –Ed–

  4. Dear Ed,
    thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Q704.
    I personally compared the Q704 against an MS Surface Pro 2 and found quite the same results. A well configured i5 Tablet like the Surface Pro 2 is faster than the i7-Tablet Q704. And even more, although all of the hardware specs of the Q704 is same or better than the Surface Pro 2, it’s slower. According to geekbench, Surface Pro 2 has 50% more power!?
    What the heck has Fujitsu done to make the Q704 so slow?

    It seems Juan is on the right track and Fujitsu made something wrong with SpeedStep. When I turn it off, the Q704 is definetly faster, both on AC and battery. For instance real life Applications like Corel Painter x64 will start on battery and SpeedStep ON in 20 seconds and SpeedStep OFF in 8 seconds. That’s pretty much of a difference.
    In Corel Painter X3 and SpeedStep ON painting with impasto on coarse paper is a pain. It’s slow and the tablet has problems to come up with my brush strokes. With SpeedStep OFF, it paints quick and easy 🙂

    That’s all cons to the Q704, but there are enough pros on the other hand, to stay with the Q704 compared to Surface Pro 2:
    – by far bigger panel
    – therefore no poor upscaling to 150%
    – fingerprint sensor
    – better Wacom digitizer (esp. on the edges)
    – and last but not least the 4G capability (none for the S2P!)

    I’m now experimenting with another BIOS setting, hardware power management (under misc. configurations). By default it’s turned on and settings for AC and battery are ‘middle’. So I set it to ‘Long Battery Life’ for battery, and I think it’s not getting as hot as before and the fan is running not as often as before. Give it a try.

    One futher hint: The Digitizer pen of the Surface Pro 2 is much better than the one of the Q704. It is more comfortable to work with – and – has a eraser tip on the end, that you can configure through system config. And it’s much cheaper (half price).

    regards,
    Roger

    • Thanks for the numerous suggestions. I’ll try them out then report back here.
      Appreciate your input and feedback!
      –Ed–

      [Update added 5/21: I’ve now tried all of the recommendations. Turning off SpeedStep definitely helps, as does careful management of the Power Policy settings in effect. This does help the tablet run more quickly and more smoothly, but it’s still not the level of performance I’d hoped to obtain from a dual core i7 with four runtime threads. Overall I do like the unit, but there are enough things that bother me about it to make me wish I’d spent the considerable sum of money it cost me on something else. An eternal optimist, I’m hopeful that perhaps the new Surface 3 can deliver the goods that the Q704 comes close to bringing to the party, but doesn’t quite manage to get all the way there.]

    • Yes, Nick, you are absolutely correct. My i7 Q704 doesn’t even match the i5 Surface 3 benchmark numbers. Others have speculated Fujitsu botched the thermal behavior of the unit, and my experience with it bears that analysis out completely!
      –Ed–

      • Hi Ed, thanks for the infos on the Q704. Thanks to all who have posted too.

        I am seriously considering to purchase this tablet for it’s wwan mobile 3g connections.

        However I would appreciate it very much if you could help to confirm if it is able to set the network connection to 3g only on the network settings. Or is auto connection the only setting available.

        Thanks for your feedback.

          • Hi ED, Thanks alot for the reply.

            So are there any options in the network settings, i mean like the network settings in the handphone where you can choose to connect to gsm network only or 3g network only or auto connection.

            The reason I ask this is because my recent Nokia Lumia 630 has no option to set on 3g only, and if it is the same with the Q704 and if it connects to gsm (2G network) then it would be terribly slow to browse the internet.

            The area where I am has gsm and 3g coverage, but under auto connections it would connect to gsm if the signal is stronger and hence slow down the internet speed.

            Sorry for the long post, just need to be sure I can set to 3g only for proper internet browsing. Hope you can help on this, Thanks.

  5. I have been using a laptop the lenovo w520 i7 quad, 16 GB and 512 SSD.

    I am looking for a tablet that will be able to handle the load of virtual machines mobile platform. Any suggestions ?

    Thank Henry

    • Dear Henry:
      If you look around on the Web for recent reviews of the Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3, those with 8 GB RAM do reasonably well in running VMs. However, 16 GB is a much more comfortable memory allocation for such machines. I suspect we won’t see tablets handling 16 GB unless and until a single SO-DIMM can accommodate 16 GB. Right now, I see only one company offering such modules — http://www.intelligentmemory.com/dram-modules/ddr3-so-dimm/ — and they are quite expensive. Until they become more commonplace, you may have to continue using your W520 (I have a T520, BTW, also with 16GB and it’s a real workhorse) in the meantime.
      –Ed–

  6. Hello Ed,

    i am a german and i have my macbook air exchanged for the Q704 i7. Unfortunately, I regret it very much.
    All the problems and a lot more, I experience with the Stylistic.
    The system freezes every now and again, most recently funnily enough where I am on the Fujitsu support website.
    My Bluetooth mouse (logitech) logs off repeatedly or not found during system start. the touch-panel on the keyboard can not use for a few days. The performance of I7 processor are worse than my macbook I5. and so I could write a lot.
    I can only advise anyone who reads this, you search another detachable notebook.
    The idea is great, the implementation is very very bad
    and the outrageous for this price.
    Best greetings
    Charlyp

    • Nothing cheeky about it whatsoever, but I can’t find any mention anywhere on line on that topic (as I’m sure has also been your experience). I’d be happy to sell you mine (it’s on the market right now for US$1,500, less than 50% of what I paid for it) if you’d care to try it for yourself! 😉
      –Ed–

      • How about now? Couldn’t afford more than $1k.

        Anyway, what about the i5 of Q704? And Q584?

        What I like about them is that its water resistance even at 4m!!! I’ve seen some extreme diving test at 7 Deg Celsius.

        In my country home philippines, it rains a lot. So I wouldn’t mind getting wet as long as I have fujitsu F02D symbian phone and water resistance tablet.

        Just curious to how slow is it compare to Surface Pro3?

  7. Hi could you help give me a step by step of how to disable SpeedStep?

    Also could you tell me if doing this will help with the heat and loud fan or make it worse?

    Thanks

  8. Dear Ed,

    Are you serious of selling of your Q704 i7? I am interested! I already bought the Q704 keyboard docking station with battery (with my native German keyboard layout) and was about to get the Q704 from the US; because Fujitsu has the same price number for the device in Europe than in the US but charge Euro instead of US Dollar.

    By the way I open up my keyboard docking station and found out why it is so heavy (1197g = 42.22oz), yes it has an additional 46Wh battery inside (237g = 8.36oz) but it also has also additional metal weights inside contributing additional 197g (6.95oz) to the weight of the keyboard station. I assume the weights are to counterbalance the tablet better but at remaining 1000g (35.27oz) without the weights it would not be necessary! Or if Fujitsu really want the additional weight adding battery capacity would have done it as well instead of dead weight, especially at 322 Euros for the keyboard docking station alone.

    But beside this, seriously I am interested as I need the waterproof design and GPS function of the Q704 for the use on an electric motorbike project; do you accept PayPal to sell it?
    Greetings Joerg

    • Dear Joerg:
      Ich bin Amerikaner, aber wuchs in Deutschland auf. I’d very much like to sell the unit, but I want to sell both tablet and keyboard dock for US $1500. I will take PayPal, but we’ll need to go through some assurances before I pack the unit up and send it off. I would also have to leave customs (and duties) to you, if that’s acceptable.
      –Ed–

      • Dear Ed,

        I am fin with both together tablet and keyboard dock for US1500 if you take care on shipping; I take care on customs and duties.
        Having an extra keyboard dock I think is not bad as it gives me the option to leave one in the office/University and one at home so I don’t have to carry this 1.2kg heavy keyboard dock always around. And with the 1 kg q704 tablet alone I am light enough to travel again! I guess you have the US keyboard lay out. That makes it even easier for my English speaking students if they borrow it out to work on the electric motorcycle project.
        Aber vielleicht können wir die Details direkt besprechen bitte melden dich bei mir: mpewjd[at]nus.edu.sg

        Danke!

        Joerg

        • The unit was received in good condition in Singapore earlier today, according to an e-mail from Joerg. I’m glad to see this unit go to a good home. I’m going to use the proceeds of the sale to buy a Surface Pro 3 with Type cover and dock/stand.
          –Ed–

          • Sold already? Didn’t see this comment. Anyway I hope there’s even cheaper that you can find for me. Let me know if you know one.

            Would i5 be better?

          • Dear Jack:
            I’ll respond to all three of your comments in this reply, so please follow along with me if you can.
            1. The Q704 went to a German buyer teaching in a Singapore University. I’ve since purchased an i7 256 GB Surface Pro 3 for less than half the cost of the Q704.
            2. Because of the temperature and throttling issues in the i7 Q704, it’s not only cheaper but also smarter to buy the i5 model instead. If you look around for used, you may be able to hit your $1000 max price target. I don’t know anything about the Q584, so you should probably check out reviews and chatter at forums.notebookreview.com.
            3. If you really need water resistance or waterproofing, you may be better served by a ruggedized model like the Toughbook or something similar.
            4. The i7 Q704 is about half the speed of the i7 Surface Pro 3, and less amenable to being used as a “pure tablet.” Now that I’ve got the SP3, I’m sorry I ever bought into the Q704 in the first place.
            5. Turning off SpeedStep is usually a way to support overclocking, or a way to prevent unnecessary throttling of the system (the latter use is why it made sense for some Q704 users to do this, but typically only when docked or otherwise running off A/C rather than battery power). For a tablet (and notebooks/portables in general) SpeedStep helps extend battery life (since most laptops, notebooks, and tablets don’t get overclocked, I hope that makes sense).
            6. If you’re looking for a great, reasonably fast, and cheap tablet, the i3 128 GB SP3 is what you want or need.

            HTH,
            –Ed–

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  10. I didn’t know that there’s i3? I’ll be trying hard to get i5 since I’ll be using photoshop and some other mid-heavy ram user. Probably not gonna get i7 anymore. Im done with i7 on mobile probably on desktop one but not on mobile.

  11. Here’s the link that im looking at.

    Do you think this is not scam?

    Thanks a lot. You’re the only person who owned Q704 and responds any question about the product.

  12. This what ive seen in amazon…

    amazon.com/STYLISTIC-Q704-Tablet-PC-i5-4200U/dp/B00I3L8K00/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A2I4D0WO1JEMBA

    and marketpro here
    amazon.com/STYLISTIC-Q704-Tablet-PC-i5-4200U/dp/B00I3L8K00/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A14NA3XYNZWQC5

    • Dear Jack:
      Thanks for your various posts. Those Amazon prices look genuine, and are in line with what I remember seeing from other sources earlier this year. TEKENVY (one of the dealers mentioned) is a reputable player. I’ve never heard of the other company (FastMarketPro), though. You are probably right to get the i5 anyway, given your planned workload. I’ve now got an i7 Surface Pro 3, though, and it runs very well with no throttling issues I’ve been able to detect so far, FWIW.
      Best wishes,
      –Ed–

  13. Hi,

    I have Q704 as tablet from work. I’ve noticed interesting “feature” in this tablet. Every time when cpu/gpu load goes above “normal” (ie. 1080p youtube video fullscreen) the external VGA and HDMI connections start to act weirdly in cradle. VGA port disconnects and reconnects and it changes from extended to clone. HDMI starts to disconnect and reconnect and sometimes it requires disconnecting of cable before it can bring up the picture to the monitor.

    Have you experienced this kind of behaviour?

    Kind regards,
    Ossi Heimo

    • Dear Ossi:
      Thanks for posting. It’s probably a function of overheating because the device tends to start throttling back and acting weird in all kinds of ways wen it gets too hot. I saw a post on Notebookforums/Tabletforums from December, where one Q704 owner sent his unit back to the factory and they replaced the fan and the thermal management circuity. He said it helped tremendously and more or less eliminated such problems. If you want to keep the unit, I’d recommend trying the same thing with Fujitsu support and service. Had I known about this retroactive fix, I might have kept mine. I’ve since moved onto a Surface Pro 3 (which I like much better than the Q704, and to a Dell Venue 11 Pro 7130 whose Broadwell M i5 processor allows the unit to run completely on passive cooling).
      HTH, and thanks again for posting.
      –Ed–

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