Why do I want a Flybook V5?

I’m a self-employed computer nerd IT consultant. One of my clients has me providing support to 400 users of a web-based application. So… while being self-employed allows me a lot of flexibility, you can see the tether right? To provide the best support, I need access to the web! To date, that has somewhat limited my “away-from-homebase” adventuring. Yes, I currently have a laptop, but it’s ancient and weighs a ton (ok, it’s six years old and weighs 6.5 pounds). I have a wireless G network card for it, and I do take it along to conferences or when I go to stay with friends who have internet connections. I could purchase a cellular-wireless data card for it, but it really needs to be replaced.

Criteria for Replacement Laptop

The following were the main factors (not necessarily in this order) in choosing a new laptop.

1) Size and Weight (or rather, the absence thereof)

There is an added quirk to my situation: I don’t drive. It’s an eyesight thing – or, more specifically, a “lack of depth perception” thing. Trust me, if you are a driver (or a pedestrian, or a dog, or a building) in the Midwest, you are happy that I don’t drive. What I do do (that doesn’t sound right – don’t read it out-loud) is cycle! I’m on my bike whenever I get the chance. Can you see lugging a15″ 6.5 lb laptop around on a bicycle??? I think not.

Flybook V5: Dimensions: 235 x 163 x 30 (mm) and weight around 1200g (when fully equipped)
To those of us still using archaic forms of measurement, that equates to: 9.25″ x 6.42″ x 1.18″ and weight around 2.6lb (when fully equipped – whatever that means)

2) Tablet PC

  • Meeting with clients, I take a lot of notes. A tablet PC, that lies flat on the desktop, is a whole lot less intrusive than sitting obscured behind a regular laptop.
  • I am not a patient person (ask anyone… really, anyone at all – they’ll all agree), but luckily I’m an avid reader. So, instead of prowling a client’s lobby, I can quietly sit off to the side, happily engrossed in the latest news, on-line computer magazine, sci/fi fantasy e-book, etc. without looking like a total geek.

Flybook V5: The V5 has a “LCD Overlaid Touch Panel” – this is a passive display (you can use a fingernail instead of tapping with the stylus).

3) Keyboard

  • My typing is a heck of a lot faster than my penmanship

Flybook V5:The unit is a “convertible” – you can use it in normal “laptop” mode or swivle the screen around and use it as a tablet; best of both worlds.

4) Connectivity

Yep, I need access to the web – from whereever in the world I happen to be. While I haved been known to log on from internet cafe’s in London, street kiosks in Cabo and Rome, libraries and Kinkos centers across the United States, it would really be much nicer if I didn’t have to locate one of those places at a moment’s notice.

Flybook V5: Wireless WAN, LAN, PAN (PAN? I hadn’t heard that one before, but sure…)

  • Wiress WAN: HSDPA/UMTS/EDGE/GPRS/GSM (data, voice and SMS) Support triband UMTS (HSDPA): 850/1900 and 2100 MHz Support quadband EDGE/GPRS/GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Wireless LAN:  IEEE 802.11 a / b / g (Intel 3945) with antenna built-in
  • Wireless PAN: Bluetooth 2.0 with antenna built-in

Lots of acronyms there. Basically, I’ll purchase a cellular wireless data plan from AT&T (they haveHSDPA service in my home town). This will let me install a SIM into the unit itself (so the Express-Card slot will remain free). I will also have the option of using any open wireless hot-spots I can find.

5) …via Internet Explorer

The software I support requires the use of Internet Explorer, so some type of “net-appliance” isn’t going to do the trick. I mentioned I’m a computer nerdIT professional, right? I also need Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access – luckily, I happen to have an extra (legal) copy laying around.

Flybook V5: 1.2Ghz Intel processor with 2Gb RAM and 80Gb hard disk running Vista Business

6) Fingerprint Identification

This might sound like a small thing, but… I suspect this will be one of the biggest headache-reducers.

Flybook V5: Fingerprint reader

Only… who decided to put it on the keyboard side??? It isn’t accessible while unit is in tablet mode – good grief!


So there you have it… the main things I was looking for. Other items, like a built-in camera, were secondary (but also achieved with the V5). You may have noticed that price wasn’t listed. This is not to say that money was no object – just that I had set a fairly substantial budget for this unit and none of the contenders exceeded it. Being self-employed, a HUGE amount of my income goes to taxes – I would much rather have that money go back into my business.


Well sure. Purchasing a product sight-unseen carries some risks, of course. I have this big fear that I’ll need reading glasses to see the itsy-bitsy numbers on the software I support. Another fear is that the data-connection with AT&T will be obnoxiously slow compared to the RoadRunner speeds I’m used to at home. We’ll just have to see! Wish me luck!!


9 Responses

  1. […] If you’re even slightly interested in the Flybook V5, check it out and subscribe.  It’s full of useful links and a great post answering why she wants a Flybook V5. […]

  2. I have been using an old Flybook with Crusoe processor for two years now all over Europe and occasionally the States and Tanzania. It is now my only computer, with big keybord/touchpad and monitor, and big back-up disc at home. Super connectivity with GPRS, WiFi. I will replace it with a V5 next week because it is just beat to pieces. Unfortunately they don´t have the yellow color any more, so it will be red.

  3. Hey Tom! Good to hear that after two years you are choosing the Flybook for your next computer. I’ve had people doubt that I’ll be happy with the size in the long run (me, I’m still very pleased with it, but it has only been a couple of months)
    Warning, the V5 comes in black, silver, gold, and… PINK. It isn’t red, it’s PINK. Ok, it’s a dark pink, but pink nevertheless. I have no idea why they chose not to offer the gorgeous colors they have previously presented. I would have loved one of the deep blue ones (or green ones… or yellow ones…) but couldn’t quite bring myself to go with the pink. Ended up with boring silver.

  4. Hi Newt and Everyone…I am in doubt about buying either a Flybook V5 or a Fujitsu P1620 (the new one that just came out)…my main doubt is how good of an experience do you have with the Tablet factor…writing on the tablet which is what I need…I saw in a video in GBM and it showed serious vectoring issues…I was wondering is that is your experience since you use the machine on a daily basis?

  5. I too was scared when I saw that video, but either something has changed on the Flybook since he reviewed it, or my writing style is vastly different from his. In applications where you are writing directly in the app (One Note, for example), if I intentionally drag a single knuckle across the screen I can get a line drawn, but I have to work at it. Resting my hand on the screen to write – even sliding it across the screen *as* I write doesn’t create any issues.

    However, besides One Note, very few apps have you entering directly into the app itself . Most of the time I am using the Tablet PC Input Panel and with that you are always writing into an area “above” where your hand rests.

    In summary… I’m not finding it an issue at all and I’m glad it didn’t keep me from purchasing the Flybook.

    When I was making my decision, the P1620 wasn’t out yet and you could only get a max of 1GB RAM on the P1610. Of course, I also wanted a unit that could take a cellular SIM card.

  6. Thank you so much for your response and your insight…I really like the Flybook V5 especially because of the SIM card and the webcam. The SIM card would be part of the P1620.not right now but eventually since the P1610 ended up having 3G capabilities. However, the webcam seems like an essential feature the P1620 is missing. Is the Flybook V5 really great…is the support good too? I am still in doubt about this 2 tablets.

  7. I’m sorry I can’t be more help on these issues. I don’t use the webcam, myself. I have only needed to contact support a couple of times and each time they replied within 24 hours. However, they were simple questions with simple answers. If someone else has had experience with tech support, please let us know what you think. I’ve never had a P1610/20 in my hands, so I can’t tell you how it feels compared to the Flybook. The Flybook definitely feels sturdy.

    One argument for the Flybook and it’s built-in SIM slot is that it leaves the ExpressCard slot open for other things.

  8. Hello!
    I’m writing from Italy! Thanks to Newt because V5 informations are really few on the web. I just want to buy one, but I’m really afraid about the battery duration. With the V33i it lasts for about 2hours (and often less) with wifi activated and browsing the web.

    Do you had a test of your battery duration during normal use (browsing/writing in office or similar, with one of the wireless connetcion turned on)?
    How many hours it lasts?


  9. Hi…the only thing that keeps me from buying a Flybook is the inking experience and the vectoring I saw in a video review in Gotta Be Mobile…I will be using it a lot as a tablet so I need something reliable to write on for long periods of time without any vectoring.

    Also I have been reading this blog (very helpful by the way) and people seem to have issues installing updates, losing Internet conection when on tablet mode, etc, etc.

    For you guys that have this computer…would you recommend it in terms of the inking experience and the use overall? or would you go for the new Fujitsu P1620 which is very similar in features…except from the webcam which I don’t understand why Fujitsu did not include. The 3G is available or would be soon in that machine as it was on the P1610…I just not understand why on earth they don’t sell that version in the U.S.

    Any opinions will be highly regarded !!!


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