The latest twist on the convertible tablet PC.

Since the tablet PC's introduction, I've been amazed at the functionality and convenience wrapped up in such a small piece of technology. I didn't think anything cooler could come along.

Then Fujitsu sent me the Stylistic ST5000 tablet PC.

This bad boy offers the best of both the tablet and desktop worlds.

The tablet PC, priced at $2,249, is less than 1-inch thin, weighs 3.4 pounds and has a 12.1-inch XGA LCD indoor display.

The Stylistic isn't a notebook that converts to a tablet, so it has no keyboard. Instead, it has an on-screen keyboard and writing pad used with the stylus. The writing pad immediately translates handwriting into text in an open Word document. Though not all words I wrote were translated correctly, my typically illegible handwriting is partially to blame.

Windows Journal also translates handwriting to text, but only did so when I told it to. Otherwise it saved it like I wrote it -- in my illegible handwriting.

So how does the Stylistic convert to a desktop PC?

If you purchase the optional Tablet Dock for $449, you can lock the tablet in and you've got yourself a desktop PC. The docking station holds the tablet PC, which can then be easily clicked to a horizontal or vertical position, giving a choice of landscape or portrait viewing.

Add a wireless keyboard for $99 and a wireless mouse for $39, and you've got the beauty of a desktop with the mobility of a tablet PC.

Both the docking station and tablet include USB ports; an external monitor connector; LAN, modem and headphone jacks; and a PC card slot. The CD/DVD drive is at the base of the docking station.

Because the tablet only weighs 3.4 pounds, it doesn't get too heavy when used in long meetings, an advantage over regular tablet PCs that tend to weigh a little more. It does, however, warm up quickly, causing a rather noisy fan to turn on frequently. I'll admit I didn't initially notice when it started up, but I did observe how quiet my cubicle was when the blades stopped turning.

The standard battery lasts for about three hours, handy in longer meetings or when I'm checking my e-mail in front of the TV, which is made possible by the a+b/g wireless LAN. And I've always dreamt of being online and on the couch sans cords or wires.

I also spent a decent amount of time with Fujitsu's LifeBook T3010 tablet PC, which I liked quite a bit until the Stylistic cruised into my life. The biggest drawback to the LifeBook was that the external CD/DVD drive had to be both connected to the notebook and separately plugged into a power source, which was a bit of a pain.

Though both the Stylistic and LifeBook function well as tablets, the ability to convert the Stylistic to a desktop -- even though the screen is smaller than many may prefer -- is both convenient and ergonomically friendly. Working on a notebook computer at my desk hurts my back, which is why I prefer a desktop unit. But I can't haul my desktop computer to a meeting.

The ability to take the Stylistic's tablet -- that holds all information I use daily -- to a meeting, take notes on it, and come back to my desk and lock it into the docking station is the best twist on a convertible tablet PC I've seen.

Stylistic ST5010D Specs

oLess than 1" thin

o3.4 pounds

oUltra Low Voltage Intel Pentium M processor 1.0 GHz

oMicrosoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

o12.1" XGA LCD with indoor display

o256 MB DDR333 SDRAM memory

o60 GB hard drive

oBuilt-in multinational 56K V.90 modem and 10/100/1000 Based-T/TX Ethernet

oBuilt-in 802.11a+b/g wireless LAN

oStandard main (4400 mAh) battery

oMicrosoft Office OneNote 2003

oOne-year international limited warranty

Stylistic Rating:

5 out of 5

Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor