Shine on, you crazy Fujitsu UH900

Fujitsu_uh900 Getting caught up on a few days worth of tech news is always a fun chore, especially when some actual, real-life work must be done to make up for the upcoming short work week. I had actually spotted this a few days ago, but almost forgot about it until I just realized there was something else needing to be posted. Hearing a certain Pink Floyd song gave me the inspiration to do just that.

The Fujitsu UH900 caught us all by surprise earlier this month, with current U-series owners like me hoping this wasn't the evolutionary path Fujitsu had chosen for our beloved UMPC. Others liked the slim clamshell design, especially those who were fans of the Sony P-series or Everun Note. Both camps were pretty much in total agreement on one thing, and that was the weak battery life for a device whose primary use will be far from a power outlet.

I refrained from making a final judgment at the time, preferring to wait until I could see the new Fujitsu at the upcoming CES 2010. Apparently, the UH900 is already available in Hong Kong at a price just north of $1400. Well, after seeing these photos from Engadget, I can already almost rule out the UH900 from my future purchase list, and it has nothing to do with the specs, the price, or even the battery life. It has everything to do with the severe glossy treatment seen in the pictures after the break.

Now I'm not just singling out Fujitsu here, because there are countless manufacturers out there who have adopted the shinier-is-better mantra. As much as I love my Apple gear, they got the whole thing started when they decided to release the original iPod with a shiny chrome back and polished acrylic-like front. From there, Samsung picked up the ball and ran with it, making piano black the official color on everything from their Q1 Ultra UMPC to their LCD TVs.

If you haven't noticed, one of my pet peeves is glossy tech devices, and not only because of the fingerprints and scratches that are inevitable. To me, for a mobile device to me truly professional, it must have a low key, preferably matte finish. Of course, I do have to make some exceptions, especially in the case of my iPhones, but the first thing I throw on those when they come out of the box is a silicone case.

Before I get off track too much, let me get back to Fujitsu. Their original U810 had a great classic design, with a nice flat finish all around that caught my eye at the time. When the U820 came out, the move to glossy was underway, but it wasn't a complete overhaul since only the screen lid and a few areas around the sides were glossy. I own both devices, but I still prefer the design of the U810, even with the compromised keyboard.

Now it looks like Fujitsu has gone all in with the lacquered finish, as the UH900 even has a glossy keyboard similar to what Toshiba uses on some of its notebooks. I'm not a fan at all when a microfiber cloth needs to be be kept handy, but we'll see what happens. Maybe Fujitsu will decide to release different colors and finishes in different regions of the world, which would pique my interest once again.

Do most of our readers out there adhere to form-over-function, or vice versa? 

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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