Thursday, October 6, 2011

Old Post: Fujitsu FMV-5100NL/Y

Another old post I found.

Well, for the first retrospective, I decided to do something that is pretty old, and not something I really like that much compared to my other stuff. The complaints with the system will be addressed in their respective sections. I don't really hate the computer, but I want to find a much better replacement for it. Here is the retrospective of a very old laptop from Japan.

From FMV 5100NLY

The computer this is about is a Fujitsu Biblo FMV-5100NL/Y, and it is my oldest at the time of writing this. The computer was shipped in a few configurations, where FMV-5100 is the series, and NL/Y is the actual model. I am not totally sure about what this shipped with though. It has harder to find information on this computer online then it's worth to me. I know what is in it now, and that is what matters in the end. Remember these retrospectives are NOT reviews of off the shelf stuff really.

The computer is running Windows 3.11 right now, but it was shipped with either Windows 95 or Windows 3.11 depending on which you bought. I actually typed this all up on the laptop, and I will post more information on software when it comes to that section. I want to have a list of the specifications that I know of here firs

The computer uses a 100MHZ Pentium I processor and has 48MB of EDO RAM. This is the maximum it will take as well. There is a 16MB chip soldered onto the motherboard and it has 1 expansion slot on it. This is older RAM, and thus harder to find. The person informed me that I got this from that this is the maximum it will take, and as I have no other EDO RAM, I cannot test this further.

Hard drive wise, this has a 810MB drive before formatting, and is 776MB as a FAT formatted drive. This is not really that much when you compare to a modern drive of 1TB and more. The only ways that you can expand the capacity is with its floppy drive. It doesn't have CDROM or USB, not even a modem or LAN card. You can use a PCMICA card, as long as it not a CARDBUS (32 bit) card, and Windows 95 lets you use it.

The screen on this model is a DSTN screen at 800 by 600, and can only display in 256-color mode. This makes its uses more limited as any animation blurs horrible and you cannot have proper colors. This is one of the worst screens I have ever used. It is a 10-inch screen as far as I can remember. The screen is one of its main complaints. I can live with it being DSTN in a way, but at 256-color, it don't look nice to use, and I always lose my mouse cursor on the screen.

From FMV 5100NLY

The graphics card is also very limiting, and is a Chips and Technologies 65548P. This is hard to find the driver for sometimes as well. I have used both Windows 3.11 and Windows 95, and even tried Windows 98 on this computer. On Windows 95 and 98, you don't need a driver if you want to use Windows 3.11 you will need the driver.

I have not tested the sound on the computer actually. I have no reason to play music on this slow laptop, but when I have tried the speaker a bit, it didn't sound too bad for being mono. There is a physical wheel, like on a Toshiba, but this wheel has end points so it is not a digital wheel like my Toshiba has.

The keyboard is not the best either, and it is a Japanese layout. This means that some keys are not in the same place. The keyboard works as a US layout though so you can still type well. It is not a very nice keyboard to me as I am spoiled by ThinkPads, but once you are used to it, it gets the job done well enough. The keyboard s quiet and has a nice travel, but due to the layout and the stiffness and spongy feeling of the keyboard, it not my first choice. The mouse is a track stick, and this one is very stiff to me. The mouse buttons are separate from the keyboard, and there is 2 next to each other, these are fine and nice and big so they are easy to hit with your thumb.

From FMV 5100NLY

The status indicators on this laptop are like a calculator screen actually, which I find kind of neat. This is also one of the ways to see what the battery is at. There are quite a few of these, and left to right here is the order:

Powered On/Sleep, AC/ Battery 0, Battery 1, Hard Drive, Floppy, PCMCIA 0, PCMIA1, Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll lock is last.

The battery on this computer is under a screw on panel, and it is not meant to be swapped out easy. This is a strange move to me. The floppy drive is removable and makes me think that it could be a second battery perhaps. This is not something that I know much about, maybe it was made to be replaced with a CD drive or something by the user much like a ThinkPad's drive.

From FMV 5100NLY

There is no easy way to access parts of this laptop other than that floppy drive. The RAM door is also screwed on, and the only way to get at the hard drive is to fully tear the entire laptop apart. These is no fan to clean either, which is because the system is really a slightly updated 486 model. This means that it can get a bit warm at times, like under extended uses.

Finally, I want to go around the laptop and show the ports and other stuff about the computer.


From FMV 5100NLY

The front is pretty much empty, only having a microphone and the display hatch.


From FMV 5100NLY

The right side has more going on then the front, as is usually the case. Here we have a headphone jack, volume wheel, and microphone joke, followed by the floppy drive and a Kensington lock port.


From FMV 5100NLY

This is where the main ports are located. Here we have the infrared, PS2 for mouse or keyboard, serial, parallel (printer), VGA, main power switch, and the charger jack. The serial, parallel, and VGA are under a door which just pops open.


From FMV 5100NLY

Here we have an unused vent, PCMIA slots and eject buttons with a locking slider, suspend and power button, and the mono speaker.


From FMV 5100NLY

There is not much here on the bottom, but the little fold out riser feet are pretty neat in my opinion.


I will not go too far into detail here, but the computer runs Windows3.11 and has Office 4.3 on it which is what I used to type this up with, and added pictures later. The computer can run Windows 3.11 decently too me, and besides the screen holding it back, the computer could be useful for someone needing a no fuss laptop to type on, like for me when I work on writing.

So in the end, I would say that this laptop, while sort of crippled, could be a decent machine if you had the model with the 1024x768 TFT screen instead. Even though you may never see one of these or use one, I will still do the pros/cons and rating as if it was a current review.


+ Decent speed for a Pentium I 100MHZ

+ Can be expanded with a compact flash card in adapter

+ Can run Windows 3.11 and DOS software if you wish


- DSTN screen-refresh rate very slow

- Only 256 color

- Not the best keyboard

- Battery is not really something you can swap on the go

- No modem or LAN.


= Thick, but lighter than it looks as it is kind of empty inside

= Can be useful for a digital type writer

Other notes:

This laptop was actually sold in the United States under the Montenegro name, so this is not just a Japan only model.

If you wish to see more detailed information, here is a Google Translated link to its specifications list.


I would give this laptop kind of a low rating to me. I don't think it is fair to compare to modern computers, but the screen is its weakest point. I never tried the system on battery either, which is not something I can really comment on either. In the end, I would give this laptop possible a 3.5 out of 10. Once again the keyboard and screen really bring that rating way down for me on a usability factor.

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