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Fujitsu LifeBook S7010
Think of the Fujitsu LifeBook S7010 as the Toyota Corolla of laptops. It won't turn heads like Acer's cherry-red or Sony's eye-catching X505, but if you're looking for a well-rounded, reasonably priced thin-and-light, this one just might do the trick. But before you reach for your wallet, check out the better-performing IBM ThinkPad T42, too.
The S7010's sturdy, silver, magnesium-alloy case complements the laptop's trim dimensions: it measures 12 by 9.7 by 1.3 inches and has a portable 4.3-pound base weight. Open the lid, and a comfy keyboard greets you, with a pointing stick between the G and H keys, a touch pad, and two handy Page Up and Down keys that double as Home and End in Fn mode. The two mouse buttons and a third scroll button are dome shaped, which helps your finger find where the buttons start and the wrist rest ends.
The swappable modular bay, which accommodates CD, DVD/CD-RW, and DVD+/-RW drives as well as a second battery, lies on the right edge between ports for a 56Kbps modem and USB 2.0. Two more USB 2.0 ports, IrDA, and Gigabit Ethernet bring up the rear, while the VGA port is nestled on the left. Also on the left are FireWire, audio-in, headphone, and microphone ports, plus two Type II (or one Type III) PC Card slots, one of which features an embedded smart-card reader. Finally, the front edge features a handy wireless on/off switch.
The LifeBook S7010 offers fairly fulfilling features for a thin-and-light notebook. It has a Pentium M 735 Dothan chip at 1.7GHz, 512MB of speedy 333MHz memory, an 80GB 4,200rpm hard drive, and a one DVD/CD-RW drive. The S7010's lackluster graphics chip, the Intel 855GM, borrows up to 64MB of video RAM from the main memory.
Fujitsu offers three operating systems for the S7010--Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and the aging Windows 2000. The company includes only the Microsoft Works 7.0 minisuite and Intuit Quicken 2003 New User Edition. Systems that include DVD/CD-RW or DVD+/-RW drives come with InterVideo WinDVD for DVD viewing, along with two disc-burning programs: WinDVD Creator Plus and Sonic RecordNow DX and DLA.
The Fujitsu S7010 holds its own in terms of performance against top thin-and-lights, such as the IBM ThinkPad T42, it and delivers noticeably better battery life than some of its competitors, such as the .
Fujitsu offers the same one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the S series that most laptop manufacturers provide for their systems. That term includes mail-in service and 24/7, toll-free phone support. For an extra hundred bucks, you can up the term to three years. The system ships with an extensive user manual that includes plenty of operating and troubleshooting tips. In addition, Fujitsu's site includes the ability to chat in real time with a tech-support rep.
To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.