With its brushed black aluminium top, shiny black interior and silver trim along the lip, the LifeBook SH530 cuts a reasonably fine figure. Of course, if you're one for flair, you can opt for the red version instead, which adds a Ferrari-style visual punch.
The SH530 aims at that magical sweet spot of 13.3 inches, in an attempt to perfect the trade off of performance, portability and battery life. Its gloss, LED backlit screen supports a resolution of 1366x768, and its weight of 1.99kg, while no MacBook Air, still allows it to achieve reasonable portability.
Open it up and it's reasonably plain inside — no media or shortcut buttons at all, just unadulterated keyboard. We're so used to seeing island-style keyboards now that the SH530 was a shock — the keys are flush with one another, in a seriously old-school fashion. It doesn't inhibit the usability any, but visually now is the alternative rather than the mainstream.
What does get in the way are the dedicated home, page up, page down and end keys — we love the fact that these are there, but the placement of the home key so close to the backspace key caused more than a few typing accidents.
What's likely to cause more frustration though is the tiny touch pad — despite the huge increase in usability a large touch pad brings, it seems Fujitsu prefers to keep things beyond petite.
Internally it punches in the mid-weight division, carrying a Core i5 M460 @ 2.53GHz, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD and a Mobility Radeon HD 5430. Nothing to sneeze at, but we'd have loved at least 4GB RAM.