The Fujitsu LifeBook A6210's $1,349 price tag may seem a bit high for a midsize laptop, especially considering that many similarly sized systems cost less than $1,000. But the Fujitsu has a number of features that help justify the higher price: namely, a built-in Blu-ray drive, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 graphics (designed for high-definition video), and an HDMI port, all of which let the laptop double as a Blu-ray player. To those, Fujitsu adds Bluetooth and wireless USB connections, a gesture-enabled touch pad, and an eSATA port. That feature set remains unmatched in the midsize category (though the $1,249 HP Pavilion dv5-1015nr comes close). While we're still not sure how large the market for a 15-inch Blu-ray-equipped laptop is, we do think the LifeBook A6210 is a decent choice for people who want to balance typical computer work with a fair amount of high-def media consumption. However, those who can live without the Blu-ray player would be better served by the $979 Dell Studio S1535-125B.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$1,349 / $1,149|
|Processor||2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400|
|Memory||3GB at 1,066MHz DDR2|
|Hard drive||250GB at 5,400rpm|
|Chipset||Intel PM45 Express|
|Graphics||ATI Radeon HD 3470|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)|
|Dimensions (WDH)||14.5 x 10.4 x 1.7 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||15.4 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||6.7 / 7.7 pounds|
Fujitsu doesn't exactly have a reputation for eye-catching laptops, but the LifeBook A6210 adds some sophisticated touches to the company's typical black-box design. Though still black, the lid features a subtle glitter effect, with a centered Fujitsu logo in silver. Inside the case there's a band of glossy black above the keyboard and a textured wrist-rest that should hide the signs of frequent use; silver accents frame a row of quick-launch buttons and touch pad. Size-wise, the LifeBook A6210 is a bit larger and heavier than both the HP Pavilion dv5-1015nr and the Dell Studio S1535-125B, and its sizeable power brick means the laptop won't be comfortable to carry far beyond the next room (or on the occasional trip).
We really enjoyed typing on the LifeBook A6210's full-size keyboard, which offered satisfyingly deep key travel. The responsive touch pad provides plenty of space to move around, and it incorporates Fujitsu's new gesture-based interface. We found the gestures functional, but not as elegant as those used with the Apple MacBook Air. A fingerprint reader, which also doubles as a scroll button, sits between the Fujitsu's two metallic mouse buttons. Above the keyboard you'll find a row of handy programmable buttons that launch applications or open files of your choice, plus volume controls (but, to our disappointment, no mute button).
The 15.4-inch wide-screen LCD display offers a 1,280x800 native resolution, which is standard for a screen this size but not sharp enough to display the HD video from the system's Blu-ray drive. Nevertheless, standard-definition movies looked beautiful on the LifeBook A6210. Though the screen does feature a glossy finish that helps colors pop, we were impressed by the lack of distracting reflections. A 1.3-megapixel Webcam above the display lets users conduct video chats.
The Fujitsu LifeBook A6210 features all the standard ports and connections for a mainstream laptop (except an RJ-11 modem jack) plus a few nice extras, such as an eSATA port for an external hard drive as well as both PC Card and ExpressCard slots. The laptop is one of the first we've reviewed to incorporate wireless USB, which should eventually cut down on cord clutter (as should the built-in Bluetooth radio). Our review unit included an optional Blu-ray drive; choosing a traditional DVD burner will save you $100.
The LifeBook A6210 can be configured to order; you can also opt for a preconfigured model, as we did for our review unit. Its $1,349 price tag includes one of Intel's latest "power optimized" processors, the 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400. To that Fujitsu adds 3GB of 1,066MHz RAM and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470 graphics, which include technology to lighten the CPU's load during intensive video decoding tasks. The new platform served the LifeBook well on CNET Labs' performance benchmarks, where it fell right in line with the similarly configured Sony Vaio FW140 ($1,150) and easily outpaced the Pavilion dv5-1015nr on our multitasking and iTunes tests. The LifeBook A6210's performance was less competitive on our Photoshop benchmark, where it was outrun by both the Pavilion and and the $979 Dell Studio 1535-125B, which both boasted an extra gigabyte of RAM and 64-bit Windows Vista. Anecdotally, the LifeBook A6210's configuration felt more than sufficient for our everyday computing and movie-watching.
Our early LifeBook A6210 review unit included a sample battery that lasted 2 hours, 21 minutes on our video playback drain test. That's a bit less than we expected from a Centrino 2 system, but we anticipate the battery on full-production units will last closer to three hours.
Fujitsu covers the system with a one-year warranty. Support is available through a 24-7, toll-free phone line, and technicians can connect to your computer over the Internet to diagnose problems. Standard FAQs and driver downloads also are available. Adding an extra year of service costs $100, and upgrading to next-business-day on-site service is an additional $50 per year. Fujitsu is also unique among laptop vendors in offering a no-questions-asked Screen Damage Protection Plan that costs $150 for one year and $383 for three years.